Plant Now, Save Later


Why is fall a good time to plant?

When the warm weather arrives, many people get excited about planting a new garden or refresh their existing garden.  Actually, the right time to think about spring gardens is the fall.

As the days begin to get cooler, the soil temperature is still warm (and certainly warmer than in the spring).  Putting your plants in the ground now will allow your plants to develop healthy root systems.  During the fall and winter, they can acclimate and take advantage of the seasonal rains.  By spring, their roots are established and ready for the vigorous spring growth period.

Plants planted in the spring are often stressed by their transplant and then by the dry, hot weather of the summer.  Fall planting gives your plants a better chance of success.

When should I plant?

It depends on where you live, but generally early October to mid-December are fall planting times.

Fall Weed Control = Few Spring Weeds

When you plant in the fall, the growing season is coming to an end—for your plants AND for potential weeds.  If you take the time in the fall to clear weed seed from your soil, you’ll have fewer weeds to fight next spring and summer.

What to plant?

This will depend on your climate.  A good resource is the Sunset Plant Finder which will help you determine your climate zone and help you pick appropriate plants.

Of course, fall is when you plant spring-blooming bulbs.  But for many parts of California, fall is also a good time to plant spring-blooming perennials.

Other reasons the fall is a great time to plant:

–  The weather is more even and yields more “good” days to work outside.

–  Fall is the best time to choose trees and shrubs with fall color—you can see the plant as it will look in your yard.

–  The prices are right—you can take advantage of the fall sales most nurseries and home garden centers offer.

–  If you typically plant fall bulbs, you’re out in the garden anyway.

–  You’ll have one less task to do next spring!

Other benefits of gardening in the fall:

Fall is a great time to do a landscape clean up and evaluate your garden.  Deadhead, mulch, prune, pull weeds and divide plants (as needed).  All of this work will pay off come spring.  Take note of what plants seemed happy and what plants may have struggled.  This information will help you pick plants and plan next year’s garden.

Learn more:

Sunset’s Fall Planting Guide

Sunset Western Garden Collection’s Plant Collection and Gardening Tips