Fall planting guide
Fall planting guide
From big, showy blooms to sweet, ripe fruits, it's almost too easy to make your backyard beautiful and abundant in the spring and summer, but what about during fall? Don't let your gorgeous garden fade to a dull wasteland once the cooler months roll around. The good news is, it doesn't have to be this way!
With a little planning, your fall garden can be just as attractive as it is in peak season. Plus, for those of you who like to grow your own food, there's plenty of opportunity for late-season fruits and veggies. Get some inspiration from our fall planting guide.
While we love the beautiful orange and red hues of the fall landscape, it doesn't mean you can't have other colors in your backyard. You'll find a variety of fall flowers to brighten up the darkening days. These are some of our top choices.
Pansies: Available in a wide range of colors and varieties, you can easily find a pansy that you'll love. Plus, in many areas, pansies planted in the fall will bloom again in the spring.
Aster: With stunning purple, pink, white, or blue flowers, aster is a striking addition to any flowerbed. Grow it as a fall perennial or an annual.
Dianthus: Its beautiful petals, color variety, and sweet scent makes this flower perfect for your fall garden.
Chrysanthemum: The hardy "mum" is a fall classic, but don't underestimate its beauty and vibrancy.
Sweet alyssum: Thanks to its creeping nature, sweet alyssum makes for ideal fall ground cover. In milder areas, it can bloom all the way through the winter, too.
Summer berries might be over and done with, but you can still find a range of fruits to harvest in the fall.
Apples: Ripening from late summer and well into fall, don't overlook the humble apple. While you can start out with sapling, mature apple trees are more affordable than you might think.
Rhubarb: While you'll get your first rhubarb stalks much earlier in the year, this prolific plant thrives in fall, too.
Cranberries: If you live in New England or the Upper Midwest, fall means cranberries!
Pears: Sweet, juicy pears can be harvested through all of fall and sometimes well into the winter, depending on the variety.
It's easy to eat your veggies throughout fall. In early fall you might find that summer crops, such as tomatoes and okra, are still producing, but hardier veggies will see you through fall and into winter.
Rutabaga: It might not be an extremely common choice, but this unassuming root vegetable is delicious mashed, roasted, or simmering in stews.
Arugula: While it's not especially tolerant to frost, it doesn't like hot weather, either, so peppery arugula is ideal for growing in early fall.
Kale: Not only is it nutrient-packed, kale's flavor is actually enhanced by frost, so it's a great fall vegetable for growing in cooler areas.
Beets: Rich and earthy, beets aren't to everyone's favorite, but if you do like them, they're excellent for a fall vegetable garden. Both the leaves and the roots are edible.
Brussels sprouts: Like tiny sweet cabbages, Brussels sprouts are in vogue right now, and extremely tolerant of cool temperatures.
If you're a fan of fall foliage, you might want to plant some trees or shrubs to highlight the breathtaking change of colors. You'll need to choose whether you want to acquire some mature trees or shrubs to plant straight into the earth, or whether you prefer to plant saplings in large containers to limit their size.
Want to get some of the most striking fall colors nature can offer? Try planting red maple or sugar maple, sourwood, sweetgum, fothergilla, oakleaf hydrangea, sassafras, or smooth witherod.
A note on plant hardiness zones
While we talk in general terms about what plants you could grow in the fall, the exact species that will thrive depends on where you live. The United States is split into a wide range of "plant hardiness zones" defined by the USDA. These zones are based on factors such as average temperature, and first and last frost dates.
Essentially, what this means is that you'll be able to grow a wider range of plants in areas of the U.S. that have warmer autumn temperatures. So, while Floridians might be harvesting avocados well into fall, New Yorkers couldn't dream of such a thing. It should be possible to grow the plants listed throughout our article during fall in most parts of the U.S., but do check the hardiness zone where you live to be sure.
The nights might be drawing in and there's a chill in the air, but with some thought and careful planting, you can still enjoy your yard all through fall.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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