What Plants to Plant and When to Plant Them: A Simple Spring planting Guide for Chattanooga and Its Residents.

April showers bring May Flowers! It’s a catchy adage, but it’s generally true. The spring rain signals the start of the growing season for fresh garden flowers throughout the South, but especially in our Scenic City. The McCoy Homes Team strives to help its followers, friends and family find new and exciting ways to make their homes more beautiful inside and out, as such, we’ve prepared a simple spring planting guide for Chattanooga.

Mount Tacoma Tulips from the White Flower Farm

Understanding Hardiness Zones

The Plant Hardiness Zone Map, developed by the USDA, divides the continental United States into 11 hardiness zones. This map is the standard by which farmers, growers and gardeners can determine which plants are most likely to thrive in a specific location. If you’ll take a look at the map below, you’ll see that Chattanooga, Tennessee falls into zone 7b. It is possible to plant and grow flowers in a sub-optimal zone, the gardener just needs to know that s/he will likely have to work harder to keep his/her plants in peak condition.

Hardiness Zone 7b

Zone 7 is unique in that its gardeners must consider both the extreme minimum and the extreme maximum temperatures when planning their gardens. In the colder zones, it doesn’t usually get hot enough to worry about the high. Conversely, in the hotter zones, it doesn’t usually get cold enough to worry about the lows. The average annual extreme minimum temperature for Zone 7b is 5-10℉, and the annual extreme maximum temperature is 102 – 108℉.

Sun Loving Annuals Well Suited to Zone 7b

Marigolds, Ageratum, Lantana, Gazania, Nasturtium, Sunflowers, Zinnias, Petunias, Bacopa, Sweet Peas, Moss Rose, Heliotrope, Lobelia, Celosia, Snapdragons, Bachelor’s Buttons, Foxglove, Calendula, Begonias and Cosmos.

Foxgloves love the southern sun.

Shade Loving Perennials Well Suited to Zone 7b

Hostas, Shasta Daisies, Bleeding Hearts, Aconitum (Monkshood), Brunnera (Jack Frost), Spiderwort, Viola, Epimedium, Lenten Roses, Toad Lily, Bletilla (Ground Orchids), Corydalis, Lungwort, Trillium, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Lilly of the Valley.

Bleeding Hearts love damp soil and shade.

Spring Planting

For spring planting, you want to focus on flowers that bloom quickly in the looser, workable soil after the cold has passed. Spring is a great time to plant shrubs and hardier perennials like stonecrop, sage, and false goat’s beard. These flowers can add tremendous splashes of color around your garden.

Bachelor’s Buttons, also known as Blue Cornflower, attract both bees and butterflies.

Sunflowers are an excellent choice for early spring planting. These will bloom during the summer months, but they can be a bit tricky to start. If you manage to get a few good seedlings started, sunflowers can burst up to 16 feet tall, so be careful about the location you choose for planting. If you do like the idea of flanking your property with tall and mighty sunflowers, you may need to rig some supports to keep their long stalks from breaking under the weight of all the seeds they will produce.

As the spring comes to a close and the weather turns warmer, it’s a good time to plant the flowers that will blossom in the summer heat. Delphiniums, zinnias, lupins, peonies, and foxgloves are great choices that will make your home vibrant during the summer months. 

Summer Planting

The early summer is arguably the most colorful time of year when it comes to blooming flowers. Now that there is no more risk of frost, you can start planting more temperature-sensitive flowers. Midsummer is the best time to see blooming lilies and planting flowers that bloom in the late summer, such as yellow rudbeckia, orange helenium, and crocosmia. Sedum spectabile is an excellent choice if you like seeing butterflies around your home and will also provide food to pollinators. 

Sunflowers are fairly easy to grow, once they get started, and pack a HUGE visual punch.

A word of caution when it comes to planting in the midsummer: You should be prepared to water quite often unless your area receives lots of summer rain. Midsummer flowers planted in July and August will need the most care, and you can enjoy beautiful blooms into the autumn months if you’re careful about watering. 

Tending a garden that looks wonderful all year round requires quite a bit of hard work and careful timing and attention, but the payoff is well worth your efforts. A beautiful garden is not only enjoyable but also boosts the curb appeal of your home. Whether you plan to sell your home in the near future or simply want to make your property as beautiful as possible, this guide can help you plant during the spring a bit easier.

Do you have any planting tips and tricks you’d like to share? Contact us! We’d love to hear your suggestions!