Skip to main content

Return to Q&A

What does “harden off” mean?

Plants or seedlings that have been growing protected in sunny windows need to acclimate slowly to the sun’s full strength and whirling winds of outdoors.  About 1 week before planting in your garden, acclimate them to the outdoors first by leaving them in a sheltered spot outside for a couple of hours. Choose a shady spot out of the wind; then gradually extend the outdoor time by increasing the time over several days, ie. 2 hours, then 4 hours the next day, then 6 hours, until your plants fully adjust or “harden off”. Once they have spent 18 hours outside, they should be ready to spend the night.  Then, you can plant them in their ultimate ideal location!

Your Garden in the Fall

Still-warm soil and relatively cool air temperatures promote healthy root growth in plants that return each year. Check out our Fall gardening tips.

Fall Articles

We’ve got answers!

Have you got a question for the experts? Search our repository of answers to the questions most asked by our customers.

Ask the Experts