When Is It Safe to Plant Your Seedlings Out?

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It’s important not to plante seedlings outdoors too early. Photo: http://www.diynetwork.com

You started your vegetable and flower seeds indoors with great care, lovingly sowing and watering each little plant, and now you want to know when to plant them out. Surely there is a specific date when you can plant them all out.

Well, that isn’t quite that simple. Some hate any kind of cold and you need to wait until both the ground and the air have thoroughly warmed up. Others dislike the heat and will do best if you move them into their out home while it’s still fairly chilly. There are even a few that are fine with a bit of frost!

What follows is a list of vegetables and flowers commonly started indoors as to when to plant them out, based on the frost-free date* in your area.

*Read The Real Spring Frost-Free Date for Your Seeds to find out your frost-free date.

When to Plant Out Relative to the Frost-Free Date

Vegetables

  1. Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus scolymus) — on frost-free date
  2. Aubergine (Solanum melongena) — 2 to 3 weeks after
  3. Basil (Ocimum basilicum) — 1 week after
  4. Beets** (Beta vulgaris conditiva) — 2 weeks before
  5. Bok choy (Brassica rapa chinensis) — on frost-free date
  6. Broccoli (Brassica oleracea italica) — 2 weeks before
  7. Cabbage (Brassica oleracea capitata) — 4 weeks before
  8. Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) — on frost-free date
  9. Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea botrytis) — 2 weeks before 
  10. Celeriac (Apium graveolens graveolens) — 1 week after 
  11. Celery (Apium graveolens rapaceum) — 1 week after
  12. Chicory (Cichorum intybus) — 2 to 3 weeks before
  13. Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa pekinensis) — on frost-free date
  14. Collards (Brassica oleracea acephala) — 4 weeks before
  15. Corn salad/mache (Valerianella locusta) — 3 to 6 weeks before
  16. Corn** (Zea mays saccharata) — 0 to 2 weeks after
  17. Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) — 1 to 2 weeks after
  18. Eggplant (Solanum melongena) — 2 to 3 weeks after
  19. Endive (Cichorum endivias) — 2 to 3 weeks before
  20. Ground cherry (Physalis pruinosa) — 1 to 2 weeks after
  21. Kale (Brassica oleracea acephala) — 4 weeks before
  22. Kohlrabi** (Brassica oleracea gongylodes) — 4 weeks before
  23. Leek (Allium ampeloprasum porrum) — 2 weeks before
  24. Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) — 3 to 4 weeks before
  25. Melon (Cucumis melo) — 2 weeks after
  26. Mustard** (Brassica juncea and B. rapa niposinica) — 4 weeks before
  27. Okra** (Abelmoschus esculentus) — 2 to 4 weeks after
  28. Onions (Allium cepa) — 4 weeks before
  29. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) — 2 to 3 weeks before
  30. Peanut (Arachis hypogaea) — 3 weeks after
  31. Pea** (Piscum sativum) — 2 to 4 weeks before
  32. Peppers (Capsicum annuum) — 2 weeks after
  33. Pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo) — 2 weeks after
  34. Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) — 3 to 6 weeks before
  35. Squash (Cucurbita pepo and others) — 2 weeks after
  36. Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris flavescens) — 2 weeks before
  37. Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) — 1 to 2 weeks after
  38. Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) — 2 weeks after

Flowers

  1. Ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum) — on frost-free date
  2. Amaranth (Amaranthus spp.) — 1 week after
  3. Angelonia (Angelonia angustifolia) — on frost-free date 
  4. Annual flower mixes** — on frost-free date
  5. Annual phlox** (Phlox drummondii) 1 to 2 weeks before
  6. Bachelor’s button** (Centaurea cyanus) — on frost-free date
  7. Bacopa (Sutera cordata) — on frost-free date 
  8. Balsam (Impatiens balsamina) — 2 weeks after
  9. Bee balm or monarda (Monarda didyma) — on frost-free date
  10. Begonia (Begonia × semperflorens-cultorum and B. × tuberhybrida) — 2 weeks after
  11. Bells of Ireland** (Moluccella laevis) — on frost-free date
  12. Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) — on frost-free date
  13. Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) — on frost-free date
  14. Butterfly weed (Asclepias spp.) — on frost-free date
  15. California poppy** (Eschscholzia californica) — on frost-free date
  16. Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) — 1 to 2 weeks before
  17. Castor bean (Ricinus communis) — 1 week after
  18. Celosia or cock’s comb (Celosia argentea) — 1 week after
  19. China aster (Callistephus chinensis) — on frost-free date
  20. China pink (Dianthus chinensis) — 1 to 2 weeks before
  21. Chinese lantern (Physalis alkekengi) — on frost-free date
  22. Cleome or spider flower (Cleome hasslerana) — on frost-free date
  23. Coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides) — 1 week after
  24. Corn cockle** (Agrostemma githago) — on frost-free date
  25. Corn poppy or Shirley poppy** (Papaver rhoeas) — on frost-free date
  26. Cosmos** (Cosmos bipinnatus) — on frost-free date
  27. Creeping zinnia (Sanvitalia procumbens) — on frost-free date
  28. Dahlia (Dahlia pinnata) — 2 weeks after
  29. Datura or angel’s trumpet (Datura metel and others) — 2 to 3 weeks after
  30. Delphinium (Delphinium elatum) — on frost-free date
  31. Drumstick Flower (Craspedia globosa) — on frost-free date
  32. Dusty miller (Senecio cineraria) — 2 weeks before
  33. Edging lobelia (Lobelia erinus) — on frost-free date
  34. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus cinerea) — on frost-free date
  35. False Queen Anne’s lace** (Ammi majus) — on frost-free date
  36. Flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alataN. sylvestris and others) — on frost-free date 
  37. Forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica) — on frost-free date
  38. Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) — on frost-free date
  39. Gaillardia or blanket flower (Gaillardia × grandiflora) — on frost-free date
  40. Geranium (Pelargonium × hortorum and others) — on frost-free date
  41. Globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa) — on frost-free date
  42. Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos) — 1 week after
  43. Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) — on frost-free date
  44. Hyacinth bean (Lablab purpureus) — 1 week after
  45. Iceland poppy (Papaver nudicaule) — on frost-free date
  46. Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) — 1 week after
  47. Larkspur** (Consolida ajacis) — on frost-free date
  48. Lisianthus (Eustoma russellianum) — on frost-free date
  49. Love-in-a-mist** (Nigella damascena) — on frost-free date
  50. Lupine (Lupinus perennis) — 2 weeks before
  51. Madagascar periwinkle or vinca (Catharanthus roseus) — 2 to 4 weeks after
  52. Marigold (Tagetes erecta and T. patula) — 1 week after
  53. Mexican sunflower** (Tithonia rotundifolia) — 1 week after
  54. Morning glory (Ipomoea nilI. purpurea and I. tricolor) — 3 to 4 weeks after
  55. Mulla mulla (Ptilotus exaltatus) — on frost-free date
  56. Nasturtium** (Tropaeolum majus) — 2 weeks after
  57. Ornamental cabbage and kale (Brassica oleracea) — on frost-free date
  58. Ornamental pepper (Capsicum annuum) — 1 week after
  59. Painted tongue (Salpiglossis sinuata) — on frost-free date
  60. Pansy (Viola tricolor hortensis, syn. V. × wittrockiana) — 3 to 4 weeks before
  61. Pelargonium (Pelargonium × hortorum and others) — on frost-free date
  62. Petunia (Petunia × atkinsiana) — on frost-free date
  63. Pincushion flower (Scabiosa atropurpurea) — on frost-free date
  64. Pot marigold** (Calendula officinalis) — on frost-free date
  65. Prince’s feather or kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate (Polygonum orientale) — on frost-free date
  66. Purple alteranthera (Alternanthera brasiliana) — on frost-free date
  67. Safflower** (Carthamnus tinctorium) — on frost-free date
  68. Salvia (Salvia spp.) — on frost-free date
  69. Scarlet runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus) — 2 weeks after
  70. Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) — 1 to 2 weeks before
  71. Snow-on-the-mountain** (Euphorbia marginata) — on frost-free date
  72. Statice (Limonium sinuatum) — on frost-free date
  73. Stock (Matthiola incana) — on frost-free date
  74. Strawflower (Xerochrysum bracteatum) — on frost-free date
  75. Sunflower** (Helianthus annuus) — on frost-free date
  76. Sweet Annie (Artemisia annua) — on frost-free date
  77. Sweet pea** (Lathyrus odoratus) — 1 to 2 weeks before
  78. Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) — 1 to 2 weeks before
  79. Tall vervain (Verbena bonariensis) — on frost-free date
  80. Torenia or wishbone flower (Torenia fournieri) — on frost-free date
  81. Vervain (Verbena × hybrida) — on frost-free date
  82. Viola (Viola spp.) — 3 to 4 weeks before
  83. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) — on frost-free date
  84. Yellow cosmos** (Cosmos sulphureus) — on frost-free date
  85. Zinnia (Zinnia elegans and others) — 1 week after

**Indicates a plant that is usually sown directly outdoors, but occasionally started indoors.

3 thoughts on “When Is It Safe to Plant Your Seedlings Out?

  1. Patricia Evans

    Since we have wet snow forecast for Mother’s Day, I don’t think I’ll be putting plants out any time soon. And I have to find a place to shelter the hanging baskets and flats that the scouts will be delivering on Sat.

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