It’s nearly fall! Fall is the ideal time to get planting. Yes, many people consider spring to be the time of growth and renewal, but while fall might seem like the time to harvest and put the garden to bed, its cooler temperatures and more abundant water make it the ideal time to plant perennials such as shrubs and trees.
Why Plant in the Fall?
Think of plant growth as a race: every plant wants to end up on top. Plants that you add in the spring need to establish and start growing right away. They may be stressed and often do not reach their full size for a year or more. Plants that you add in the fall have some training time. If you plant them just as the days are cool and damp but the soil is still warm, they have the opportunity to establish new roots before they go dormant, and they’ll be well-established in the spring. Make sure that you plant before the first killing frost in your area. After that, the ground is hard and it is difficult for plants to get established.
Getting Your Garden Ready for New Perennials
While you may be tempted to add fertilizer to get your new plant growing, intensive fertilizing is best done in the spring. Instead of inspiring new growth, you want to allow your plants to establish a root system and then go dormant for the winter. However, you can set up the garden around your plant for success. If you can access decaying wood, make your hole a little deeper and place the wood under your new tree or shrub. It will hold water and feed your plants in the spring time. You can also add a mulch of leaves around your plant to slowly fertilize it and protect it during the winter.
Perennials That Prefer Fall Planting
Most perennials prefer to be planted in the fall. This includes trees, shrubs, and smaller perennial flowers. The only exception is the perennial that is actively flowering. Avoid planting late-blooming perennial plants such as asters and grasses. If it flowers in the fall, it’s too busy to be transplanted.
This Year’s Top Perennials
This year’s top perennials tend to be hardy sorts that are tolerant to temperature swings and drought. If you love to encourage bees, salvias are an excellent choice for the garden and thrive in hot, dry conditions. Most varieties bloom and then fade, but the new Blue Marvel variety has a longer blooming time. Echinaceas are also popular bee plants that are incredibly striking. They bring glorious yellows and oranges to your garden, and this year’s Orange Skipper variety adds an astounding tangerine color to your palette. If you’d like double the orange, try the Mandarin variety which has a double bloom. Love hummingbirds and striking foliage? Add lobelia to your garden beds. This plant feeds migrating and resident hummingbirds, and the Black Truffle variety has gorgeous dark leaves as well.
In addition to new favorites and old friends, look in your garden center’s sale section for intriguing finds. Fall is an excellent time to buy perennials because many of the perennials that bloom in the spring and summer don’t look as pretty in the fall. They may be discounted as plant nurseries try to reduce their stock before the winter.
When you’re working on your fall garden planning, talk to Harry Helmet. Our gutter systems help you manage the water flow around your home. With our gutter guards, you’ll be able to focus less on cleaning leaves from your gutters and more on what you enjoy: planting and playing in your fall garden. Contact Harry Helmet today to learn more about how our products can enhance your garden environment.