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What To Plant in Autumn

September 21, 2000|ROBERT SMAUS | TIMES GARDEN EDITOR

The fall planting season begins in mid-October and lasts well into winter, with January usually being the last good cool-season planting month.

SPRING-FLOWERING BULBS

Although a few bulbs are planted in spring for summer bloom, most kinds are planted now.

These must be purchased soon and chilled in the refrigerator crisper for six to eight weeks before planting:

Hyacinth

Spring-blooming crocus

Tulips

These can be planted right away:

Amaryllis

Anemone

Babiana

Brodiaea

Calla lily

Crocosmia

Cyclamen

Daffodil

Dutch iris

Freesia

Homeria

Ipheion

Ixia

Lachenalia

Leucojum

Muscari

Ornithogalum

Oxalis

Ranunculus

Scilla

Sparaxis

Species tulip

Watsonia

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BEDDING PLANTS

Cool-season kinds to plant between now and December, for winter and spring bloom:

Bells of Ireland

Calendula

Candytuft

Canterbury Bell

Chrysanthemum mulicaule

Chrysanthemum paludosum

Cineraria

Columbine

Cyclamen

Delphinium

Dusty Miller

English daisy

Forget-me-not

Foxglove

Hollyhock

Iceland poppy

Nicotiana

Pansy and viola

Phlox

Primrose

Ranunculus

Blue bedding salvia

Schizanthus

Snapdragon

Stock

Sweet pea

Sweet William

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Although available as plants, these are extra-easy to start from seed sown on prepared ground, from October through January:

Annual African daisy

Alyssum

Baby-blue-eyes

California poppy

Clarkia and godetia

Larkspur

Wildflowers

Linaria

Virginia stock

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PERENNIALS

Almost all kinds can be planted in autumn, but because they are mostly dormant now, they may be hard to find at nurseries. But planted now, they will grow roots through winter and explode with above-ground growth in early spring.

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LAWNS

October and early November are the best times to plant cool-season lawn such as fescue, especially from seed. Sow seed of annual rye grass on top of browning warm-season lawns such as Bermuda grass, for winter green.

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GROUND COVERS, SHRUBS AND TREES

Now through January is the best time to plant all but the most tender landscape plants. It's a golden opportunity. You can plant in other seasons, but the plants are more difficult to keep watered, so failure is more likely.

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EDIBLES

Plant cool-season crops between now and early March. Some are best transplanted into the garden as young plants:

Artichoke

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Celery

Rhubarb

These edibles do best started from seed sown directly in garden beds:

Beet

Broccoli raab

Carrot

Endive

Fava bean

Kale

Kohlrabi

Head and leaf lettuce

Leek

Mesclun mixes

Pea

Radish

Spinach

Swiss chard

Turnip

A few to grow from bulbs, or "sets":

Onion

Garlic

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Things not to plant now:

Wait until January and early February to plant roses and deciduous fruit trees such as apples and peaches. They can be planted now but are much less expensive and easier to plant in midwinter, when they are sold bare root (dormant, with no soil around their roots).

Tropicals and some subtropicals--such as citrus and hibiscus--do better planted in spring, when the weather is rapidly warming. Young plants of tender subtropicals are also more susceptible to even light frost, another reason to wait until all that is past.

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