Seasoned gardeners will know that autumn is the perfect time to plant perennials but if you’re relatively new to gardening you might be wondering why everyone gets so excited about it so we thought we would share a little insight.
It’s been a pretty miserable summer and you would be excused for thinking the planting season is over but think again, autumn really is the new early spring and planting now has lots of benefits for both the garden and your pocket!
The summer months have really warmed up the soil and although the temperature may start to drop it’s the perfect opportunity to plant perennials as their roots love the warmth and moisture the soil still has. If you plant now the roots will continue to grow right up until the ground freezes giving them plenty of time to establish themselves ahead of next spring which means a headstart on growth and a much stronger plant for next season.
Less Stress for your Perennials
As temperatures drop perennials intelligently switch their focus. They feel less stressed as the hot sun gives way to cooler days and they can concentrate their energy on what’s happening underground rather than what’s going on above. When planting, ensure you add a layer of mulch after the first frost as this gives the roots extra protection. Gardeners World offers some examples of what mulch to use here.
Moisture levels in soil tend to stay pretty consistent as the dry summer soil soaks up autumn rain reaching a level that you can then monitor and water as required. Watering should continue until the first frost…
Fewer Weeds and Pests
Cooler temperatures mean fewer weeds which means less weeding for gardeners but it also means less competition for perennials as they can absorb all the moisture and nutrients they need. Come the spring your perennials will be much more robust and better equipped to do battle!
Insects and garden pests drop away too giving your newly planted perennials a chance to establish. If they can start the spring pest free it makes life so much easier for you as a gardener.
Achieve Better Performance
Autumn planting will result in better performance. Some argue that perennials that have started with a cooler growing season perform better in the spring as they have yet to have to negotiate all the stresses of establishing themselves quickly ahead of the summer. If you think about it, it does make sense, warm soil, less weeds, less pests so overall less stress and we all perform better under less stress!
Everyone loves an end-of-season sale, we do and it’s often when we run some of our best offers so do check out our latest offers section on the website. Every now and then we also offer a site-wide discount and we will always shout about these on our Facebook and Instagram pages, so why not give us a follow so you don’t miss out?
Autumn brings with it plenty of garden jobs to get done too, Here’s a few suggestions from us.
Don’t forget it’s not only planting that’s important in autumn you need to also consider lawn care. Turf expert Nigel Downs shares his top tips for Autumn lawn care covering everything from Scarification, Aeration, Top Dressing and Overseeding here.
Cut Back Perennials
If your perennials have finished flowering for this year it’s a good idea to cut them back so they can concentrate their energy and prepare for next year. That said, you might want to leave some as food for wildlife, who could possibly take away the landing pad offered by everyone’s favourite Echinacea. The bees just love it!
Leaves are an obvious one but it’s worth considering a balance. In some areas, yes, but where you have more vigorous plants, it is worth leaving them and letting them natural-mulch, whilst also protecting plants and keeping the weeds down!
We get asked lots of questions so here are a few questions and answers which we hope you find useful:
Q. What bedding plants can you plant in September?
A. Cyclamen are a good choice, full of colour and interest. Heathers, Violas and Pansies are a few others to consider too.
Q. Can you divide perennials in the autumn?
A. The simple answer is yes. It’s an ideal time, you can also do it in spring.
Q. What can I plant for winter colour?
A. Heuchera provide all year round colour so are a great option. We also grow the Helleborus Gold Collection® in-house at our Herefordshire nursery and these are perfect for giving your garden a little colour through the autumn and winter.
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