Buyer Beware! Watch out for fall discount plants at nurseries or garden stores. When you select plants on the leftover table at nurseries you are running some risks. The top of the pot will be chock full of weed seeds and the roots may well harbor larvae of undesirables such as my favorite foe, the root weevil. Here are some tips to help if you decide to buy and plant in the late fall or early winter.
Garden Tip #1: Successful Planting in Late Fall
If it is a small deciduous shrub or perennial, (leaves fall off for winter), I remove the top 2″ of soil at a minimum. At the maximum, I gently rinse the whole root ball to remove most of the soil. Squash any cream colored larvae you find and toss the wet potting soil/mud into the garbage. Most of us do not get our compost hot enough to kill weed seeds and eggs of root weevil.
I then re-plant in a bigger pot with clean potting soil, or I plant it in its long term spot. Too much work? Don’t buy off the discount table.
Garden Tip #2: What Not to Buy in the Late Fall
After trial and error I’ve learned never to buy or plant these specimens in the late fall or early winter. True grit soil prep allows a person to plant nearly everything in the winter and the fall but I still hesitate to plant these specimens:
- Salvia, Hummingbird mints (agastache) Spanish Lavenders
- Most Phormiums
- Expensive fancy Echinaceas
- Expensive Clematis Montana
Garden Tip #3: What to Plant in the Late Fall
Most plants are game for being planted this time of year. Heathers and various evergreens prefer fall and winter over late spring or early summer planting.