How to Harden Off Plants

How to Harden Off Plants

Before going into the garden, your plants need to gradually acclimate to outdoor growing conditions through a process known as “hardening off.” Wait to begin this process until danger of frost has passed – it’s important for annual plants to avoid all cold weather! Hardening off should take about one week, unless chilly temperatures prolong the process.

Here’s what to do:

Day 1-2: Find a protected place in your yard with an eastern exposure, so plants will only get a few hours of morning sun. For the first two days, put plants outside from morning until evening, bringing them indoors overnight and watering as needed.

Day 3-5: Move plants into the garden to sit, still in their containers. Water plants thoroughly and leave them outside in the garden overnight unless a frost is expected, in which case you should bring plants in or cover them for the night.

Day 5-7: As long as the weather is warm enough (65-70 degrees F is ideal), you are ready to plant in the garden!* Water thoroughly after planting, and expect to see new growth within 2 weeks.

*Remember: If any frost is predicted, bring your plants inside or cover them. Waiting for the right planting time gives your plants the best chance for success in the garden!

May 5, 2021