Top Reasons Why Planting Perennial Plants In Fall Is Better Than Spring

“I didn't know you could plant perennials in the fall!”

A common comment we get this time of year!

And, if you're wondering the same thing, I'm here to encourage you to consider fall planting your perennial plants.

Because, YES, you can fall plant perennials!

And because, in some ways, fall planting is generally easier and better for the plants themselves as well as for the gardener than spring planting.

We do it!  It's fun!

Want proof?

Here's a picture of Robert, Ripley Farm Assistant Farm Manager 2018-2021, happily moving some huge Asclepias incarnata aka Rose Milkweed or Swamp Milkweed on October 29 of a previous fall.  :)



Top reasons why fall perennial planting is better than spring

Fall planting comes at a great time in the life cycle of a perennial plant as well as the life cycle of a gardener!

The plants are less needy heading into dormancy.  The gardener is less burdened, too!  


Fall planting is better for the plants because:

  • the plants establish more easily.  Thanks to more available moisture, cooler temperatures, and no new weeds germinating, the plants have it much easier than in the spring.
  • the plants are heading into dormancy.   Like garlic, fall planted perennials can concentrate on growing strong roots to withstand the winter rather than above ground show.
  • the plants have more robust spring growth.  When spring time comes, plants rage up out of the ground without having to be disturbed by spring planting.  This way they get a head start on weeds as well as need less attention to watering from you in spring.


Fall planting is better for the the gardener because:

  • the soil is already workable.  No waiting for wet gardens to dry out like you do in spring.  
  • there are no black flies!!!  Because you know you hate those buggers when you are getting your spring garden going!  (We all do!)
  • there is less watering to do for you.  With the weather cooling down, the sunlight reducing day by day, and the plants heading towards dormancy, there is a lot less need for them to have constant moisture to establish like you need in spring.
  • there is less weeding to do for you.  Because weeds are done for the season (unless they're perennial weeds which you'll want to have cleared out before you plant), you will avoid on going weeding and monitoring.  
  • garden planning is easy!  Evaluating your garden space and figuring out where everything is and where new stuff will go is easier because most of the plants are still visible. Does something need to be divided and/or moved? Do you have empty spaces?  All those questions you ask yourself in the winter can be easily answered in the fall!
  • you have more time.  If you're like me, in the fall you are not as busy with other planting jobs like fruit trees or veggie and annual flower gardens, and you're already cleaning up your gardens anyway!



Tips for success with fall planting of perennial plants

There you have it! There are many reasons why fall planting of perennial plants is a great thing!

And if you decide to go for it, here are a few tips to help you have the most success!

  1. Clear out any perennial weeds, which is easier to do in the fall because you can see them!  This will help your garden beds be cleaner in springtime.
  2. Mulch is often more important for fall planted perennials. Winter MIGHT come hard and fast, and if there is not a lot of snow cover, some newly transplanted plants may be damaged without a nice blanket of shredded leaves or straw.
  3. Label your fall planted perennial plants or make a quick map of where things are so you'll remember when you get back to your garden in the spring.


Have you fall planted perennial plants before?  What tips or reasons do you have for fall planting?

Please comment here and share with all of us!  







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