I have noticed geraniums and marigolds in the garden stores. Is it okay to plant those now? What about tomatoes?

Geraniums, marigolds and tomatoes are very sensitive to frost. We could get frost for several more weeks, especially in the higher elevations. They are all warm weather plants, which means they will not make much growth until the weather warms into the high 60’s. In fact they often become stunted if planted too early. You would be much better to wait until May to plant these warm weather plants.

Although it is too early to plant frost tender flowers and vegetables, there are many plants (including flowers and vegetables) which can take temperatures well below freezing without damage. All permanent plants such as lawns, trees, shrubs, berries, vines, ground covers and perennial flowers can be planted now.

Hardy vegetables which can be planted now include root crops such as carrot, onion, beet, turnip, radish, and potatoes. Leaf crops including spinach, lettuce and cabbage, and flower bud vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower are also frost hardy down to the mid twenties. The only hardy fruiting vegetables are peas and fava beans. Perennial vegetables such as asparagus and rhubarb are best planted early.

Hardy annual flowers include pansy, primrose, calendula, petunia, snapdragon, alyssum, carnation, dianthus, cosmos, most daisies, gaillardia, nasturtium, poppy, blue salvia, sweet pea, and verbena.

This is the best time to plant roses and fruit trees. Virtually all fruits including strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, kiwi, currant, gooseberry and grape can be planted now.


Allen Wilson

Allen has been writing about gardening for over 30 years. He is a retired professor of Horticulture.

Scroll to top