Is Fall a Great Time to Plant Native Perennial Plants?
Yes, fall is a great time to plant some native perennials. If you are a gardener, you know planting bulbs in the fall is the best time of the year, native perennials are very similar.
As the cooler temperatures of Fall start to arrive and bring us a little relief from the hot days of summer, you might wonder if it’s too late to plant. It’s not. In fact, Fall is the perfect opportunity to plant more native plants. The soil and temperatures of Fall bring great conditions for root establishment such as better vigor and greater weed suppression. Planting in the Fall can also give you a jump on the Spring gardening season. Here are a few tips that will help.
The best time to plant in the Fall season is typically September 1 through the end of October. Avoiding the hot temperatures is good, but getting them in too late will not allow them to root in.
Fall is a great time of the year because you can easily see the holes that need to be filled in your existing native garden. Seeing what is missing in your garden, allows you to plant or replant what is needed to fill the holes. Or it may be that you are beginning a new garden and planting in the fall allows you to install a fresh garden to get an early start on the Spring.
Choose An Area
If you are planting directly into the ground, you will need to choose an area that you want to grow your native plants. You will need to select plants that are appropriate to your selected space (light, soil moisture, height, etc.) Use our website filter tools to help this. If you are a wholesale customer, we can help with ecological design and consultation (often free) to help with your goals.
How to prepare your site organically
After your area is chosen, you must then prepare your site. Here is a handy guide on how to prepare your site organically If you have invasive species problems, again we can help with ecological design and consultation (often free) to help with your goals.
Care will be very minimal for the Fall and Winter. Keep them watered, lightly, in the Fall so they do not dry out. Let them sit over the winter, while occasionally checking on them during thaws. They should not need water in the next growing season unless we experience drought conditions. You do not have to worry about covering them when it snows. Perennials need the snowfall for their growth.
Now you will need to be patient, as the native plants will not start sprouting until Spring. Most full sun prairie plants will bloom this first full growing season. Some woodland plants may take a few years to get to maturity.
What Not to Plant in the Fall
While Whorled Milkweed and Swamp Milkweed are great to plant in the Fall, some milkweeds are not. Some milkweeds do not do well over winter if they’re not large enough to survive and are best planted in the Spring. The following plants are not good for planting in the late Fall: butterfly milkweed, short green milkweed, poke milkweed, prairie milkweed, common milkweed, purple milkweed, and green antelopehorn milkweed. Most other common native plants thrive with fall planting in the Midwest and upper Midwest.