Fall Container Garden Guide: September
Power-Ups for this month:
If you’ve never done any fall gardening, this is a good time to do a little planning. Check out our garden prep series for easy steps to plan and budget your ideal plantscape. 5 Steps to Simplify your Garden Prep.
Know your zone. In the US check the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. It will guide you when purchasing plant material.
Fall vegetable crops.
If you live in an area that is frost-free until late October, plant fall vegetable crops from seed. Cool season crop varieties include: lettuces, leafy greens (kale, spinach, asian greens, and arugula), onions, and root vegetables like carrots, beets, and radishes. Search for varieties that do well in containers. Check out our eco-friendly seed starting kits here: hortikplants.com/shop. You can also find live transplants in local nurseries this time of year. Shop from local nurseries instead of big-box stores. This will help ensure you have varieties that are tailored to your local environment. Big-box stores plan on a national or perhaps a multi-state, regional scale. Your local nursery will know the climate and pest conditions affecting your community. They tailor their product offerings for specific local conditions. The more seasonal the crop the more important it is to select locally grown transplants.
Varieties: Amaryllis, Crocus,Daffodil, Freesia, Hyacinth, Iris, Paperwhite, Snowdrop
I live in Washington, DC. Home of the spectacular cherry blossom display on the National Mall.
In the spring, we live excited but afraid to see these beloved trees. We want to see them, but we are afraid they will start to bloom before the last freeze hits our area. Two weeks of surprisingly warm weather following weeks of winter can trigger or force blooming.
This would be fine, except that often, some of our coldest weather comes at the end of March or even in early April. In fact, in 2017, an April cold snap killed half of the city's cherry blossoms. This is nerve-wracking for us and dangerous for the Cherry Blossoms. However, it is a concept gardeners can use in their favor to get colorful flowers for the holidays.
Buy flower bulbs now and force in December for colorful blooms at Christmas. To force, keep your bulbs in a cool dark location for the next few months. When shoots start to emerge, move the containers to a warm, bright room. This will send a signal to the plants that it's time to bloom. These colorful flowers will make great host and hostess gifts as you make the rounds of holiday parties.
Varieties: Alliums, Crocus, Cyclamen, Daffodils, Dutch Iris, Grape Hyacinth, Hyacinths, Poppy Anemone, Snowdrops, Spanish Bells, Tulips (just to name a few!)
These are some of the same varieties suggested for forcing but they can also bloom naturally. You can keep these outdoors in containers over the fall and winter and they will bloom in the spring. Keep an eye out for cold snaps though and protect early blooms as needed.
Varieties: Aster, Clematis, Coral Bells, Dianthus (Pinks), Myosotis, Scabiosa (Pincushion Flower), Sedum, Yarrow, and many more!
In addition to the annual bulbs listed above, start shopping now for perennial flowers. Perennial plants live for several years and flower every year so they are a great investment. Also, many varieties will grow well in containers and even indoors near a sunny window. Check out this article by the University of Georgia's agricultural extension office for a deep dive on planting perennials in containers. They also have an extensive list of perennials that will thrive in containers.
That's it for this month. And no need to remember all of that. Download the FREE Chart for easy reference: Effortless September Container Gardening
Founder, Hortiki Plants
P.S. Want to create a fabulous year-round plantscape but not yet ready to dive in? Follow the Live Your Best Plant Life Series to discover what’s holding you back.