Garden Matters: Fall gardening bring benefits to spring flowers

Plants in pots about the be put in a garden.
Posted on: September 19, 2017

Kelly Heath
Gemmell’s Garden Centre

It may be the end of summer but it is definitely not the end of gardening. There is still plenty of time to add a few more plants to your garden, divide perennials or plant a tree. Fall is a great season for planting with less heat during the day and cool nights, which allows plants to transplant and set new roots in easily.

Moving and dividing

If you aren’t quite happy with the location of some of your plants in your garden then fall is a perfect time to redesign as everything is still fresh in your mind from summer.

Most woody plants such as trees and shrubs are best moved once their leaves drop, just before freeze up. At this point their roots are less subject to shock, they have stopped growing and they can sit happily into their newly dug home until spring. Always make sure you include some compost and bone meal in the bottom of the hole and water well.

As for perennials, the simple rule of thumb is to move/divide spring and early summer blooming plants in the fall, and in early spring divide and move plants that bloom midsummer through fall. Early morning is always the best time to dig and divide perennials, making sure you protect the roots from drying out in the sun. Digging up the whole clump gently and then assessing where to separate using a sharp spade. Always cut back the foliage to at least 6 inches to reduce the stress on the plant first. Once divided and planted soak thoroughly and use transplant fertilizer to reduce shock.


All fall gardens whether they are being divided or not need to be kept watered. Often it is not as hot as summer and we forget that the soil can still dry out. All plants need to go in the winter stress free especially evergreens and trees, slow long soaking  in the fall helps achieve this goal.

Fall colour

If your garden is lacking in fall flowers and colour then now is the time to browse your local garden centres for ideas of what is in bloom. Some great perennial choices for late summer colour are echinacea, windflowers, black eyed susans, fall phlox, perennial hibiscus and sedum.  For fall colour with shrubs try the classic burning bush, coral berry with its coral pink late season berries, hydrangea paniculata which blooms turn pink as the weather cools, butterfly bush , rose of sharon, or gro-low sumac. Best of all about planting in autumn is there are often be some great end of season sales.


Don’t forget to plant spring blooming bulbs now. Many a disappointed customer will come in and ask us at the garden centre for spring blooming bulbs in April and May.  Daffodil, tulips, alliums, muscari, crocus and even garlic need to be planted in the fall with a period of freezing in order to burst into colour and liven up your garden next spring

Autumn is truly an ideal time to get out and garden, the weather is perfect for working and you can get a head start on next spring’s garden. What are you going to plant this fall?

This article was first published in the September issue of Hometown News. For more articles from our September issue, pick up a print copy at a local retailer or read our digital version.