Planting tips for your fall garden

Early fall is a great time to plant perennials, trees, and shrubs. The director of Reynolda Gardens shared his selections for vibrant colors and his advice for gardeners in Winston-Salem.


The ‘Autumn Gold’ willowleaf sunflower can keep your garden in bloom.

Photo by WStoday

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Fall planting season is upon us. WStoday met with Jon Roethling, Director of Reynolda Gardens, ahead of the fall plant sale.

He shared gardening knowledge and suggestions for what to plant this season.

Digging it

Most woody plants have two root growth cycles. One happens right now; another happens before plants leaf out in springtime. Roethling says it’s an important reason to get perennials, trees, and shrubs planted soon.

“You’re setting yourself up better to deal with the summer by having that. It’s twice established, so that’s why we always say Fall is for planting,” Roethling told WStoday.

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The “Florida sunshine” illicium is a hardy anise with bright gold foliage.

Photo by WStoday

All you seed is love (+ water)

Winston-Salem is in planting zone 7b. Roethling says our climate isn’t too hot or too cold, allowing gardeners to grow a wide range of plants.

Fall temperatures can still get warm. When that happens, new plantings will require more water. Roethling stresses watching rain totals and giving them a good soak two to three times a week when it’s dry.

Many plants will continue to flower until the first frost. In Winston-Salem, Roethling says that typically happens around Halloween (Oct. 31). However, in recent years, what’s known as a “killing frost” hasn’t happened until December.

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Leafy vegetables already planted in Reynolda Gardens can give you inspiration.

Photo by WStoday

Frond of some fall favorites

Roethling recommends a mixture of non-invasive plants that bring you joy.

Here’s what he recommends this planting this season — and why:

  • The flowers of the “fragrant angel” coneflower smell like milk chocolate.
  • Leaves on kale, mustards, cabbages, and bok choy provide color and texture — and are edible.
  • Huechera leaves are evergreen, so you’ll enjoy its color throughout winter.
  • The Japanese flowering apricot is unique and flowers sometimes as early as January. Its pinkish-white blooms are fragrant.

Gardeners can shop Reynolda Gardens’ fall plant sale on Saturday, Sept. 30 on the front lawn of Reynolda House from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Roethling recommends arriving early.