When we think of ideal planting times, spring instantly pops to mind first. Although spring is a prime time to plant, fall, specifically October, offers some distinct benefits for planting flowers and plants. For starters, the cooler air in fall is easier on gardeners and plants alike. Secondly, the soil is still warm so plant roots can continue to grow until the ground freezes. In spring, plants can’t start growing until the soil warms up considerably.
If you’re still in need of a reason to plant in fall, consider the number of good weather planting days compared to spring. Rain and other unpredictable weather can delay planting in spring, whereas fall is full of beautifully sunny, cool days and plentiful gentle showers that water plants and fall flowers deeply without flooding.
Another reason, fall is a great time to buy plants. Most gardening centers are trying to get rid of their inventory before winter. Disease and pests also decline during fall’s cooler temperatures. Prime fall planting typically ends about six weeks before the first hard frost.
So, since fall is such a great time to plant, which plants are the best to grow in October? The following list is sure to give you some inspiration.
The Best Plants to Grow in October
Grow in October: Spring-flowering bulbs
Spring-flowering bulbs needs to rest during the winter months in order to bloom properly in the spring. Plant spring-flowering bulbs in the fall for the best display of color when the weather begins to warm.
Grow in October: Pansies
Pansies love the cool weather and warm soil of fall. Plant pansies in the fall and they will continue to grow until the ground freezes. Once it does, cover the plants in a thick layer of mulch to protect them from freeze and thaw cycles. You’ll likely get two growing seasons out of these plants.
Grow in October: Cool Season Vegetables
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cabbage, kale, lettuce, kohlrabi, radishes, spinach, rutabaga and Swiss chard all grow well in the fall. Most of these veggies are planted in August to give them enough time to mature, but some such as spinach, lettuce and other greens can be planted later in the season because they mature quickly. Growing season for these vegetables can be extended by using cold frames to protect plants from frost.
Grow in October: Trees and Shrubs
Fall is the best time to plant trees and shrubs because the warm soil gives their roots enough time to get established before they go into full dormancy. Keep newly planted trees and shrubs watered well until the ground freezes.
As you can see, fall is the perfect time to get many of the plants you love in the ground before winter hits. For many of these plants, the dormant winter months are vital for proper growth and flowering in the spring.