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Is it Safe to Plant Flowers Outside After Mother’s Day?

What Really Is a Good Time to Set Your Flowers Outside

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Mother’s Day is often filled with flowers, as we shower our mothers and motherly figures with them. And if you’re into gardening, you also might have heard that a good rule of thumb is to start planting your flowers outside after Mother’s Day.

Whether or not this holds true depends on where you are in Michigan. Your location determines if the soil is warm enough and if there is still a chance of frost.

The map below shows the average dates of last frost, which occurs at 32° or less.

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The areas that see frost late into the spring are farther north and/or in an area that forms valleys.

In the Lower Peninsula, the closer you are to Lake Michigan or Lake Huron, the earlier you can plant because of the influence the water has on the nearby air temperature.

Mother’s Day always falls on the second Sunday of May, and temperatures start to trend warmer as we head into mid-May.

Because average temperatures are well above freezing in most areas at this time, you generally can plant your flowers outside after Mother’s Day. However, if you’re in a colder zone where frosty nights can happen into June, be sure to monitor the weather.


If cold air is expected, be sure to cover them the night before. If they are in a container that can be moved, place them inside overnight.

Comparing the beginning of May to the end of May:

Temperature data from 1991-2020 shows that for many locations, the first day of May is nearly 10° cooler than the end of May.

Below are area average high temperatures for the 1st of May and the 31st of May.

  • Gladwin - May 1: 62°, May 31: 74°
  • Old Mission - May 1: 59°, May 31: 71°
  • Gaylord - May 1: 58°, May 31: 70°
  • Sault Ste Marie - May 1: 57°, May 31: 69°
  • Manistee - May 1: 62°, May 31: 72°

Note: The average temperatures reflect a sum of all the high temperatures for that day between 1991 and 2020, divided by the number of years. It does not guarantee that will be the temperature on that day.

What is it like in other places?

Now that we know what it’s like in Michigan, are you curious about what the growing season is like in a more tropical climate? What about locations even farther north than we are?

Florida for example, has a completely different growing season than us here in Northern Michigan. The latitude of the state ranges from about 25° N to about 31°N.


According to gardening blogs and nurseries in Florida, flowers grow year round! Most areas of Florida have more than one growing season for crops!

Despite flowers being able to grow year round, northern parts of Florida do experience hard freezes, so some plants need extra care.

On the opposite end, Alaska has a more complex way to grow their plants, including crops like corn. Alaska deals with longer frost season in the interior portions.

Growers in Alaska have to pick more specific varieties to be able to survive in the temperatures. However, the plants that do grow, end up being some of the largest produce thanks to the the 24-hour daylight!

All in all, to grow plants, no matter where you are, it matters where you are.

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