Get the Jump on Spring with Fall-Planted Perennials

Get the Jump on Spring with Fall-Planted Perennials

Fall planting perennials is a smart thing to do because you'll be rewarded with tons of color in your spring and summer garden.
I will be the first one to admit that by late summer I’m ready to hang up my trowel for another season. After all, my back and knees aren’t what they used to be and digging in the garden after a hot summer isn’t too enticing. But, every year I eventually come to my senses because I know that fall planting is a smart thing to do because I’ll be rewarded with tons of color in my garden next spring and summer. Plus, it gives me more free time in the spring to work on other gardening projects.

Planting perennials in the fall is a no-brainer. The cool, moist autumn weather encourages quick root growth, allowing your plants to become well established before winter strikes, and by the time spring arrives they’ll be in launch position to burst into bloom their first year. Just try to get your plants in the ground at least 4 to 6 weeks before the first expected hard freeze in your area.

Not all perennials benefit from fall planting, but many of my favorites actually prefer it. Peonies, hostas, daylilies, iris, phlox, and Asiatic and Oriental lilies are just a few examples. And, if you already have these perennials in your garden, fall is the perfect time to dig and divide them to keep them from becoming too crowded.

Of course, the key to success with fall-planted perennials is water. If rainfall is scarce, water them every day for at least the first ten days after planting. Also, tuck them in with a thick blanket of mulch to conserve soil moisture and protect them from heaving out of the ground during winter’s freeze/thaw cycle. Get more tips to get your garden ready for winter.

So, as the gardening season starts to wind down, just remember that once winter arrives you’ll have plenty of time to relax. Get out and plant while you still have the chance.

Written by Doug Jimerson