Springtime seems to get most of the gardening headlines but fall may actually be the best time for planting. Perennials, in particular, benefit greatly from being planted in the fall and this time of year has some distinct planting advantages. Cooler air temperatures make it easier for plants to get acclimated to their new surroundings and the warm soil temperatures allow roots to grow big and strong before the ground freezes. Fall weather has a tendency to be more predictable than in the spring and you can usually get some good bargains; particularly on trees and shrubs, as nurseries are looking to move out inventory before the winter sets in. Pests and diseases are less of a concern at this time of year as well so to celebrate the benefits of planting in the fall here are 5 perennials that could make great additions to your yard this year:
- Peonies - If you are going to move an existing peony in your garden or add a new variety to your landscape this is the time of year to do it. Peonies typically don’t like to have their roots disturbed but if you have to do it why not do it at the time of year when root growth is strongest. Just be sure not to plant them too deeply. The bud on the root should be no more than 2 inches below the soil line or they won’t bloom. Two of our favorite varieties are Sarah Bernhardt and Karl Rosenfield.
- Iris - If your Iris patch didn’t bloom as prolifically or didn’t bloom at all then they need to be split and divided. This process involves digging up the patch, separating out the Irises and replanting them so they are spread about 6 inches apart. You should discard any rhizomes (the part from which the leaves sprout) that are soft or have holes in them as this is a sign that you have Iris borers. If you want to plant some new Iris in your yard check out what is available in our garden shop.
- Hosta - Fall is a great time to split an existing bed of Hosta or add some new ones to your collection. Their colorful foliage really brightens up those shady spots in your yard. Hostas are also very hardy and can live in your garden for decades. This is a very undemanding plant considering how exotic some of their leaves can look.
- Astilbe - This is another shade lover but it really shines when planted in damp soil conditions. It flowers in the middle of spring in most areas of the country and comes in shades of white, pink, red and light purple. After it blooms its faded flowers can be left intact and they provide an interesting contrast to other plants that surround it. If you decide to remove the faded flowers you’re left with very attractive fern-like foliage so you can’t lose regardless of what your preference may be!
- Coreopsis - This has always been one of my favorite perennials as it has a very long blooming period which many perennials lack. Fall is a good time to divide this plant as well as to transplant new ones. I like to start coreopsis seed in early August and the plants are then big enough to transplant into your garden by late September.
Of course, there are other perennials such as Coneflowers and Black-Eyed Susans that can be transplanted in the fall as well but if you’re looking for something new perhaps one of these five perennials will be what you’re looking for this fall.