Why sow flowers in the fall?
You can sow both perennial, and many annual flowers in the fall. Some perennials germinate best when stratified (exposed to a cold, moist period), which will naturally occur with fall sowing. Some annual flower seeds can survive a cold, moist winter, and germinate quickly in the spring for earlier flowers than if started indoors in spring. Whichever you sow this fall, both lead to hassle-free color come next growing season.
4 Reasons to Sow Perennials in the Fall
1. Hassle-free stratification: Some perennials’ seeds need stratification—periods of cold temperatures combined with moisture (like that from snow and rain during winter) to break a natural dormancy, allowing them to germinate. Take advantage of nature’s process by sowing in the fall, or mimic winter conditions by using your refrigerator (read more about this method).
2. Earlier blooms and larger plants: Perennials live for more than two years, and can take several years to get to their mature size. By sowing perennial seeds in the fall, plants will be more mature the following year than if spring sown, allowing many types to flower their first growing season.
3. Care-free moisture management: Most regions have winter rain and/or snow, providing essential moisture without you lifting a finger. Cool weather also reduces the need to water as frequently, when rain and/or snow is not adequate.
4. Control weeds with ease: Cool weather slows weed germination and growth, making your nicely prepped and sown garden area easier to maintain in the upcoming season.
Tips for perennial success:
Below are perennial and biennial varieties that benefit either from stratification, or fall sowing after a hard freeze. Sow other perennials 8 to 10 weeks before your average last spring frost.
Allium Nodding Onion
Butterfly Common Milkweed
Butterfly Flower Irresistible Blend
Butterfly Flower Milkweed Organic
Butterfly Flower Milkweed
Butterfly Flower Showy Milkweed
Columbine McKana Giants
Columbine Rocky Mountain Blue
Echinacea Yellow Coneflower
Flower Mix Prairie Splendor
Lavender English Tall
Lavender Hidcote Dwarf
Lavender Provence Blue
Penstemon Rocky Mountain Blue
Grass Little Bluestem
Viola King Henry
3 Reasons to Sow Annuals in the Fall
1. Earlier blooms: Select annuals, when fall sown, will emerge as soon as Mother Nature cooperates, allowing the plants to germinate and bloom earlier than spring-sown annuals.
2. Robust plants: Direct sowing, when possible, results in the most robust plants. When seeds are started indoors they are bit spoiled by even, moderate temperatures, and refined growing medium. Transplanting usually results in some transplant shock, while new root growth navigates native soil and plants get used to temperature swings in their new home.
3. Ease: Skip the indoor lighting, potting, and care that come from growing transplants by direct sowing. Some gardeners find they have more time in the fall, rather than spring, so sow a little extra to enjoy next year.
Tips for annual success:
Check out all of our annuals that you can successfully sow in the fall!