When is the best time to plant?

Dear Dr. Mallow,

When is the best time to plant? I want to plant now, but I'm afraid since winter is around the corner, my plant will not survive, please help.

Depending on what type of plant your planting, you can plant perennials (plants that return year after year) just about anytime of the year, as long as its 6-8 weeks prior to the first frost (when temperatures reach 32 F). In the more southern regions such as USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9 and above, you can plant just about anytime of the year.

For spring or fall plantings, less watering is needed and it gives your plant's roots an easier opportunity to establish themselves into the soil. When plants are well established, their root systems have traveled further down into the soil gaining easier access to moisture. Whereas on the soil surface, moisture is lost at a faster rate due to the warming of the sun.

In areas of intense sun, during summer months it is very imperative to use an inch of mulch around the base of the plant. Adding mulch around the base of your plants will help the soil retain moisture for longer periods of time; slowly down the rate of evaporation. During fall plantings, adding 2-3 inches of mulch will help to protect your plant's roots from cold temperatures. Mulch is for more than just aesthetics!

And lastly, always remember to give your newly planted plants a deep watering in order to loosen its roots, and soften the soil; giving your plant's roots an opportunity to penetrate and travel through the soil.

Happy planting!

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