Fall is a great time of year to plant new trees and perennial shrubs for two big reasons: it gives your plants several months to work on establishing roots and there are all kinds of crazy deals right now as nurseries close out their summer stock. Just be sure to get your new purchases in the ground well in advance of your first hard freeze, when the ground gets hard.


Fall plant splurge on clearance perennials

One of my favorite local nurseries has marked down tons and tons of excellent perennials. Not because they aren’t still “good”, but because they are dying back for winter. I stocked up on drought-tolerant, flowering plants to bring some splashes of color to our front yard. They included Enchinacea, Rudbeckia, and Corelopsis – mostly in warmer shades of golds and rubies to accent the strong purples I already have planted en masse.


That’s a lot of lavender!

I also sprung for some French Lavender – something I have been coveting for a long time. I planted our walkway with lavender several years ago, but it was a tender variety that died during a harsh winter. French “Provence” Lavender is suppose to be hardier and I’m looking forward to the rangy plants spilling along the entrance to our house next summer.


Front yard, October 2013. Almost entirely planted with cuttings from existing or freely acquired plants.

It’s also a great time of year to cut and divide your favorite bulbs and perennials. I spent a couple days doing that last year, which made a massive difference with how full and lush our front yard looked this year. In the backyard, the asters I cut and divided last fall are now bursting out of every corner, which the bees are grateful for at this time of year. It’s a great, frugal way to fill your space while repeating elements throughout your garden to give it continuity.


Fall asters attracting bees. A very easy perennial to dig up, cut a chunk off and replant.

I am getting more ambitious with propagating plants in the fall. Last year I successfully propagated grape vines, currants and flowering quince. This year I might try my hand at some non-edible, but very striking plants like beautyberry which provides a stunning winter-time show.


Beautyberry, which puts on a gorgeous winter show with these inedible purple berries

Are you planning to cut and divide this fall? Did you also wind up with some spontaneous plant splurges? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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Written by Renee Wilkinson