Did you know those big mums you see everywhere right now will not last through the winter? But there are a slew of other plants that are perfect to plant right now. Fall actually offers better conditions than spring for many plants. Cooler temperatures outside while the soil is still warm makes for great planting weather and allows plant roots to grow strong until the ground freezes. Pests and diseases problems fade away in the fall and there is no need to fertilize in the fall. Fall planting for the South usually ends by late October. So what is ideal to plant now, here is a list:
1. Pansies – Pansies thrive in cool weather and with the soil still warm it gives their roots time to establish before the freeze. This will give you a fall and spring flowering season of these beautiful creatures. remove old flowers from the stems to make sure they continue to look beautiful and do not use their energy to go to seed.
2. Succulents – I love succulents and there is nothing quite so elegant as a big planter full of them. These little plants are full of strength and can literally grow just from breaking them off and tossing them on the ground. They will become dormant in the winter but will thrive with regrowth in the spring.
3. Spring Bulbs – Spring bulbs need a period of dormancy to bloom in the spring. Plant your daffodils, hyacinths, bluebells, tulips, allium, etc now.
4. Cold Weather Vegetables – Many vegetables thrive in cool weather, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, radishes, rutabaga, spinach, and Swiss chard. Some fall-harvested crops should be planted by September to give them enough time to mature. 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. Last year even without floating row covers we had carrots come up in February and they were delicious. Frost is believed to make the roots sweeter.
5. Trees and Shrubs – Fall is ideal to plant trees and shrubs. Water thoroughly to give the roots plenty of time to grow strong before the freeze.
6. Hostas, Peonies, Irises – It is time to divide and transplant both hostas and irises. It is also time to plant peonies or transplant them, do not plant peonies too deep of they will not bloom.
The fact about fall’s most popular flower, Chrysanthemums, is, if you buy them in pots in the fall they will soon die as the weather becomes cold. If you were to plant mums in the ground during spring they would thrive through fall and be able to survive the winter and come back bigger and fuller the next year.