As summer's sizzle cools down, the enchanting season of fall planting begins. This is the only time of year when Mother Nature helps us gardeners by giving us ideal conditions. Autumn isn’t just good for watching the colors change on the leaves. Cool temperatures, moisture in the soil, and reduced pest drama help plants establish their roots and get a head start before spring. In this guide we will highlight the benefits of planting in the fall, which plants are perfect to plant, and some planting tips from our nursery experts.

Autumn Planting – Why it Should be the Favorite Season of Gardeners Everywhere

Fall is an ideal season for planting perennials, shrubs, and trees due to several favorable factors:

  • Cooler Temperatures: Fall brings milder temperatures, reducing the stress on newly planted vegetation. Cooler air also means less evaporation and stress on plants' water requirements.
  • Moist Soil: Fall typically sees increased rainfall, creating moist soil conditions that promote root establishment and growth.
  • Less Heat Stress: Young plants are less susceptible to heat stress in the fall, allowing them to focus on root development before the onset of winter.
  • Reduced Pest and Disease Pressure: Many pests and diseases are less active in the fall, minimizing the risk of infestations and infections.
  • Spring Readiness: Fall planting gives plants a head start in establishing their root systems, enabling them to take full advantage of spring's abundant sunlight and warmth.

Plant these in Autumn for Fall Interest & Color


Grasses – Ornamental grasses shine this time of year. The varieties: Bluestem, Flame, Chameleon, and are great options for fall planting!

Coneflowers – These bloom well into autumn, so enjoy some late-season pops of color with these beauties.

Sedums – Particularly the upright varieties like Autumn Fire, Autumn Joy, and Back in Black put on a great show in fall.

Purple Dome Aster – This is a blooming fall favorite. It puts on a show like no other, with blossoms lasting late into fall.

Threadleaf Bluestar Amsonia – The stunning yellow fall color on this perennial will leave you in awe. Attracts pollinators, but is also deer resistant.


Witch Hazel – Gorgeous golden yellow leaves in the fall, which drop off and reveal bright yellow, fragrant, star-shaped petals.

Dwarf Burning Bush – With stunning bright red fall color, this shrub is a compact version of the true Burning Bush, but it packs a vibrant punch for its smaller size.

American Cranberrybush Viburnum – This viburnum has forest green foliage that changes to maroon in autumn. It also features clusters of red fruit that are striking against a winter landscape. It’s a native shrub that’s a great food source for local birds!

Ninebark – Common Ninebark has small clusters of white flowers in summer, which are followed by reddish seed pods. Leaves turn a vibrant orange in fall and once the shrub is mature the bark will peel slightly, leaving reddish brown hues.

Spirea Goldflame – As the name suggests, Goldflame turns golden-yellow foliage in the spring, which matures to light green in summer. In autumn, the colors change to coppery-orange. Goldflame has pink blooms that rebloom if deadheaded.


Fall Fiesta Maple – The fall color standard of maples. Stunning red, orange, and yellow leaves. Picture perfect.

Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry – A lot is going on with this Amelanchier, including edible purplish fruit in June, and leaves that turn red-orange in autumn. Bird-watchers rejoice, this tree attracts feathered friends aplenty!

Ginkgo – These trees are ancient! They’ve out-evolved diseases and pests and the unique fan-shaped leaves turn a bright golden color in fall.

Quaking Aspen – With a white trunk, the Aspen offers wonderfully contrasting colors. Bright green foliage in summer, changing to bright golden-yellow in autumn. If you’re near one while there’s a breeze, listen to the leaves tremble in the wind.

Fall Planting Tips:

  • Choose Healthy Plants: Perennials, shrubs, and trees should have healthy leaves, stems, and roots. If you’re in the Oregon or Oshkosh areas in Wisconsin, you can stop by one of our Garden Centers to see plant stock in person.
  • Timing: Plant perennials, shrubs, and trees early in the fall, giving them ample time to establish roots before the ground freezes.
  • Watering: Water thoroughly after planting to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets around the roots. Keep the soil consistently moist until the ground freezes.
  • Mulch, mulch, mulch: Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and reduce weed growth. Leave a gap around the stem or trunk to prevent moisture-related issues. For more information, check out our Mulching Guide.
  • Protection: If planting late in the fall or an area with harsh winters, consider providing winter protection such as burlap wraps or windbreaks.
  • Fertilization: Avoid fertilizing newly planted perennials, shrubs, and trees in the fall. Allow them to establish roots before introducing additional nutrients.
  • Fall Clean-Up: After the first frost, remove any diseased or pest-infested plant material from the garden to prevent overwintering issues.

Take advantage of the fall planting season by following these tips and selecting appropriate plant varieties to establish a thriving garden of perennials, shrubs, and trees that will flourish come spring.

Looking for additional gardening tips and guides? Check out our Green Tips page, chock full of advice straight from our nursery: