Plant container-grown perennials. Toss a shovelful of compost into perennial planting holes to enhance soil nutrition and improve moisture holding ability. Don't forget to water while plants settle into their new homes.
Choose perennials that will give a strong performance in late summer, when Southern gardens tend to fade. Great selections include salvias.
Autumn sage (Salvia greggii): Red blooms lure hummingbirds. Plants possess strong drought-tolerance.
Brazilian sage (Salvia guaranitica): Striking indigo blue blooms attract butterflies. Look for the cultivar 'Black and Blue', which has blue flowers with black bases. Try a heavy winter mulch in Zone 7 to enhance overwintering.
Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha): This beauty isn't hardy through the whole South, but its spectacular lavender fall color makes it worth growing.
Test Garden Tip: You can also water newly planted perennials with a specialized transplant fertilizer. These products typically contain Vitamin B-1, which activates plant disease resistance, and rooting hormones, which promote strong root growth.