Plants can be divided into several types depending on how well they tolerate cold, freezing temperatures, and frost.
These types of plants cannot tolerate any frost or cold temperatures at all. They need to be planted when the weather is warm, after all danger of frost has passed.
All of these Very Tender plants have long growing seasons (they take a long time to go from seed to harvest), so you want to wait until the weather is warm enough for them, but you can’t wait too long or you will not have a chance to harvest before hot or cold temperatures set in. They tend to love warmer temperatures, and thrive in the heat.
Almost all of these plants must be transplanted outside. Unless you live in an area that is temperate (no extremely hot or cold temperatures), there is not enough time for them to grow outdoors from seed to harvest. You must either purchase transplants, or grow them yourself indoors, under lights.
- Cantaloupe and Melons
- Lima Beans
- Pumpkins and Winter Squash
These types of plants can tolerate some cooler temperatures, but frost will kill them. They are generally planted in the ground on the date of the average last spring frost. They grow best in when it’s warm, but not extremely hot.
- Dry Beans
- Snap Beans
- Summer Squash and Zucchini
- Sweet Corn
These plants thrive in cool temperatures. Some of them can tolerate heat, but many will bolt or go to seed when temperatures rise. These plants are particularly great to grow in temperate areas, or in the spring and fall.
- Swiss Chard
These plants thrive in cool weather, and will die, bolt, or go to seed when things get hot. They grow well in the spring and fall, and in warmer climates, they can be grown all winter long! In the spring, they can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked (with soil temperatures of 40°F).