A Garden Designer's Guide to Buying Perennials in the Fall

We spend spring in a flurry of ordering seeds, visiting greenhouses, and planting our gardens, then in the fall focus on cleaning up dead or nearly dormant plants, and prepping for the cold winter ahead.

I want to challenge (and even reverse!) this approach: fall is actually a GREAT time to purchase perennials and add them to your landscape, as long as you keep a few things in mind.

Better Prices

One of the perks when you buy in the fall? Lower prices!  You may be able to get new shrubs and trees for a fraction of what you'd pay in the spring.  Most greenhouses and nurseries are trying to clear out their stock and deeply discount.  They may also be willing to bargain!  

Less Selection

Of course, you probably won't have as many plants or varieties available.  This is the end of the season, remember, which means that you're, well, maybe getting the plants nobody else wanted.  

You'll want to make sure that the plants you pick don't show signs of pests or disease. If there IS something wrong, make sure you have the ability to make the plant thrive again! 

Plant Before Deep Freeze, Mulch, and Water Well

Once you've bought your plants and brought them home, plant them as soon as possible before the ground freezes!  The more time you give them, the more likely they are to thrive because their roots will have a chance to grow and establish.

You can help them by deep watering on a regular basis (check the plant's specific requirements), and mulching, which will help prevent evaporation and maintain the warm ground temperature just a little bit longer. 

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Linda KelsoComment