Perennials forum: Do you have better luck planting in spring or fall?

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Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
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Kabby
Sep 6, 2015 4:00 PM CST
I KNOW in my area that I shouldn't plant past the end of April but sometimes my judgement is poor. It's like, there's an empty hole let's plug it up. Maybe the plant won't know that it's the 3rd week in May. Epic fail.
The perennials I planted in the fall did so much better, they positively thrived. I had little loss.
What is your more successful season?
Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
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NJBob
Sep 6, 2015 9:12 PM CST

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In this area Spring is much better, Fall planting sometimes does not give enough time for root development. It does not happen often but we can get snow and ice by the end of Oct.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
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ge1836
Sep 7, 2015 3:16 AM CST
I agree with NJBob.
More over winter losses when fall planting.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Sep 7, 2015 1:36 PM CST
I will typically move plants in the fall, but divide in the spring. I find it is easier to divide when they are first poking out of the ground and eager to grow. But I do have good luck moving whole plants in the fall.
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Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Cinta
Sep 7, 2015 2:24 PM CST
Spring for me too. My best time is March - April. We may get a cold, snow snap in that time but it does not last long and it is cool enough and enough rain to really get the plant going. I have lost everything I have planted in June or Fall.

Also, in my climate I was told by my local nursery to never plant Oriental Lilies and Asiatic Lilies in the Fall. Those are planted in the Spring.

June it gets to hot and dry and Fall we have too much rain that goes right to freeze then thaw, then freeze then thaw. Certain death for the plants. Thumbs down
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
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chelle
Sep 7, 2015 2:27 PM CST
Anymore I shoot for that first 10 day (at least) forecast of a cool down period, after the dog days of summer seem to be over. My planting out time begins later this week. Hurray! Fun, fun times ahead! But first I'll need to get caught up with the mowing. Rolling my eyes.

It gets too hot too fast (and sometimes too dry) to plant out in springtime here; plus, there are too many annuals that need to go in then. Autumn here is wet and cool, and what sun we do get is gentle; it's the perfect time to grow new roots.
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Name: Bonnie
Chandler, AZ (Zone 9b)
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droughttolerant
Sep 10, 2015 6:32 AM CST
Both for me, but the plants I put out in fall sure do pop in the spring. If I wait one week too long in the spring here to plant, and blink, it's summer. Then I have to baby anything I planted for about six weeks.
Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
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Kabby
Sep 10, 2015 3:31 PM CST
Next week 95% of the plants I ordered for fall will be coming in. It's feeling a tad Fallish here but we won't have freezes until much later into November. Then Indian summer where I'll be in shorts and a T shirt. Rolling my eyes.
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
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flaflwrgrl
Sep 13, 2015 10:51 AM CST
Absolutely fall for me here. I learned real quick that to plant in spring or summer is a death sentence unless you're potting them up & babying them until fall. I plant in ground October & can go right through December depending on the particular plant.
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Sep 24, 2015 3:40 PM CST
Spring is my best time for planting too. By summer, it is just survival of the fittest here, which one can endure the hot dry days. But I do have Fall bloomers, and some succulents do go semi-dormant during summer, so I have to wait for Fall for them to root and wake up properly if am getting some cuttings.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
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ge1836
Sep 27, 2015 8:12 AM CST
I have tried both and believe spring planting is best for z6a.
I tried to take advantage of late summer plant sales but nearly all didnt make it thru the winter.
Spring planting gives me a chance to observe if a plant is in trouble and rectify the situ.
Winter hides a multitude of sins.
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
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pirl
Sep 27, 2015 8:50 AM CST
Ditto to all Jo Ann said.

It's not worth the sales in late summer since most plants just don't thrive.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
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ge1836
Sep 27, 2015 9:26 AM CST
I believe they dont set a large enough rooting befor the days grow short and cold weather sets in.
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
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pirl
Sep 27, 2015 9:28 AM CST
We also don't know how well they were treated before "sale" time.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
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ge1836
Sep 27, 2015 10:28 AM CST
Absolutely Pirl.
I heard of a method to determine if the plant is rooted well enough at the nursery. I give a gentle squeeze and if the pot seems to give a lot it means there arent enough roots to purchase.
I also check the stem and gently tug it,if the plant gives it means it is a new plug.
Also, many nurseries stick plugs in pots and mark them down for end of season sales.
This means the customer is getting a newly plugged pot with a high probability of decline over winter.
Of course this test method isnt possible with online ordering but shopper beware of sales.
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
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pirl
Sep 27, 2015 11:45 AM CST
Good thoughts, Jo Ann. Sometimes I check the bottom of pots for nice roots coming through the holes. Then I feel good but not when they're all bound up inside. Eventually we (hopefully) learn the nurseries we can trust.

I deplore plugs in pots and then they compound it by charging so much. It's not as though they grew them out for a year!
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
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jvdubb
Sep 27, 2015 5:52 PM CST
I have almost no problem planting in the fall. I find it so much easier than planting in the Spring. Less remembering to keep them watered. Don't get me wrong. I plant quite a bit in the spring. Actually, technically, I plant very end of Summer. I try not to plant anything after Sept 15th. But those plants seems to be so much better the next year. Sure I lose one or two. But I've lost more from Spring/Summer planting.

Mums however must be planted in the spring/very early summer.

Just my two cents.
Name: Jeanie
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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foraygardengirl
Sep 28, 2015 3:46 PM CST
I have become a big fan of fall planting. Even in Minnesota I plant in September and even a week or two into October if the weather holds. Some specific plants no...like roses. But otherwise almost anything. I mulch newly planted things pretty well. I have lost virtually no plants over the past several winters. The advantages are that you know where and how big your existing plants are, and you don't have to baby them through hot dry spells in the summer. And fall sales are great...I agree about the plugs but I know where to go for the good stuff. I was out yesterday just planting up a storm. Many perennials actually prefer to be divided in the fall. And starting tonight it will cool down and rain...perfect! I am hoping to get the rest of my ditch lilies dug out and replaced with other perennials this coming weekend.
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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Sep 28, 2015 4:18 PM CST
Many nursery pots if you give it a gentle tug, you can lift the plant out of the pot to see it.
If there are too many roots, I pass, too little-the soil will not allow you to pull it out at all. Either way, I pass on it.
Spring planting here because the failure of an established root system by winter means heaving when we have crazy temp changes.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Oct 3, 2015 7:20 PM CST
If you live in a climate that is plantable into late October, most nurseries have huge end of season sales so they don't have to hold their plants over the winter. I've had touch-n-go luck with these but often at 50-60% off, losing a couple is not traumatic.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

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