© 2023
NPR for Northern Colorado
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Fall is a Great Time for Planting

Google Images
Fall is a good time to plant some perennials

Perennials and woody plants planted between late August and the end of October hit the ground growing the next spring.  It’s also a good time to get plants on sale.

The timing depends on where you live.  Obviously winter comes to the mountains earlier.  Higher elevation gardeners should get new plants in by the end of September or the first of October.  New plantings need a few weeks to settle in before real cold temperatures arrive. 

Low landers can plant a few weeks longer.  Usually along the plains, plantings are successful until Halloween or even a little later.  The plains usually get a blast of winter in late September and then gorgeous autumn sets in.  Plantings later in the fall do well with extra care but earlier are better.

Fall is also a good time to get great deals.  Garden centers have inventory reduction sales.  Take advantage of the sales to get more plants and spend less.  Shop around to find the best quality for the best deal. 

Fall planting depends on the type of plant.  Generally, evergreens and broad-leaved plants don’t like to be fall planted.  Avoid fall planting junipers, holly and most broadleaved plants.  These plants need a full growing season to get a root under them to survive our dry, windy winters. 

Deciduous plants, most perennials and spruce are the things to get in the ground.  Pick out healthy plants.  Check the root system to be sure the plant isn’t root bound.  Pull the containers off at the nursery.  If the root ball is solid with swirling roots, then don’t get it.  Container plants should have enough roots to hold the soil together. 

New plantings will need extra water.  But because fall is cooler both day and night the plantings won’t need as much water as they would in the heat of the summer.  Once plants loose their leaves they only need to be kept moist.  A soaking once every week or ten days will do.

The most critical watering is just before the soil freezes.  That’s usually around Halloween in the high country and between Thanksgiving and the first day of winter in the low lands.  If the ground isn’t frozen, regular winter watering will give new plantings a boost next spring.


Tom has been offering garden advice on KUNC for almost two decades. During that time he has been the wholesale sales manager at Ft. Collins Nursery, Inc. Since January of 2005 he has been the owner and operator of Throgmorton Plant Management, LLC., a landscape installation and maintenance company as well as a horticultural consulting firm. He lives in northern Ft. Collins with his wife and two kids.
Related Content