Starting seeds indoors is very rewarding but it takes a lot of time, effort, and focus to get them to the point of moving outdoors. There is a very important 7-10 day transition called “Hardening Off” that must be followed to ensure transplanted seedlings flourish and produce the results you have been counting on. Similarly, when you take that perfect hanging basket home that has been born and raised inside one of our cozy greenhouses, this same process must be followed to ensure a successful transition from an ideal controlled environment to the wild and often unpredictable outdoors.
Hardening Off your tender plants is a process that helps them grow accustomed to outdoor conditions by gradually exposing them to daily shift in temperature, light, and water.
Here are 5 steps to Harden Off Your Seedlings, Hanging Baskets, and other Greenhouse Plants:
- Begin the process 7-10 days before transplanting outdoors.
- Start by placing your plants outside in a shady area protected from wind for 1-2 hours / day for the first 2-3 days. Bring them back inside every night.
- For sun-loving plants, begin putting seedlings in the sun for longer hours at a time for 2-3 days. Make sure you avoid harsh mid-day full sun exposure. If the plants you are hardening off are shade or part-shade plants, leave them in the shade or dappled sunlight. Do not put seedlings directly in the path of the wind as they may dry out quickly or snap.
- After 7 days, your sun-loving plants should be ready for full sun and can stay outside at night if nighttime temperatures are above 45F. Cool season crops like broccoli, lettuce, greens, and cabbage can handle colder temperature when planted in the ground.
- After 7-10 days your plants are ready for transplanting. To reduce the stress of transplanting, transplant in the evening or on a cool, cloudy day. Water plants immediately after transplanting. A diluted dose of Root Stimulator or kelp or seaweed fertilizer also helps prevent stress. Keeping plants protected with row covers for another week will help them adjust to their new home and protect them against fluctuating temperatures.
In the case of your hanging baskets, water & fertilization are key to keeping them looking fresh all summer. Depending on their location and wind and sun conditions, hanging baskets are prone to drying out very fast. It is likely that they will need to be watered daily, and in very warm & dry spells even twice daily. They are heavy feeders as well and will need a good fertilizer dose every 10 days.
As always, if you have any questions just give us a call.
Pine Lane Nursery Garden Center in Parker, CO
Pine Lane Nursery is a family owned, full service garden center that has been in business since 1983. We offer an extensive inventory and a wide variety of trees, shrubs, beautiful perennial and annual flowers, ornamental grasses, seasonal vegetables and herbs, houseplants, pottery and more!
Based in Parker, Colorado, Pine Lane Nursery serves the surrounding areas of Centennial, Littleton, Castle Rock, Denver, Aurora, Englewood, Highlands Ranch, and more. Need help with your garden design, finding the right trees and shrubs for your landscape, or choosing the best annual and perennial plants for your home? Call us at (303) 841-3009 or stop by the garden center today!