When Can I Start Planting Flowers Outside?
Do not wait to spring to think of spring flowers. Whether you choose bulbs or seeds, your garden's success will depend upon getting your plants into the ground at the right time. Seeds and bulbs planted in autumn must root before cold weather.
Spring bulbs cost more than seeds but can supply years of spring blooms to your garden. Start putting in bulbs in September and continue until the ground freezes. Plant bulbs at a depth of at least two times the size of the bulb.
Time Frame for Seeds
Fall is also the best time to plant flower seeds, and October is the optimal month. Clear out weeds and grasses before planting. Mix annuals with perennials to guarantee spring flowers; perennials can grow sparsely the first year but will return annually when established.
If you cannot get spring seeds planted in autumn, plant in spring but expect later blooms. While most annuals cannot be planted in spring until the ground warms above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, you can put in baby-breath and gaillardia as soon as you can work the soil.
Teo Spengler is a docent with the San Francisco Botanical Garden and a staff writer with Gardening Know How. She has written hundreds of gardening and plant articles for sites like eHow Gardening, Gardening Know How and Hunker. She holds a JD in law from U.C. Berkeley, an MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing.