Back to Tips & Tricks

5 Perennials to Plant in the Fall for Spring Color

3 min read | Oct 5, 2023 | General  Plants  Yard & Garden 

Autumn can be an excellent time to plant perennials in the garden. Planting in the fall can give perennials plants a head start for root development, allowing them to explode with color in the spring.

  1. Cooler Temperatures: During the fall, the weather is typically cooler, which is less stressful for plants. Cooler temperatures reduce the risk of heat stress and water loss, allowing newly planted perennials to establish their root systems without the intense heat of summer.
  2. Soil Warmth: In many areas, the soil retains warmth from the summer months even as the air temperature cools. This warmth encourages root growth, helping perennials establish themselves before winter.
  3. Adequate Moisture: Autumn often brings more consistent rainfall, and the cooler temperatures reduce the rate of evaporation, which means less watering may be required compared to planting in the summer. However, it’s still important to monitor soil moisture and water as needed.
  4. Reduced Competition: In the fall, many annual plants are reaching the end of their life cycles, so there is less competition for space, sunlight, and nutrients in the garden. This can give your newly planted perennials a better chance to thrive.
  5. Spring Bloom: Some perennials planted in the fall may surprise you with early blooms the following spring, as their root systems have had time to establish over the winter.

Here are a five of our favorite perennials plants to add to the garden this fall:

Ajuga (Bugleweed)

Ajuga is a decorative spreading groundcover for shade to part sun. It blooms in spring and early summer with little flower spikes in various shades of purple or blue.

Bergenia (Pigsqueak)

Bergenia is a groundcover that blooms in early spring. It can grow in part shade
to part sun. Pink flowers open atop stems that pop up about 8 to 10 inches.

Creeping Phlox

A huge favorite among spring bloomers, creeping phlox grows in full sun and provides a literal carpet of color from mid to late spring. The flowers come in shades of white, pink, red and lavender and many combinations thereof.

Vinca minor (Periwinkle)

This spreading vine can thrive in any light from shade to full sun. Adorable purple flowers appear amongst the vines in spring.

Pulmonaria (Lungwort)

Pulmonaria is a full to part shade spreading groundcover with stunning silver-spotted foliage. Depending on the variety, it blooms with pink, purple or blue flowers in early spring.

All of these perennial beauties are deer and rabbit resistant, and many of them are evergreen as well!

When planting in the fall, it’s important to be mindful of the first frost date in your region. Planting too close to the first frost can be risky, as it may not give the perennials enough time to establish roots before winter. The average first frost in our area is not until late October to early November.

Proper soil preparation is also essential. Provide adequate mulch for insulation, and water your newly planted perennials as needed throughout the fall to ensure their successful establishment.