Additional Color for Your Gardens and Great Root Growth
We are often asked “What are the advantages of planting perennials and shrubs in the fall?” Fall is a great time to plant perennials and shrubs due to cooler temperatures which put less stress on the plant and enable root systems to grow faster and larger.
When we plant in the spring, all plants, perennials, annuals, shrubs, etc. are pushed to get a healthy mass of roots established so they can better handle the upcoming summer heat and also be able to produce flowers. Though a perennial may be through blooming when you plant it in the fall, the roots still continue to grow as long as the soil is warm (above 50 degree F) and there’s moisture, either through rainfall or watering.
In our growing zone, Zone 5b to Zone 6, we have an average of two months of growing time from September 1 through October 31 before really hard, killing frosts occur. This is plenty of time for plants to establish roots to be ready to produce flowers the following spring. Watering goes further in the fall to promote root development due to less moisture being needed by the plant to combat heat and drought. Plants themselves will use less water since photosynthesis is slowed by shorter days. Evaporation rates are also slower so watered soil stays moist longer.
Planting in the fall is another way in which we can spend enjoyable time in our gardens, adding new color, trying new plants and setting the stage for next spring. It is fun to see the fall blooming plants that didn’t look like much in the spring now take center stage with vivid colors, texture and foliage.