If you’re like most people, you probably assume that the best time to plant is in the spring. While spring is definitely a good time to put most plants in the ground, it is not the only time to do it. Fall is not only an excellent time for planting trees and shrubs, but also perennials! Here are some of the main benefits in doing so:
- Cooler temperatures help to lessen the stress caused by planting. Rather than planting in the spring right before the weather gets warm and sometimes downright hot, planting in the fall allows the roots of the plant to establish themselves while the temperatures are comfortable. Since the plants will not be producing lots of new growth or blooms during this time frame, all of the nourishment and water the plant receives in the fall can be used for producing healthy, strong roots.
- Shortened days mean less watering is needed. All plants require special attention to watering needs while becoming established, however, planting in the fall greatly lessens the amount of water which is required to do so. Not only does the cooler weather help slow evaporation rates but the shorter days also actually slow the process of photosynthesis in plants, causing them to use less water.
- Easily keep track of the location of existing plants when laying out your design for new ones. Adding perennials to an existing landscape or garden in the spring cannot be somewhat tricky since the existing plants may not yet be extremely visible. Planting at the end of the growing season in the fall when everything is just beginning to go dormant for the winter can make choosing the location for your additions much easier. Having the knowledge of where plants are currently located can greatly lessen the possibility of accidentally digging up a desired plant.
- Plant perennials as well as fall-planted (spring blooming) bulbs simultaneously! Since most of the more common bulbs are to be planted during the fall (such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, and crocus), why not plant them at the same time as your perennials? Many of the early to mid-spring blooming bulbs will have completed their blooming cycle and beginning to go dormant by the time the perennial season really starts to take off in the early summer. Planting these fall planted bulbs alongside or even in the same hole as perennials is a great way to extend the bloom time of your garden.
Excited about getting started with your new landscape or just sprucing up your existing one? Don’t wait until spring! Simply be sure to give your perennials at least 6-8 weeks in the ground prior to the typical date of the first hard frost in your area. Then when spring does arrive, you can sit back and watch your new garden “friends” come to life!