Catching Spring Fever

by Lisa Hornung

“What is your advice for what we should be planting this time of year?”


”Plants that are good this time of year are any evergreens or foundation plants. You can plant any kind of trees this time of year as long as the ground isn’t frozen. Plants you can add for color are going to be pansies because they are flowering this time of year. This year is kind of a fluke because it’s so warm. So everything’s blooming a little early. I get a lot of questions about when to prune, so a good rule of thumb is that for flowering shrubs, prune them right after they flower. For evergreen pruning, a good time is November through February. And again, anytime during the growing season, which is May through August.”
—Jeff Wallitsch, retail manager of Wallitsch Nursery and Garden Center


“All plants are good this time of year. It’s better to get them in early so they don’t have to go through a stressful summer. If you plant them now, the root’s going to establish by the time summer comes so that it will be a little less stressful on the plant. They say [don’t plant until after Derby], and I recommend that with tender perennials or annuals or something like that. But hardy nursery stock is not going to be bothered by any kind of frost from now until Derby. Any of these shrubs and trees that we’re planting right now aren’t going to be affected by frost. Witch hazel or forsythia are blooming right now.
—Beau Hoffman, sales manager at
Frank Otte Nursery and Garden Center


“You can really plant most anything you want to in the spring. Some of the more sensitive plants are better planted early rather than later in the summer or fall. In general, spring is a very good time and everybody is ready to get out and plant. Crepe myrtles and some of the new hardy camellias traditionally are not as winter-hardy and they’ve been kind of borderline for our area, so getting them planted early in the spring gets them well-established for the following winter. We’re in the very Northern edge of where those grow successfully.”
—Owen Halterman, manager of The Plant Kingdom


“Right now, people are putting down grass seed if they didn’t in the fall and they’re buying pre-emergents [herbicides] for grass. Pansies are good this time of year. Cole crops, such as broccoli, spinach and kale are good to plant right now. Though it may be a little early with this weather and you might need to cover them, though the pansies will be fine.”
—Molly Woedl, sales associate at St. Matthews Feed & Seed


“Cole crops are best right now, such as kale, radishes, collard greens. Peas and lettuce are OK right now, too. Any bare-root trees would be good right now. Our last average frost for the year is May 20, so brassicas (cruciferous vegetables, cabbages or mustard plants) will all survive but you might need to cover, though most people transplant them from indoors. With sweet peas, you can plant them as soon as you can work the soil.”
—Matthew Sargent sales associate at Fresh Start Growers’ Supply

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