If you have trouble deciding what to plant at any time of the year, just plant something with a pretty shape or color or those with interesting leaves. Some things will do OK anytime of the year whether planted by seed or started plant. When you keep putting off planting the ‘right’ plants you are losing good watching time.
Like medicine on the shelf, it won’t help your ailment if not swallowed. You have to get the seed or plant into the ground before you can expect something to grow. Usually, anything is better than nothing, but there are exceptions. Like, I wouldn’t suggest planting invasive ‘bamboo’ or tall ‘ruella’ or ‘oxalis’ as they may take over your yard.
With a small amount of reading or other research, you can select plants that will make your yard a show place, if that’s what you are after. If you plant perennials and don’t like their spot, dig them up and move them to a spot where they will look better or do better next year.
It’s hard to beat vivid colors to liven up a dull yard-scape and there are many annuals and perennials to choose from. Bedding plants are getting more expensive so you can go the seed route but will have to start earlier in the late winter or early spring and maybe even start the plants inside your house or in a greenhouse. Those tricky spring freezes can wipe out tender plants as they are not all adapted to such exposure. If seeds are your choice then locate seed sources early and have them ready for your planting time. Follow planting and care directions. I once planted iris bulbs too deep resulting in no blooms.
I moved hydrangeas three times before they bloomed for me. I also cut them back each year before I learned that that variety blooms on last year’s nonblooming stems. If planting directions say ‘shade,’ this doesn’t mean that plants don’t appreciate ‘light.’ You will appreciate that sun loving begonias need much less water than many other varieties. Coleus varieties, of which there are many colors, are very adaptable plants and can be multiplied easily by pinching off the tips or branches and planting those parts into partially shaded and temporarily well watered potting soil. Sweet Potato vines can be handled in the same way as can Purple Jew plants. Pansies usually fade out in hot weather, but their life span can be extended by affording partial shade and more frequent watering and mild fertilization.
Just jump out into the yard early mornings and ‘get after it,’ digging and planting and also do the needed watering at that time. Plant something, nearly anything, and have fun with it. You may end up like I did as I was enjoying it so much that I kept digging new flower beds until I dug myself into a whole lot of work. But, I am still enjoying the results. I have even grown mustard greens, tomatoes and peppers in flower beds, just to fill up space. They tasted real good.
Monte Swatzell is a Johnson County Master Gardener and a Wildbunch Writer.