6 Fall Planting Tips: Start Now for Success Year-Round

Who doesn’t love autumn? Even if you’re not a fan of pumpkin spice lattes (or pumpkin spice anything, for that matter!), it’s hard not to fall in love with fall. A little crispness in the air, gentler sun, changing colors, and a true sense of accomplishment with the beautiful abundance your garden and property has yielded this past season…. It’s a great time of year and a great time to plan for next year.

These fall planting tips will set you up for season-after-season success.

6 Fall Planting Tips

Nighttime is coming earlier, and the temperatures certainly provide relief from the summer heat. You could snuggle under a blanket inside… or you could get back out in the yard. While we typically think plants “die” in the fall, that’s not really true. They stop directing energy to leaf production, fruiting, and flowering, and they start focusing on root development in the still-warm soil.

Planting in the fall helps establish strong root systems that will result in healthy growth that wows you in a few short (well… they may feel long) months. To create an outdoor space that will make the neighbors green with envy:

1. Make a Plan

Early- to mid- September can still be quite hot, and it’s not the optimal time to start planting. Instead, use this time to start planning.

  • What plants do you want to introduce (and which grow best in your locale)? How do you envision your space? For virtually any need, there is a plant that loves central Indiana as much as we do. Some ideas to get you started:
  • Aster
  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Sedum
  • Geranium
  • Hosta
  • Daylily
  • Lavender
  • Bee Balm
  • Hollyhock
  • Yarrow
  • Peony
  • Hibiscus
  • Asparagus
  • Columbine

Choosing plants that are native or adaptive to our climate is essential for best results.

  • Where do you want to plant? Look at your space and decide where you want to plant. What’s the sun exposure like in these areas? How are the soil conditions? Do a simple soil test; kits are easily available.
  • What do the plants you want to add/integrate need? When you determine where you want to plant, you can make some informed choices. Some plants do better in partial shade, some need full sun, etc.. Where’s the best placement?

It will also tell you if you need to remediate the soil to ensure new plantings thrive. For example, hostas grow best in loamy soil that is rich in nutrients and has a slightly acidic pH. In this case, you can introduce organic matter (e.g. a commercial additive, well-decomposed compost, mulch, coffee grounds, etc.) to create an optimal environment.

2. Make Some Mud

When you introduce a new plant, dig an appropriately-sized hole and place the plant in. Water a few times before you add a mixture of fresh dirt and compost to fill it in. After your plant is situated, water again. The soil should be packed gently and saturated in order to get rid of air pockets; this will help it survive over the winter and thrive come spring.

You will notice that your plants will begin to die back in late fall. That’s a normal part of their life cycle. Cover them with a thick layer of mulch to insulate them during the cold months.

3. It’s Bulb Time

Those beautiful spring-blooming flowers and plants start in the fall. They need a cool period of dormancy to establish strong roots. Check to make sure you plant bulbs that are appropriate for our climate. Some options:

  • Tulip
  • Crocus
  • Daffodil
  • Iris
  • Bluebell
  • Snowdrop
  • Snowflake
  • Garlic
  • Onion

4. Put In Your Trees and Shrubs

If you want to introduce some larger items to your property, such as trees and shrubs, fall is the perfect time to check this item off your to-do list. You’ll have a better shot at survival and success because we typically see more rain and the temperatures are cooler; this helps the roots stay moist and grow deeper and stronger.

As always, choose trees and shrubs that thrive in our area, such as:

  • Boxwood
  • Holly
  • Juniper
  • Yew
  • Privet
  • Red Oak
  • Autumn Blaze Maple
  • Red Sunset Maple

Water after transplanting and cover with a good layer of mulch for overwintering insulation.

5. Get Some Instant Gratification

Well…relatively instant. You can plant short-season crops that love cool fall weather. Try heirloom lettuces, spinach, rainbow chard, kale, radishes, and green onions. You can still enjoy a few more dishes and salads with produce straight from the garden. 

6. Sip That Pumpkin Spice Latte and Relax

Planning a garden, testing the soil, selecting the right species, strategizing for maximum effect, digging, watering, mulching, hoping… this can be fun for some people, and it can be a great stress relief. It can also be a source of stress for many others. It is time-consuming, and it can be challenging to find the right plants, trees, and shrubs for your particular space and needs.

You can still achieve that envy-inducing landscape; it’s as easy as calling in the pros. Our team can handle every aspect of fall planting so you have optimal results year-round.

Sit back. Enjoy the fall. We’ll do the rest. Contact GreenImage to discuss your vision, goals, and needs.