There is no doubt that spring can make us ga-ga over gardening. The first warm weather that hits has most of us running to the nursery to load up with blooms to color our world. But do you know that fall is the BEST time to plant for health and longevity of your plants? Why does fall get a second seat? Maybe it is because the word hasn’t spread about this fantastic gardening season in our city. Today we hope to change that by giving you enough reasons to try fall planting and maybe after reading, you will share the news too. Spead the word, “Fall is for Planting!”
5 Reasons to Plant in Fall
The Fall Temperatures:
If that first break in weather after a a dreary winter gives you warm fuzzies in spring, what have these first cool mornings after an oppressively hot and dry summer given you? Am I right? Once the temps dip out of the 90’s and fall is in full swing, the planting game is on! We actually start craving time in the garden again.
The Fall Rains:
Stay with me here, this one is a general statement. Fall USUSALLY brings more rainfall. What a perfect thing to have line up with new plantings of trees, shrubs, and perennials. We tend to get a break from the taxing chore of hose watering that we’ve been limited to over the summer. We’ll get a break from the chore and a break from the high water bills we’ve been paying.
The Productivity in Fall:
It’s a fact that veggies ripening in the cooler days of fall actually taste better. Strawberries planted in fall will far outproduce any planted in spring. Cool weather brings back the vibrancy of colors in many of our annuals that have been washed out from the heat and glare of the sun.
Perennials get a second wind and rejuvenate to offer another round of blooms. There’s no better time to plant perennial herbs. Repeat blooming roses give spring a real run for their money with a spectacular fall show. Ornamental grasses that have sat unassuming, pop their plumes and become a standout feature in the landscape.
The Need and Timing of Fall Planting:
Some plants simply HAVE to be planted in fall in order to grow. Wildflower seeds, including native milkweeds, need the fall rains and cold stratification period through winter to germinate properly. Biennials (which start lifecycle one year and complete the next) like bluebonnets and poppies MUST be planted in fall.
Trees, shrubs and perennials are investments. They cost money but also add value to your home. If they are on your wish list for additions to your landscape, why wouldn’t you want to give them the best start possible to ensure their success.
Fall planting will offer them all winter and early spring to begin establishing their extensive root system before the heat of summer rolls in. They NEED all that time. Trees, shrubs and woody perennials that are planted in fall have a huge head start on those planted in spring.
The Fall Savings:
We already mentioned the savings on your water bill, but you can save a little on plants too. You can buy smaller plants in fall as they will quickly grow in cool temperatures with limited stress. Oftentimes we purchase larger plants in spring knowing that their root system is more developed and may be better able to handle the upcoming heat in summer. You don’t have to necessarily do that in fall. Larger plants = more money. Purchase smaller plants, like gallon-sized containers, and save. (Or spend the same amount of money, but get more plants!)
Don’t get us wrong, we love planting in spring, too. It’s just that fall is a superior time to get your plants established for long term health and productivity. Now that you know, will you be sharing the exciting news? We hope you do.
~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy