Fall usually doesn’t arrive for gardeners until the middle of October at the earliest. And, most residents can remember plenty of toasty Halloweens, thanks to hot Santa Ana winds. It’s prime planting season, so get those annuals, vegetables and Mediterranean shrubs in the ground.
From mid-October to the end of January is our big planting season. That’s when the weather has cooled enough to make life less stressful for new plants. Plants need time to grow roots so they can find necessary moisture and nutrients and not be totally dependent on the gardener’s erratic irrigation and fertilizing. With the sun low in the sky, moisture doesn’t transpire as quickly from leaves or evaporate from the ground; when you do water a new plant, it lasts. Santa Ana winds, however, can quickly dry out new plantings.
What to Plant
Just about everything in the landscape benefits from fall planting, except for subtropical and tropical plants, roses, and deciduous fruit trees: trees, shrubs and ground covers, especially those from similar Mediterranean climates. And California natives, which are often difficult to get going at any other time of the year, are a natural for fall planting. Some annual flowers and vegetables grow only in late fall, winter and early spring, so they need to be planted sometime soon.
Plant bulbs - Planning is an important part of preparing your garden for the next growing season. You should plant bulbs of spring-flowering plants in October, because the soil is still warm and they will get enough moisture from the rains. Pro tip: A drill attachment makes this way easier.
Plant hardy veggies - Another variety to focus on: vegetables. When winter comes, you’ll be glad you planted carrots, broccoli, onions, peas, spinach and more to make delicious soups
Things to keep in mind:
- Landscape designers/architects are invaluable resources for eye-catching, visually-pleasing design that enhances curb appeal for your home.
- Remember to include plants of varying heights to create visual intrigue.
- Include plants that attract and support pollinators: bees, butterflies & hummingbirds.
- Always check the water needed for each plant. Zoning is crucial to efficiently use an existing irrigation system.
- Remember fire season is now year round so develop your plant list with those that offer the best defensible space as well as enhancing aesthetic appeal.