Alabama has a temperate subtropical climate that falls between USDA hardiness zones 8 and 7. April in Alabama is a transition period for flower gardens. The last of the late-winter frosts ends, and many gardeners plant the first flowers for summer color. Gardeners looking for early-season blooms have two options at this time. They can plant transplants that have been started indoors well before the last seasonal frost, or they can plant perennial flowering bulbs, shrubs and trees that bloom in April.
Plant bulbs, tubers and corms that bloom in zones 7 and 8 in April. Plants such as Iris, narcissus and Greek windflowers are good choices.
Open a planting pocket for each bulb, using a bulb planting shovel, which acts as a corer by removing a core of soil to the indicated depth on the side of the shovel. Slip the shovel into the soil to the correct depth for the bulb you wish to plant. Twist the shovel and pull upward. The soil plug should come free with the shovel.
Place a layer of fine crushed gravel into the bottom of each hole to promote drainage. Place the bulb, tuber or corm into the soil to the correct depth. Cover the bulb with soil from the corer.
Shrubs and Trees
Purchase a flowering shrub or tree in April for planting in your landscape. Shrubs and trees that flower in April include dogwoods and azaleas.
Dig a planting hole for the plant that is twice as wide as the plant, but no deeper.
Inspect the tree or shrub for damage, such as broken limbs or woody, brown roots.
Tease the roots free of the rootball. Place the plant in the planting hole. Cover with soil around the sides of the rootball up to the soil line. Water until the soil is damp.
Purchase seed in January to start plants indoors early.
Fill a seedling flat with peat moss. Dampen the moss with water.
Hollow out a planting hole in each cell of the flat, using a pencil. Drop a seed into the flat so that each seed is twice as deep as the width of the seed at its widest point. Cover with plastic and place the flat in a sunny windowsill so that the flowers can germinate.
Remove the plastic when the flowers sprout. Continue to grow the flowers in a windowsill until they outgrow their flat.
Fill a 4-inch peat pot 1/3 full of peat moss. Place the rootball of a flower from the flat into the peat pot. Fill in around the sides of the flat with peat moss. Water the flowers in their new containers and continue to allow them to grow in the windowsill.
Bring the flowers outdoors in April when daytime temperatures rise above freezing. Leave the flowers in the shade during daytime hours to harden them off. Return the flowers indoors nightly until the last yearly frost date for your region of Alabama. Take the flowering plants outdoors and plant them.
About this Author
Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."