Planting isn't just a spring activity. If you're wondering what you can plant in the fall, the answer is almost anything. Here are six plant types to put in the ground during the fall.
Spring may be special, but fall is fine for planting. Turfgrass, spring-blooming bulbs, cool-season vegetables, perennials, trees, and shrubs can all be effectively planted in the fall.
Fall has distinct planting benefits. Autumn's cooler air temperatures are easier on both plants and gardeners. The soil is still warm, allowing roots to grow until the ground freezes. In spring, plants don't grow until the soil warms up.
Fall has more good days for planting than spring does, when rain and other unpredictable weather can make working the soil impossible. And there's a lot more free time for gardening in autumn than in always-frantic spring.
Plus, the late season is usually bargain time at garden centers that are trying to sell the last of their inventory before winter.
Fall showers are generally plentiful, but it's easy to deeply water plants if it doesn't rain at least an inch per week.
Pests and disease problems fade away in the fall. You don't need fertilizer, either. Fertilizer promotes new, tender growth that can be nipped by winter weather; stop fertilizing by late summer.
The window for fall planting ends about six weeks before your area gets hit with a hard frost, usually September or October.
Use this list for fall planting inspiration.
All spring-blooming bulbs need a period of cold dormancy to bloom. Plant bulbs in fall to ensure a beautiful spring display. If deer or other critters frequent your yard, plant bulbs they don't like to nibble, such as daffodil, crown imperial, grape hyacinth, Siberian squill, allium, fritillaria, English bluebell, dog's-tooth violet, glory-of-the-snow, winter aconite, or snowdrop.
Get bulb planting tips.
Check out these pest-resistant bulbs.
Fall is the best time to plant pansies because the still-warm soil temperatures give their roots time to establish. By planting in fall, you'll get two seasons of enjoyment out of these cool-season favorites. Remove spent flowers so the plant doesn't use its energy to set seeds, and keep the soil moist. After the soil freezes, mulch plants to prevent alternate freezing and thawing cycles that can heave plants out of the ground.
Learn how to select and grow pansies.
Many vegetables thrive in cool weather, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, radishes, rutabaga, spinach, and Swiss chard.
Many fall-harvested crops should be planted in early August to give them enough time to mature. Always consult the seed packet to see how many days it takes until maturity, and count backward from your frost date to allow enough time.
Lettuce, spinach, and other greens with a short maturity time can be planted later in the season. Extend the growing season by planting them under floating row covers or cold frames that will shield plants from frost but still allow light, air, and water to penetrate.
Many root crops taste sweeter when they're harvested after frost.
Learn more about cool-season crops.
Fall is the best time to establish new turfgrass and do most lawn chores. If you live in the North, cool-season grasses such as bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass should be fertilized in early September and again in late October or early November to give a boost for earlier spring green-up. In the South, avoid fertilizing dormant warm-season grasses unless they have been overseeded with winter ryegrass.
Fall is an ideal time to plant trees and shrubs. The weather is cool but the soil is still warm enough for root development. Before digging, always check with your local utility companies to locate any underground lines. Always plant trees and shrubs at their natural soil lines. Keep newly planted trees or shrubs well watered until the ground freezes so they get a good start before going into full dormancy during winter.
Learn more about planting trees and shrubs.
It's fine to plant perennials in the fall, especially specimens with large root balls.
Fall is a good time to divide and replant hostas.
Learn how to divide perennials.
Peonies should always be planted or transplanted in the fall. Avoid planting them too deep -- no more than 2 inches above the bud on the root -- or they won't bloom.
Pick a perfect peony.
Late summer and early fall are good times to plant and transplant irises.
Learn how to grown bearded irises.
Chrysanthemums come into full glory by late summer and early fall, but it's not the ideal time to plant them. Garden mums do best when planted in spring so they get fully established before winter. Sadly, the big, beautiful pots of florist mums you can buy already in bloom at a garden center won't survive the winter if you plant them now.
Learn how to use mums in the garden.
Any fall-planted perennials should be carefully watered until the ground freezes to keep their roots healthy and strong. Don't overwater, but make sure the plants get at least 1 inch of water one time per week.
-Daylilies are one of the easiest perennials you can grow. They are also one of the most budget friendly. A 2-foot clump can be divided into as many as 10 plants that you can either expand your garden with or share with your friends. To pick up daylily clump, take a garden spade with a nice deep sharp blade. Stick it in to the ground around the perimeter of the plant and get as much of the root ball as possible. Be sure to dig out the entire plant. Loosen the root mass as you go. Use your spade as a lever and top root ball out of the ground. Cut a large clump in half to make it easier to lift. Sit the clumps in a wheelbarrow or on a tarp to confine the mess. Separate each clump into several small plants with the sharp garden knife. Make sure each division has a set of leaves and roots. Place just one of the divisions back in the hole. Use your spade to make sure it's at the same depth they grow before. Improve your garden soil by mixing lots of compost. Shovel it into the hole around the plant. Press the soil down with your hands. Spread mulch around the plant. This will help keep the soil moist and shade out weeds. Water the planting area. Regular watering the first season will help establish the roots. What's next expand your garden at no cost with the other divisions or share them with friends.
Hi, I'm Anne Neyland. I'm here at the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden where we're getting ready to plant bulbs this fall. They're super easy. They're basically all planted the same way. Dig a hole, drop your bulb in, cover `em up with soil, and next spring, you've got beautiful flowers. Alright, so just dive in. Go ahead and dig a hole, drop your bulb in, and cover it up. It's that easy. Now everybody always asks, which end is up? Usually, it's the pointy end, but some bulbs don't even have a point on them. If you're not sure, plant `em on the side. The bulb's gonna know which end to grow up and which end to grow down. If you have a lot of bulbs to plant, here is an idea that will help you out. Go ahead and dig a big hole. This is gonna save you from digging a bunch of individual holes, and you'll have a way to plans a bunch of bulbs at one time. Dig the hole, and go ahead and place your bulbs throughout. If you want, you can even just toss `em in and plant them where they land. If you scatter them throughout, you'll end up with a more natural look in your garden. Go ahead and cover `em over, give `em a little bit of water, and they're ready to go for the spring. So, how deep do you plant bulbs? We get this question all the time. The general rule with them is you wanna plant it about 4 times as deep as the bulb is wide. For example, this daffodil bulb is about 2 inches wide, so you're gonna wanna plant it about 8 inches deep. This crocus bulb is about a half an inch wide, so you're gonna wanna plant it about 2 inches deep. One of the great things about bulbs, is because they're planted at different depths, you can actually plant a lot of `em in the same area and get a beautiful bouquet the next spring. For example, I've layered daffodil bulbs at the bottom of my hole, I've got tulips next, and right now, I'm adding in crocus bulbs at the top. So, next spring, I'm gonna have all three flowers coming up in the same area. You can either pick these flowers and bring them inside for a beautiful bouquet or leave them outside. Either way, you're gonna have a beautiful spring. Another great tip that you can do with bulbs, is to plant them in your lawn. You'll have a great little display of flowers coming up in your grass in the spring. One of the ways to do this, is just toss them out them out into your lawn, and wherever they land, go ahead and plant them. You'll have a real natural look that way rather than planting them in a row. Don't worry about mowing around these flowers, because by the time they're passed, it will be ready to mow. And that's your Test Garden tip.
-Trees add years of beauty to your landscape and help shade your house keeping it cooler around the summer and attract birds as well. It's pretty easy to plant a tree. Just follow these simple steps for success. First off, make sure you're planting your tree in the best possible spot. Pay attention to the size of the tree so that it doesn't end up outgrowing it space. Also note the growing conditions ensuring the tree is compatible to your soil type, the amount of sun and shade they gets, and other climate factors. Once you place your tree, mark a hole about twice as wide as the pot. We find it easy to leave the tree in place then start your circle removing the side in 1 or 2 pieces and then digging up the trail. One of the most important things to pay attention to when you're planting your tree is making sure the tree's planting hole is about as the opposite farthest hole. Avoid digging the hole too deeply. It's more work for you and harmful to the old tree. As you drop your tree into the hole, loosen the root balls spreading up the roots. This is important too. The tree roots grow in circles inside the pot. They continue to grow that way and eventually strangle your tree. After your tree is placed, fill the hole with the soil you dug from it. Resist the urge to fill it with better soil. You don't want to create a pocket for your tree's roots that they don't want to grow out of. Water you tree well and cover the soil with a couple of inches of mulch. This keeps the soil cool and moist as your tree gets established.