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Posted by Todd Thomasson on Jul 19, 2021 11:05:04 AM

There’s a common understanding among homeowners that springtime is for planting, and while that’s not untrue, there are other times of the year for planting, too. It ultimately comes down to your goals as well as what you’re planting.

We’ve rounded up this Virginia flower planting schedule to help you make the best choices for your property. Our goal is to help set you up for success.

Virginia Flower Planting Calendar

There’s no question that spring is the most popular time to plant flowers. For one, the local nurseries have more to choose from at this time of year. But that doesn’t mean it’s your only option. Let’s look at when to plant annuals, perennials and bulbs.Flowers and plants in Virginia landscape

When to Plant Annuals

Annuals are those flowers that grow and die in a single season. Therefore, they must be planted every year. This is different from perennials that are planted once and come back every year.

There are both spring and fall annuals, so depending upon what you’re looking for, you have seasonal options for both. Of course, you'll find that there is much more of an abundance of annual choices at the local nurseries come spring. And most of the well-known annuals are spring-blooming flowers that cannot tolerate any cold.

  • The best time to plant spring annuals is relatively early in the spring, after the threat of frost has passed.
  • Cold-tolerant annuals can be planted early in the fall in order to get the most enjoyment of the plant.

As far as summer, some plants can be planted or moved in the summer, but they will require a tremendous amount of “TLC” to survive.

This could mean extra watering during the hot periods of the summer. If it’s an especially delicate flower that is not heat tolerant, it’s probably a mistake to attempt to plant or move it at that timeAnnual flower planting

When to Plant Perennials

As far as when to plant flowers in Virginia, perennials can potentially be planted in spring or fall. In the early spring (even before the threat of frost has completely gone away), many bare root perennials (those that are dormant and therefore not actively growing) can be planted.

But fall, when the weather begins to cool but the soil is still warm, is actually a really great time for planting. Your plants won’t have to forgo the stress of the summer heat. Actually, that’s why fall is a really great time to plant trees and shrubs so if that’s something on your radar, be sure to keep it in mind.
Landscape shrub and perennial installation
Of course, as it gets later into the fall, you’ll want to stick to cold-tolerant perennials or else you could suffer loss to the cold weather. The very act of planting does put stress on the plant so it’s best not to add any stress with extreme weather conditions.

Perennials will be more winter hardy if planted earlier in the fall and given time to become established.

While the intense summer heat typically does not make it the best time to plant, there are some heat-tolerant perennials that can withstand higher temperatures and lots of sunlight.

When to Plant Bulbs

When you think about a Virginia flower planting calendar, you might be thinking about immediate gratification. In other words, you want to plant some flowers and be able to enjoy them right away.

But with certain flowering bulbs, that’s simply not how it works.

With bulbs, you need to think ahead. There are a number of different bulbs that need to be planted in the fall in order to have springtime color. These include tulips, daffodils, iris, and lily. Some lilies actually won’t bloom until the summer, but their beauty is worth the wait.

There is a window of opportunity during which you need to plant bulbs so it does require some planning ahead.Flowers in Virginia landscape

Understanding the Best Time to Plant in Northern Virginia

We understand that knowing when to plant flowers in Virginia can feel a bit like an overwhelming task. After all, you don’t have a degree in horticulture so to have to know the planting schedule of a number of different plants can seem like a lot of work.

Use This Helpful Guide to Plan Your Landscape Design
Of course, there are also some homeowners who absolutely love gardening and learning about when to plant flowers in Virginia is actually a lot of fun.

At Rock Water Farm, we work with both types of clients. We have plenty of garden-loving customers who like taking on some of the responsibility of planting and caring for their landscape.
Flowers around patio
But we also have clients who would prefer to be completely hands-off. They don’t want to have to figure out the nuances of planting. They just want to hire a professional who they feel confident will know exactly when to plant.

All of the Factors Involved in Planting

Of course, there’s much more to planting than just the seasonal timing.

Location, design, and the consideration of the ongoing maintenance needs are all important elements when it comes to creating the perfect landscape. There are also functional benefits to consider in terms of where plants are installed. For instance, if you’re looking to achieve privacy with some plantings, then you want to make sure strategic location decisions are made.
There are also microclimate considerations to take into account (which stem beyond season). Even if you choose the right time of year to install a certain plant, if you don’t put it in the right area of the property, it could still fail.
Flowers planted around walkway in Virginia
For instance, a sun-loving plant installed in a shady area is never going to perform well.

On top of that, you probably know there is a strong element of design when it comes to landscape plants. You want your plants to look good grouped together both in terms of layout (such as spacing) and color combinations. All of this contributes to the overall aesthetic appeal of the landscape.

Finally, there’s also maintenance to consider. Once you have a new landscape installed, you’ll need to maintain it, too. Decisions made during the installation process ultimately impact how much maintenance will be needed.

If you’re someone who is looking for a low maintenance landscape, then you’ll need to make smart decisions during the planting process.

This includes choosing low maintenance plants that won’t need a ton of extra care to continue to perform well. Plants that are drought-tolerant and overall hardy choices can be excellent in a landscape that doesn’t require tons of extra care.

Handing Your Planting Worries Over to a Pro

We know that figuring out planting schedules and making other planting decisions can be a lot of work. If that’s not something you’re interested in, you can hand your planting worries over to a pro who will know exactly what to plant and when to plant it. This can completely eliminate the guesswork on your behalf.

Instead of having to figure out any of the details, all you’ll have to do is enjoy your beautiful landscape.

Plus, when you hire the right landscape professional, they’ll be able to maintain it, too.

At Rock Water Farm, we install beautiful landscapes and we care for them as well. This means that all our clients have to do is sit back and enjoy the beautiful aesthetics of having gorgeous plants on their property (planted at the right time and in the right place).

The best landscape planning includes thinking through all of the potential scenarios and making the best plant choices. We have the horticultural expertise to help guide you toward the ultimate design.

If you’re ready to get a landscape that you love at your Haymarket, Gainesville, or Round Hill, VA home, talk to an expert, choose a solution that rocks, and get ready to see your landscape dreams take shape.

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About The Author

Todd Thomasson
Todd Thomasson

Todd Thomasson, founded Rock Water Farm Landscapes & Hardscapes in 2005. Having grown up with hard working parent role models and a strong work ethic, Todd put his Landscape & Turf Management degree from Virginia Tech into action as the lead stone mason and landscape designer for the new company. Over the years, the responsibility and opportunity of running this company has been shared with other members of the Rock Water Farm team, launching one of the leading property maintenance companies in Loudoun County. Todd is still rooted in his passion for design/build projects and continues to run the company, working with clients to design, build and maintain perfect outdoor spaces with his team.