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What To Plant In The Fall

What To Plant In The Fall With Pollinators In Mind

by Helen
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What Fall Flowers Should I Plant In The Garden?

Many gardeners plan their gardens for blooming in the spring and summer months but should give more thought to flowers that will bloom in the Fall.  It might be something to begin considering for gardeners interested in helping pollinators through the winter months.  In this article, we will give you some ideas of what to plant in the Fall for pollinators.

In the Spring and Summer months, there is an abundance of flowers blooming, and thus pollinators have a plentiful food source.  On the other hand, plant life is becoming less prevalent in the Fall through winter; pollinators find it more challenging to find food.  The problem is that pollinators prepare for winter in the Fall and need more nectar and pollen.  They stockpile food reserves to get them through the cold winter months when sustenance is scarce.  Using Eco Gardening technics benefits us and the planet.

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Fall Native Plants Support Native Pollinators

Native bees, also known as solitary bees, like leafcutter bees, are essential to pollination, especially for some of our summer favorites, like melons, cranberries, blueberries, and sunflowers, all rely on our native pollinators. Bees are considered pollinators, but native pollinators also can include bats, moths, birds, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

Fall Garden
Monarch Butterfly on Purple Cone Flower

When To Plant In Fall Garden

Be mindful that every region has its specific group of plants that will bloom or should be planted in the Fall; therefore, finding out which ones may take some research on the gardener's part.  Luckily, True Leaf Market offers Wildflower Seed Mixes by region, filled with wildflower seeds that pollinators love and other types of Fall blooming and Fall vegetable seeds.  Seeds range from non-GMO, heirloom, organic and more.  For the regional wildflower seed mixes, I am in Zone 8a and will sow my Fall Wildflower Seeds in late October into November.  

For more precise planting timing, find your region's USDA hardiness zone, determine your first fall frost date, also read the particular plant's directions before planting seeds or plants.  Although Fall is the time to sow bulbs for spring blooming, it is also time for sowing your wildflower seeds for Spring through Fall blooms.

what to plant in the fall
Variety Texas Wildflowers

Fall Garden Benefits to Pollinators

These plants in your garden will benefit many pollinator species. In turn, they will pollinate Fall vegetable gardens, flowering plants that require pollination to bloom, or fruit trees like apple trees. Hummingbirds and Monarch Butterflies migrate to the south as far as Mexico, eating as much as possible to fuel them on their journey. 

On the other hand, wild bees, Bumblebees, and honeybees must gather as much pollen and nectar as possible to create food stores within their hives since this is what they will eat during the winter. Many native pollinators depend on Fall flowers and native plants as essential food sources

Fall Blooming Flowers

There are also some perks for the gardener having fall-blooming plants in the garden. For example, a landscape filled with beautiful colorful blooms is much more attractive than a green and brown patch made up of the remnants of dead or dormant stems of Spring and summer blooming plants or vegetable gardens—some favorite fall-blooming flowers like Chrysanthemums, Dahlias, Pansies, Sunflowers, and Zinnias.

Fall Vegetables

You can sow flowers from seed and fall vegetables like broccoli, garlic, cauliflower, turnips, carrots, bush beans,  lettuce, and other vegetables.

humming bird moth phlox garden

Fall Flowers to Plant for Pollinators Including Annual Flowers

Planting these plants doesn't have to be limited to a garden. In addition to flowers, there are some trees, shrubs, and herbs like parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, chives, lavender, cilantro, mint, balm mint, and vegetables that pollinators love. Some of these, especially flowers, can be planted in raised garden planters on wheelsraised garden bedsgarden boxes, hanging baskets, flower beds, containers, or around the yard – place potted plants on your porch. But it doesn't stop there; a few pollinator-friendly vines would be gorgeous climbing up a trellis, pergola, or the side of a structure. The possibilities for creating a captivating pollinator haven in your own yard in autumn are simply endless!

Many annuals work all summer and fall to produce lovely fragrant blooms and bring pollinators to the garden right up until winter's first frost. Pollinator gardens should include a mixture of plant species that bloom throughout the year, from early Spring to late Fall. A best practice is incorporating a generous mix of annual plants, plants that typically bloom for one year, and my favorite perennial plants, which, with cared for properly, come back year after year. 

What's best? You can start them from seed. You can also select plants that vary in color, shape, and height to attract a diverse set of pollinators to your garden. For instance, bees are especially drawn to purple, blue, white, and yellow flowers. Our favorite fall pollinator plants are Joe Pyes, Milkweed, Goldenrod, Aster, Black-Eyed Susan, Cosmos, Borage, Celosia, Bee Balm, and Purple Coneflower. If you allow your mint plant to bloom and it will attract pollinators.

Bumblebee On Rosemary Bush

In Closing, What To Plant In The Fall Garden That Benefits Pollinators

So, the next time you plan out your spring garden, consider planting plants that will give you the gift of blooms in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. Not only will your garden look beautiful for an extended period, but most importantly, it will also benefit many species of pollinators who will add life and many more beautiful blooms, fruits, and vegetables to your garden. Then you can sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee while sitting under your patio umbrella.

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