Gardening Tip of the Month: When to start planting and some great plants to try this year

Oklahoman Published: April 5, 2014

When is it safe to plant in Oklahoma City? Yes, spring is almost here and all local nurseries are stocked with lots of beautiful plants that are often just too tempting to pass up. But, as we all know, Oklahoma City’s weather can be unpredictable.

As Loretta Aaron always reminded me, “Too often, tender plants are set out into still chilly soil, and the reaction of the plant is to just sulk and do nothing. Hold off on planting periwinkles until late April. And wait until after April 15 to set out coleus, impatiens, celosia and zinnias. Petunias, marigolds, and alyssum usually can be set out after April 7. Many gardeners are tempted to purchase plants too soon. If you find good bargains, take them home, but do not immediately set them into the borders. Allow them to ‘harden off’ on a covered porch, protected area under a tree, or north of the house for a week or 10 days. Never allow them to dry out.”

Try Artemesia. One of Loretta’s top picks for a background perennial is Artemesia. “The family of Artemesia, a beautiful neutral gray, is a good choice to highlight blooming annuals or perennials. Silver Brocade is great to use as a border plant because it will grow only about 10 inches tall and has a neat spreading habit. The Silver Mound Artemesia has delicate lacy foliate. Just one plant used in the perennial border will make a statement. The taller Artemesia Silver King is ideal to use in the background or in areas where other plants will not grow well in full sun. All Artemesia plants should have full sun and good drainage.”

And try Kerria. I have several patches of Kerria in my yard and they bloom all summer. Here’s what Loretta has to say about this great plant: “A much overlooked flowering shrub is the kerria. The shrub is deciduous, and after foliage drops, the lime green branches remain attractive all winter. Bloom is either single or double, and a deep yellow color. Bloom is heavy in the spring, scattered throughout summer, and then heavy again in the fall. The best location is filtered sunlight, or morning sun only.”