By the time fall comes, many spring and summer flowers are long gone. Gardens can start to look dry and barren by mid-September. This is why some homeowners choose to plant fall flowers. These tips will help you turn your garden bed into a colorful masterpiece from autumn's beginning to end.
Although some annuals can survive in fall, the short growing season makes planting annuals seem like a waste of time. Why go to the trouble of planting something that will die so quickly? Planting perennial flowers ensures that your plants will return year after year and that your time will not be wasted. When looking for plants, seek out long-blooming fall perennials like black-eyed susans and sedum to keep the fall color coming all autumn long.
Fertilize and Prepare the Soil
Summer flowers suck the nutrients out of the soil and leave fall perennials with little left. Refresh the soil after a long, hot summer by amending it with compost, raw organic material, and organic fertilizer. Avoid powerful synthetic fertilizers at this time of year because they encourage rapid growth but do not improve the state of the soil.
After amending the soil, mix it thoroughly and allow it to sit for a week or two before planting your flowers. Once the flowers are installed, lay down a layer of mulch around the base of the plants, to help lock in moisture. The mulch will decompose over the winter, and eventually will be mixed into the soil as more organic material.
Time Planting Right
Freezing temperatures in Louisville, Kentucky, can happen as early as mid-October, so some plants start to die off early. Typically, the first fall frost occurs around October 25. Plant your fall perennials with as much lead time as possible before the first frost, as frost can kill blossoms and ruin the look of your plants.
Plant several weeks before the first frost date to give them time to become established before they face harsh winter weather.
Encourage Root Growth
Root growth is critical if your plants are going to become established before cold weather sets in. Some gardeners use a root growth hormone to encourage their plants to produce strong roots. To use root growth hormone, mix it with water in the manufacturer's recommended amounts, and then use that water to feed your flowers after planting.
To take this one step further, remove blooms immediately after planting and throughout the fall. Removing blossoms encourages plants to put energy into root production.
Plant Around Bulbs
If you planted bulbs in your garden a while ago, you might still have bulbs in the soil. Bulbs can stay in the ground over winter. However, by autumn it's hard to tell where bulbs are located because the flowers and leaves have long since died. Dig gently to avoid damaging your bulbs with the tip of a spade. When you find a bulb, you may leave it in place and dig elsewhere to install your plant, or you may move the bulb to another location.
Help Plants Become Established
Autumn can be a relatively dry time in Kentucky, so your flowers may need supplemental watering in order to become properly established. Water flowers twice weekly throughout the fall, except on weeks when it rains.
Contact a Landscape Professional
Working with a landscape professional is the best way to ensure that your front yard and backyard will be beautiful this autumn. For more information about how you can plant fall perennials this fall, contact an expert.
At Landscape Solutions, we're happy to answer all your questions about your landscape this fall and into the coming growing season. For more information, call us today.