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Here’s What You Should Be Planting In The Fall

7 de april de 2024

This may be a little-known fact, but fall is the key planting time for a beautiful garden. It’s also the key time to give your plants one last manicure before winter sets in. You actually have double the garden work during autumn. Now that summer’s heat is cooling off, it’s time for you to switch out your summer annuals for fall-appropriate annuals and plant spring bulbs, vegetables, and herbs before the autumn freeze. Fall is also a good time to get new trees, shrubs, and perennials into the ground. Here’s a handy list of what to plant in the fall.

Refresh Your Garden With Fall Annuals

Mums, also known as chrysanthemums—are one of the most popular fall annuals. Buy potted varieties of them in September so that you will have options in every shape and color to choose from. Mums come in stunning shades of red, orange, yellow, white, pink, and lavender. Plant them in fall beds or containers (including pumpkins!) in full sun and be sure to keep them watered well.

Other tried-and-true, cool weather annuals for you to replace your tired summer flowers in either beds or containers—pansies, violas, dianthus, sweet alyssum, and snapdragons. For green interest, plant dusty miller and ornamental peppers, cabbage, and kale. Additional annuals to explore include angelonia, begonia, coleus, lantana, calibrachoa, cosmos, globe amaranth, impatiens, lobelia, marigold, petunia, spider flower, sunflower, and zinnia.

For container recipes and inspiration, explore our fall container ideas to refresh your outdoor spaces.

Get Spring- and Summer-Blooming Perennials Planted

Fall provides ideal conditions for planting perennials to establish their root systems and get ready for spring growth. «September and October provide ideal temperatures to get perennial plants off to a good start,» says Southern gardening expert Walter Reeves.

Phlox, sedum, bee balm, salvia, lamium, lavender, and creeping Jenny are just a few recommended perennials to plant in fall, according to plant grower Costa Farms.

Grow an Edible Garden With Fall Vegetables

For a cool-weather vegetable harvest, plant lettuce, collards, carrots, Brussel sprouts, spinach, broccoli, radish, and more.

The general rule of thumb is to plant fall vegetables from seed 90 days before the first frost. If you are planting transplants from your local garden center, the timeline is even shorter and the plants are easier to grow for beginners. For more precise timing, find your garden’s USDA hardiness zone, determine your first fall frost date, and read the individual plant’s directions before planting anything.

In August, plant kale, collards, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and carrots. In September, plant lettuce, kale, collards, spinach, onions (for a summer harvest), swiss chard, turnips, radishes, and beets.

Choose Fall Herbs That Tolerate Cool Weather

There are several herbs you can plant in fall that will hold up to mild winters, according to Bonnie Plants, these are parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, chives, lavender, cilantro, and mint. Plant herbs from transplants in containers or beds in a convenient location where you can easily snip off a sprig when a cozy fall recipe calls for it, like these herbed potato stacks.

Give Trees and Shrubs a Head Start

Fall is an ideal time to plant trees and shrubs, which gives them time to grow roots and take a strong hold in the ground. The soil temperatures are still warm enough for root growth while the cooler air temperatures help the newly-planted trees and shrubs flourish long term.

«Cooler air and soil temperatures reduce stress on plants and encourage root growth,» the North Carolina Cooperative Extension explains. «Larger root systems help fall planted trees and shrubs perform better next summer than those that are planted in the spring.»

How to plant trees and shrubs

To plant trees and shrubs, mind basic guidelines on how deep and wide the hole needs to be and avoid planting too deep of a hole, which can smother the tree.

«Dig the planting hole twice the diameter of the root ball with gently sloping sides, and no deeper than the root ball,» the North Carolina Cooperative Extension tree and shrub planting guide says.

Then add slow-release fertilizer, fill the hole with soil, water the site with a focus on the root ball, and cover with 2 to 3 inches of mulch.

«For the first year, direct water to the root ball because the roots will not yet have spread into the surrounding soil,» the Clemson Cooperative Extension warns. «Many plants die from too little or too much water during the first few months after planting.»

Plant Bulbs to Welcome the Coming Spring

Between Halloween and Christmas, you’ll want to plant spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, jonquils, hyacinths, and other brightly colored flowers. What better way to welcome spring than with happy splashes of color in your garden beds and containers?

How to plant bulbs

For the most impact, plant bulbs together in masses, and in succession by their blooming times, whether early-, mid-, or late-season. Your bulb selections should note their respective blooming times. Bulbs prefer full sun or part shade, depending on the bulb.

Plant bulbs in well-draining soil, following depth and spacing guidelines. For depth, Breck’s, a U.S. importer of Dutch bulbs, recommends planting spring bulbs two to three times as deep as the bulbs are tall. «This means most large bulbs like tulips or daffodils will be planted about 6 inches deep while smaller bulbs will be planted 3-4 inches deep,» Breck’s bulb planting guide says.

For spacing, Clemson Cooperative Extension provides these guidelines: «Space bulbs in bed according to size. Large bulbs should be 3 to 6 inches apart, small bulbs 1 to 2 inches.»

After you’ve planted your bulbs, water them, and cover them with 2 to 3 inches of mulch.

How to plant bulbs in containers

Create a delightful spring surprise by planting bulbs in containers. To plant bulbs in a container: fill the pot about halfway with drainage materials, like pinecones, and cover with landscape fabric; fill the pot with potting soil and place bulbs in the soil, shoulder to shoulder; top with soil so bulbs are just below the surface; and finish by watering and topping the pot with a layer of mulch.

«In the South, bulbs in containers will bloom better than bulbs in the ground because cold air envelopes the pots, reaching all of the soil,» according to Southern Living«s bulb container tutorial.

Are bulbs perennials?

Although bulbs are perennials, they may or may not return each season in the South due to our milder weather, and are often treated as annuals.

«…Southern gardeners should keep in mind that some bulbs are picky about their climate requirements to be reliably perennial, with tulips and hyacinths at the top of the list,» explains seed and plant producer Burpee.

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