Here is one of the biggest questions we get at this time of year. Can I put out my planters and annuals yet? Well in this region, you might want to wait a little bit.
It's hard to wait I know and the Garden Centres are full of the little beauties just waiting to be snatched up by you. You can certainly purchase but you need to be willing to protect them if they need you. A night or two of freezing temps and your plants will be set back quite a bit.
According to the Farmers Almanac, parts of our region's last frost-free days range from May 28th to June 1st. That doesn't even take into account tropicals which need even higher nighttime temps to keep them happy and healthy. We like to wait until around June 10th before letting tropicals such as elephant ears ( Colocasia ), Hibiscus, Palms, Cannas etc. Temperatures need to be consistently over 10 degrees overnight for tropicals.
So what do you do if you have planted everything out in your planters and gardens? Well, fear not, a couple of blankets and constant vigilance goes a long way. Watch the weather channel and cover the little babies if it gets too cold. Blankets, inverted flower pots will work just fine. Never use anything plastic and try to avoid the blankets touching the plants if possible using a frame.
Here is the key to this process. Once the sun comes out and temperatures get up past 10 degrees get them uncovered again or they may start to cook. Then you have an opposite problem.