Fall Planting Guide & Suggested Specimens

Planting in the fall offers many benefits for your new shrubs and trees.

Though spring is also a recommended planting season, your plants have to work a lot harder to establish a healthy root system for the upcoming summer. Plants have a difficult time thriving in the summer heat and drought and require more attention than usual even when they are one of the Southern Living Plant Collection’s hardy varieties.

Fall is perfect for planting, since the weather is cooler, the sun is lower, and the days are shorter. Plus, planting in fall gives shrubs and trees some time to develop before entering winter dormancy.

As you add to your landscape in fall, it is important to plan ahead for the colder temperatures that winter will bring. 

Here is an easy fall planting guide to ensure a successful planting season:

1. Plant new installations (or move existing ones) approximately 4 weeks before first frost. This gives plants and their roots sufficient time to settle into their new location before freezing weather strikes and hibernation takes over.

2. When planting shrubs and trees, the hole needs to be no deeper than the root ball and two times as wide.

3. If you choose to use peat moss when planting shrubs, mix one part peat moss to every two parts soil.Add the plant to the hole and fill in with the soil and peat moss mixture (the soil line should just cover the root ball).

4. Soak the entire planting area with water.This will ensure water reaches every root.

5. Check the soil moisture often and water accordingly.This is important with any newly planted shrub or tree.

6. Add a 1-2 inch layer of mulch. And don't let the mulch touch the trunk. 

7. Choose plants that meet specific needs in your landscape. Every landscape is different. The Southern Living Plant Collection offers a wide selection of varieties that cover many landscape and garden needs.

Here are some recommendations based on specific plant characteristics.

Plants we recommend for fall planting:  All of the recommended shrubs are evergreen and will hold their color and characteristics throughout the year.

Flowers and Scents:

Jubilation™ Gardenia Emerald Snow® Loropetalum Mountain Snow™ Pieris

Winter Berries:

Oakland™ Holly Robin™ Holly

Color Changing Foliage:

Bronze Beauty™ Cleyera LeAnn™ Cleyera Obsession™ Nandina
Flirt™ Nandina Blush™ Pink Nandina Robin™ Holly

Big and Bold:

Bigfoot™ Cleyera Bronze Beauty™ Cleyera LeAnn™ Cleyera
Oakland™ Holly Robin™ Holly  

Compact Impact:

Purple Diamond® Loropetalum Purple Pixie® Loropetalum Yewtopia® Plum Yew
Obsession™ Nandina Flirt™ Nandina Blush™ Pink Nandina