Most people think of spring and summer when it comes to planting flowers, but many people wish their front yards looked colorful in the cooler months of the year as well. It may come as a surprise to some, but you actually can plant in the fall, whether you want to enjoy the colors come springtime or you want to beautify your front yard all of those fall festivities you have planned. Just because the weather turns cold doesn’t mean your yard has to! In fact, according to Better Homes & Gardens (BHG), fall has more good planting days than spring does. There are several ways to do this.
- Think of fall as the perfect time to prepare for spring…because it is! According to Lowe’s, August-September is actually a great time to plan and shop for your spring garden, while late September-early November is actually the prime time for planting. (Yes, you read that right…early November!) Now, of course this depends on the weather – your neighbors might grow concerned if they see you trying to plant flowers in a blizzard. But if you plant certain flowers in the fall, be ready for a burst of color come spring!
- Lilies galore! Lilies are one of the best flowers to plant in the fall time. The best time to plant these beautiful bulbs is surprisingly from mid-September to mid-October, before the cold winter temperatures hit. Why? The roots will be well-established come early summer, when they begin to bloom, and the winter chill will help produce bigger, better blooms! Lilies bloom from early summer into the fall, so they’re sure to wow anyone who even glances in the general direction of your home. Plus, they’re pretty low-maintenance, which is always a good thing!
- Pleasing perennials. Like lilies, other perennial flowers like peonies and hostas, are great bulbs to planted, transplanted, or replanted in the fall. Just be sure to keep them well watered until the ground freezes, or else their roots won’t be well established or healthy enough when spring hits.
- Don’t forget about the pansy! While lilies and peonies are great to plant in the fall in preparation for your spring and summer spectacles, pansies are the perfect flower for your fall – and even your winter – garden. While technically a perennial flower, they’re often treated as annuals because they actually prefer cooler weather and their stems can get weak in the heat of the summer. If you want pansies in the spring or summer, feel free to plant them in the winter. But, if you want to have those pops of color in the fall, plant pansies in the summer. Not only will they bloom in the fall, but they may even make it into the winter months! They’re a hearty, strong flower, and some varieties can even withstand a light snow!
- Cool as a cucumber. OK, maybe not cucumbers…but there are plenty of other vegetables that thrive in cooler weather! Brussel sprouts, lettuce, carrots, radishes, spinach, cabbage, kale, and a few other veggies can be planted as late as August for a decent fall harvest. It’s best to of course check your seed packets and consider when your area’s first frost will be to give proper maturation time. Many greens (like lettuce and spinach) that don’t take too long to mature can be planted even later, and according to BHG, many root crops taste a tad bit sweeter when harvested after the first frost.
- Mums the word. Chrysanthemums and other varieties of mums are the ultimate late bloomer, making their showy debut in late summer and going strong well into the fall season. However, fall is not the best time to plant them. They’re included on this list because they’re a great addition to your yard if you want to have that added color in your fall garden. The prime time to plant any variety of mums is in the springtime so that their roots can be fully established come their big autumn reveal.
- Just shrub it off. Fall is the perfect time to plant trees and shrubs, because it’s not too hot for the gardener at work, but it’s still warm enough for the root system to get established in the soil. Like the perennial bulbs, keep new trees and shrubs watered well, until the first frost. Try to plant trees, shrubs, and the other flowers mentioned between mid-August and mid-October, and choose tree species that have shallow, fibrous root systems to plant during this time, as they’re easier to plant in the fall. These include trees like ash, crabapple, buckeye, elm, sycamore, pines, spruce, and maple, among others. The majority of deciduous shrubs (that is, shrubs that shed their leaves seasonally) are also easily planted in the fall.