Deciding whether it\'s time to transplant home-green plants into the garden

West Newton, MA

I've been growing plants (mostly annuals) indoors from seed and want to figure out if it's a good time to transplant some or all of them outside into the garden. I paid attention to the instructions on the seed packet and planted the indicated number of weeks before average last frost date. Here just outside of Boston I'm pretty sure we're not getting any more frosts, and the plants by and large look healthy (though a few are a bit rootbound). However, I wonder if the soil is warm enough. I have:

Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)
Stock (Mattiola incana)
Indian Peace Pipe (Nicotiana sylvestris)
Balsam (Impatiens balsamina)
White Lace (Orlaya grandiflora)
Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa caucasica)
Bells of Ireland (Moluccela laevis)

Thanks for any thoughts.

Arlington, MA

rick7, I was asking the same question in (also for eastern Mass). Got some helpful advice.

Your list and mine overlap only in snapdragons, stock, and impatiens (and come to think of it, I didn't ask about those last, because they're still small). But others you're growing (Nicotiana and Scabiosa) were candidates for my first-time seed-starting enterprise--so if you have any experience to share as the year goes on, please do! If you plant out a few pilot plants to see how they do, for instance, I'd be interested to know.

My experience so far--a small container of stocks seems fine overnight. I did give it a few hours each day outside before leaving it.

I lost some snapdragons in a container but hadn't hardened them off--left them out overnight accidentally. The DG'ers who wrote seemed to think snaps would be okay; that seems right, since a container snapdragon last fall was about the most frost-tolerant thing around.

West Newton, MA

That's wonderful, FaintlyMacabre: we've asked virtually the same question and we're both in eastern Mass. Well, I'm a bit anxious but determined: this is the first night that I'll be leaving everything that I mentioned (not my tomatoes and other "warm season" plants) outside all night. Well, also not the Orlaya which I haven't hardened off sufficiently. Everything else has been hardening for 7-10 days. The weather report says the low temp (at 6 am) will be 45, so I'm crossing my fingers they can make it through that.

Arlington, MA

I can relate to the "anxious": as a first-time seed-starter I have tried to prepare myself for everything just fainting away at some point. Many of the seedlings have lived, though--hurray.

Hardening off for 7-10 days sounds ample. I bet they'll all make it. I put some stocks in the ground today and will do the same with a few snapdragons; will report back.

The only one on your list I hadn't considered (or even heard of) is the Orlaya. Strange, because it looks (in an image search) like it would be covered with bees, one of the things I look for in flowers....

Thomaston, CT

I've planted geraniums (pelargoniums) the second week of May & had snow on them...didn't harm them, but at my elevation, annuals go in at the end of May.....

West Newton, MA

FaintlyMacabre, I also put Stock and Snapdragon in the garden today. Something about the turn of the calendar to May makes it seem like a possibility. Also leek, kale and Bells of Ireland. I checked on everything a few hours later and they looked fine. I think a day like this is perfect for putting starts in the garden: overcast and drizzly.

Arlington, MA

Hi Rick!

How are your plantlings?

Yesterday one of the Cosmos bloomed--hurray. (Among other indoor starts, little alyssum is also blooming, though only the white version.)

The snapdragons also look strong--one has a bud forming. The stock are mostly languishing, though a few in a container are growing well. I wonder if they need more feeding than I've been supplying. The impatiens are in some sort of holding pattern.

So, if you see this, let me know how yours are doing! How's that nicotiana?


This message was edited Jun 7, 2016 6:21 AM

Thumbnail by FaintlyMacabre
central, NJ(Zone 6b)

I always wait till Mother's Day here. I don't like having to scramble around bringing things in or having to cover them up

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