Tender annuals

efeuerApril 8, 2014

First of all, most of my sprouts are up! This is my first year winter sowing and I was thrilled today to go out and see that most of my jugs have little sprouts! I am doing plants for a butterfly garden, mostly native.

I wanted to add some butterfly annuals as well, so last weekend I planted several jugs with Mexican sunflower, zinnia, and Yvonne's Salvia. I live in New Jersey and the temperatures are starting to moderate here, but we could still get frost for another four or five weeks. Right now I have the jugs indoors, where they haven't popped yet since it's only been a few days. I don't really have enough light inside, though, and I would like to get them out into the sun as soon as possible. Is it safe to move them outside yet?

(I was hoping to get them under fluorescent lights since I have a setup in the basement, but I had the basement waterproofed this winter and everything is still at sixes and sevens down there and the lights are not set up yet.:-(. That is why I find myself in difficulties.)

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ontheteam(5a-6 (S.Eastern, MA))

I don't do annuals except for Tomatoes ..I am in SE MA zone 5 and have 38 jugs for tomatoes out now,,So I guess if I did do Annuals I would have them out side now also.

Here is a link that might be useful: My blog

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 7:24AM
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dr. Liz, I would put them outside in two-weeks. It still gets very cold at night or you can put them out, but put a plastic covering or tarp over them at night (prevent from frost). I would wait at least another week for annuals.

I hope this helps.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 2:36AM
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ellenr22 - NJ - Zone 6b/7a

I've just done my annuals.
It is true we could still have frost in NJ, but unlikely.
I don't sow that many, so if frost threatens, I cover with a row cover.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 5:08AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Hi Dr. Liz, I am planning to do my heat-loving annuals this weekend. This includes salvias, tomatoes, marigolds, etc. and basically anything that will get killed by a frost. I sow them in cups and line them up in plastic boxes or trays, and then place them along the foundation of the house on the south side (this is a fairly sunny spot, at least until the trees get their leaves).

It is a warmer micro-climate along the foundation of the house because the concrete stays warmer throughout the night. We might get a hard frost in the rest of the yard, but the seedlings along the foundation are okay.

Here's a pic from 2010:

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 10:21PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Dr. Liz, you can do your annuals anytime. My tomatoes have been out for a couple of weeks and have already sprouted. My zinnias went out a week ago. And even though we can still get frost, it won't affect the seeds. Even after they sprout, it's not that big a deal since they're pretty much protected in their jugs. And if you're worried, just throw a sheet over them to keep the frost off.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 6:57AM
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ellenr22 - NJ - Zone 6b/7a

you're not winter sowing (or spring sowing now) if your jugs are indoors. Of course there's nothing wrong with growing things inside, if that's what you want to do, but that's not winter sowing. I agree with the above posters, put those jugs outside.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 7:19AM
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Nice to see you again, terrene!

We seem to be still in the grip of that polar vortex! It got really cold last week, so I brought in the tithonia, salvia, and zinnia and stuck them under a plant light for 2 days and nights. I put them back outside today, since it's warmed up.

I've been a little disappointed in the germination rate in some of the jugs--prairie dropseed and pycnanthemum haven't popped at all, and rue, allium cernuum, and tithonia have only a few sprouts per jug. Can I replant the rue? I know I can plant tithonia, of course. And how about the dropseed and pycnanthemum ? Should I buy plants of these guys? I guess I should sow thicker next time. :(

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 4:05PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

It's still early in the season. Give the Rue and Prairie Dropseed some more time. Mine haven't sprouted yet, either. Some plants just take their time.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 6:09AM
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