Fall is a great time to plant in the south. The weather is cooling off and typically, the rainfall is plentiful. The cooling temperatures make gardening more enjoyable for us doing the work and for the plants that are trying to establish themselves. While the soil is still warm but the air is cold, plants use all of their energy to establishing roots instead of focusing on what’s above the surface. This makes for a very successful start! If you are looking to add plants to your garden beds or embarking on a new landscaping project, now is a great time to do it.
Need more information? Email Us, call 919-878-8877 or visit us and browse our Fall Plants for sale in our Raleigh Nursery!
We’ve put together a list of tips for planting this season.
- Always start with some type of plan. You don’t have to have a formal landscape drawing but it’s good to have an idea or vision of how you’d like to use the space. In other words, just take a minute to think and brainstorm. This isn’t as important if you’re adding a single plant but if you are working on a new area it’s a good idea to at least measure the space before you head out to our garden center so our staff can help you with selections. Considerations to keep in mind are: sun exposure of the area, moisture level and existing plants surrounding the area. See this article for additional tips on landscape planning.
- When planting, make sure to amend your soil. We love Daddy Pete’s planting mix. It’s a great soil full of composed pine bark and manure plus it’s a local product made right here in North Carolina. Adding a planting mix to your existing soil helps with drainage and helps the roots ease their way into the surrounding soil as they develop. We carry a wide range of soils and amendments for planting, vegetable gardening and more! We even have organic and vegan options!
- Amending your soil is especially important when planting deciduous plants this time of year. If your soil is heavy or full of clay, it’s very important to amend soil for proper drainage. Since deciduous plants are loosing or about to be loosing their leaves, they don’t have a way to get rid of excess moisture. Wet roots can rot and kill the plant. See more information on amending clay soil.
- Fall is also the prime time for planting fescue lawn seed. Whether starting a new lawn or re-seeding an existing lawn, be sure to first aerate your soil before you lay down your seed. We have plugging aerator rentals at reasonable rates. Our staff is always available to help answer questions about your lawn should you need more help and assistance. You’ll want to get your seed down before the leaves fall and cover your lawn.
- Spring bulbs should be planted from Halloween to Christmas. These are easy to plant and there are lots of ways to keep the pests away if you’ve had problems in the past. See our article on deterring pests from bulbs.
- Get a jump on spring blooms now! In addition to trees and shrubs, fall is also an ideal time for planting perennials! Whether you start with our gorgeous, mature plants or seed, the fall season is a great time to get perennials established so they’ll be bigger and better next spring! Many perennials seeds also need a cooling period to germinate – see our article on sowing perennials seeds in fall.
We’ve got Fall Color!
We have a tremendous selection of gorgeous plants with fall color for your garden, porches and patios! Choose from beautiful mixed container gardens or select the components to create your own! Our staff is also available to plant your pots for you. Choose from some of these fall favorite plants:
Mums are the staple for fall decorating. They work well in beds or in pots – line them up a set of steps or plant them en mass for a bold splash of color. They are technically perennial but most people use them as annuals and choose to buy fresh each year.
Asters are a terrific perennial selection for fall color. Mix them into the perennial border for color year after year. They pair well with ornamental grasses, sedum and other perennials. Mix them with varieties that bloom in different seasons so your garden will have a procession of colorful blooms throughout the year.
Zinnias come in brilliant fall colors and will continue to bloom prolifically until frost! If you aren’t a fan of mums, zinnas are an excellent fall choice. They have bigger blooms that will last from the time you plant all season long.
Croton is a luscious tropical plant with fabulous warm fall colors. They are perfect through the fall and can then be brought indoors as the temperatures begin to drop. They make a terrific houseplant for your sunny window.
Fall blooming perennials such as….
Annuals and Perennials to Enjoy in the Fall and all Winter Long!
Snapdragons are cool weather plants offered in a multitude of colors that are often overlooked for fall plantings. They like rich, moist, well-drained soil in a sunny location but will tolerate part sun in our climate, in order to help keep them cool. Cold hardy to 18° F they pair well with pansies and can remain in the garden for several years, long after the pansies are gone. Cutting back spent flowers encourages quick rebloom that will continue until temperatures consistently top 80° F. Use tall varieties to provide a strong vertical element in the garden and for cutting. Add a few of the shorter varieties to your container gardens for a pop of color this fall or use them as a border plant in the garden. As an added bonus, they are deer and rabbit resistant!
Pansies are a staple of fall plantings. They are in the Viola family and derived their name from the French word pensée meaning “thought”, and were so named because the flower resembles a human face. These happy little faces now come in over 300 varieties and can provide a much needed touch of color even in the dead of winter. Plants grow well in sun to part-sun in well-draining soils. They are winter hardy in our zone and can survive light freezes and short periods of snow cover. They are the perfect edition to beds or container gardens.
Coral Bells (Heuchera), previously known for their dainty bell-shaped flowers, have become popular with new and expanding selections of beautiful foliage colors and patterns. They are valued as foliage plants, producing leaves in various shades of burgundy, green, caramel and bronze, with variegated and textured varieties. Similar to Heuchera, Tiarella and the hybrid cross of Heucherella, also provide interesting and contrasting foliage. We have a wide selection of all of these evergreen perennials available for fall planting.
Bergenia are clump-forming, evergreen perennials with large leathery leaves and cone-shaped flowers in various shades of pink. For most of the year, the leaves have a glossy green colour, but in cooler climates, they turn red or bronze in the fall. The common name for Bergenia is pigsqueak (due to the sound produced when two leaves are rubbed together). Bergenia are hardy and can grow to 24” tall and wide. They prefer sun but will grow in shady areas as well. While they tolerate most soils, they prefer soils that are moist and humus-rich. Dry soils tend to stunt growth, but can enhance the winter leaf colors.
Ornamental Cabbage, Kale and Mustards come in a variety of green, white, pink and purple combinations. While they are technically edible they are hybridized versions of their culinary counterparts and are not flavorful or tender. They prefer to dry out between watering but will stress if left dry for long periods of time. Plant in fall for color that remains until Spring.
Don’t forget about cold tolerant edibles! Add Swiss Chard to containers or beds for dark green foliage with veins of yellow and red and hardy herbs such as rosemary, sage and thyme. They provide unique variety to container gardens and prove useful in the kitchen through the season and beyond.
All of these plants are perfect for fall/winter container gardens. They tolerate the mild sun of winter and can be pulled out and planted in the shade garden in the spring. Stop in and see our vast selection and take home a container garden today that you’ll enjoy all winter.