We have previously written about it being better to plant perennials in the fall to enjoy a beautiful garden next year.  Planting in the fall allows early blooming perennials to establish themselves. 

Some other reasons why it is better to plant your perennials in the fall include:

  • The soil is warmer which allows the root system to thrive. In the spring, in northern locations, the soil is cold, which is not optimum for perennial root systems.
  • Fall weather tends to be more consistent.  In the spring, there can be freezes and occasional snowstorms.  Spring can also be short and go straight into summer. In the fall, air temperatures commonly stay warmer and the sun is not as strong.  The later conditions are beneficial to grow stronger plants.

Here is a list of some of our favorite spring-flowering perennials that are best planted in the fall:

Coreopsis

Coreopsis is a native plant also known as tickseed.  Coreopsis is sun-loving, drought-tolerant, and attractive to pollinators especially butterflies. These pretty flowers are found in a variety of colors including lavender, orange, rose, yellow, white or bi-colored. The flowers bloom in spring through early summer. Plant Coreopsis in a location that will receive 6 – 8 hours of direct sun in rich, well-drained soil. To encourage more blooms, deadheading is recommended. This plant is also deer resistant.  Most Coreopsis are hardy for zones  4 – 9.

Dianthus            

Dianthus plants are also called pinks and there are annual and perennial varieties of this pretty flower. Most grow 1 to 2 feet tall and the flowers come in pink, red, salmon, white or even combinations of these colors. Perennial Dianthus stay evergreen all year-round and even the annual varieties will stick around for a few years if they are planted in a spot that they like. Dianthus prefers soil that drains well and is on the dry side. They should be planted in full to partial sun conditions and work equally well in containers as they do in flower beds. Deadheading will encourage a longer blooming period and keeps the plants looking neat.

Ipheion

Ipheion is also known as spring starflower. It is related to onions, so it is part of the Allium family. This pretty flower has six pointed lobes that are a little over 1 inch long in shades of very pale to deep purple-blue with grass-like foliage.  The flowers will bloom for up to 8 weeks and grow 3 to 6 inches tall.  These flowers are honey-scented and when the foliage is bruised it has an onion or garlic smell.  Ipheion blooms in April and May and goes dormant in the late spring.  The plant is native to Argentina and Uruguay. Grow this flower in well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade.  This plant is grown from bulbs. Plant the bulbs 2-3 inches deep and space them 2-4 inches apart in the fall. It is recommended for mass plantings of borders. It can be naturalized in lawns. Ipheion is hardy for zones 5 – 9.

Leucanthemum

Leucanthemum flowers are also known as Shasta Daisies. These plants are perennials and are part of the Aster family. Leucanthemum is ideal for many garden situations and are known for having beautiful white petals with yellow centers and lance-shaped green leaves.  The flowers will bloom from spring to fall.  Leucanthemum was once classified under Chrysanthemums. With their long-lasting blooms, you can use them in a perennial garden, cottage garden, rock garden and even in containers. Plant Leucanthemum flowers in full sun or part shade in moist but well-drained soil. There are some species that need full sun, so check the planting instructions. Many of the taller species will need to be staked.  These perennials can be divided in early spring or late summer every 2 – 3 years.  Leucanthemum attracts butterflies and are deer and rabbit resistant. These flowers are hardy for zones 6 – 11.

Virginia Bluebells

Virginia Bluebells are native to the United States and differ significantly from other varieties found in different places around the world as they have foliage in place almost all year round with the exception of summertime. They have beautiful blue, bell-shaped flowers that bloom in mid-spring. They grow best in part shade and moist soil. If you see this plant in its native habitat, don’t dig it up as it may be an endangered species. Hardiness zones 3 – 8.

Coordinate these perennials with your spring-flowering bulbs. This way you will get double the amount of flowers and colors in the spring. 

Next week we will highlight some summer flowering perennials to plant in the fall.

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