At a recent garden talk, someone asked if it was all right to plant perennials now. I quickly answered “yes” and told her that for many perennials, fall is actually the best time to plant than spring.
Planting perennials in the fall reduces the risk of heat stress often felt in late spring and early summer. The warmth of the soil now can increase rooting and plant growth in spring.
Fall planting allows the plants to become established before the top growth and flowering occurs during the summer.
The shorter days and cooler temperatures of fall reduce moisture lost through the leaves and decrease the amount of transplant shock the plants would feel if they were planted other times of the year.
As long as the soil temperatures are above 50 degrees, the plant's roots will continue to grow for most perennials. Good root systems in the fall give the plants a head start when growth resumes in the spring.
Ideal deer and drought-resistant plants to plant now are Lavender, Spanish, French and English, Rosemary, both upright and protrate, Rockrose, Santolina, both grey and green, Buddleia, Wallflower, Black-eyed Susan, Coreopsis, Gaura, Ceanothus(wild lilac), Salvia, any kind such as Autumn sage or Blue Oak sage.
More ideal deer-resistant plants are Penstemon, Nepeta (Catmint), Artemisia, Iris, Day lilies, Agastache (Hummingbird mint), Thyme, Blue fescue and Russian sage.
So yes, fall can be a wonderful time of year for planting perennials into the landscape. In addition, fall planting will deliver bigger and showier displays next year. Plus, it’s very pleasant for the gardener to be out on these cooler days after the long hot summer.
What I’m really doing out in my garden this month? Hand watering, raking, clipping spent perennials and mulching.
For questions or comments, email Sue Langley at firstname.lastname@example.org