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What Should I Plant in Autumn?

Last Updated Apr 19, 2017 · Written by Rob Schneider

"What should I plant in autumn?" Autumn is a great month for planting. You can sow seeds for Spring flowers; plant winter veggies; and make a beautiful winter garden. The autumn months are perfect for ensuring your garden looks good in winter and is ready for spring and summer.

  1. Sowing Flower Seeds in Autumn  

  2. Your Autumn and Winter Veggie Garden

  3. More Autumn Gardening Tips

Sowing Flower Seeds in Autumn

autumn and winter vegetables

Autumn is a good season for sowing flower seeds. If you live in a colder climate, you'll need to make sure they aren't affected by frost. In a temperate or subtropical climate, you just need to keep an eye on them and watch them flourish. You'll be glad you sowed your seeds in autumn when they flower in spring and summer. You can grow dozens of varieties of flowers in autumn. Some good ones to think about include:


  • Alyssum produces beautiful white flowers. It is a spreading flower that grows to a height of about 120mm. You can plant alyssum in spring and autumn in a warm climate.

  • Candytuft is another white flower that attracts bees and butterflies to your garden..

  • Linaria will give you a riot of colour in summer. You can sow the seeds in autumn or early winter in temperate regions.

  • Poppies do well if you sow them in autumn. Try Flanders for a red bouquet or Shirley for flower beds and borders. If you live in a warm climate, you can sow the seeds in early winter.

  • Marigolds produce brilliant orange flowers. They're perfect as a border plant, garden edges or containers. You can sow marigolds in spring, early summer or autumn.

  • French petite marigolds are another type of marigold you can sow in autumn. As the name implies, French petite marigolds produce smaller flowers.

  • Lobelia will give your garden blue flowers. Lobelia spreads out over a wide area. It grows best in temperate or warmer climates. Wait until spring if you live in a cooler climate.

  • Snapdragon is a perennial flower. Sow seeds in spring, summer or autumn. You can grow snapdragons in pots or as a border or bed flower.

  • Sweetpea is a climber you can sow in summer or autumn in warmer climates. Wait until spring if you live in a cool climate.

  • Daisies can be sown in autumn in temperate and warmer climates.

  • Pansies come in a variety of colours. Find a spot where you get full sun and you will get more flowers. They also grow in partial shade, but you won't get as many flowers.

This is just a small sampling of the flowers you can sow from seed in autumn. Your local nursery can help you choose the best seeds for planting in autumn in your climate.

Your Autumn and Winter Veggie Garden

You don't need to wait until spring to plant veggies. Many varieties grow well in autumn and winter and can give you a bumper crop of fresh home-grown veggies. Some leafy vegetables grow best in autumn and winter and you can also grow a variety of root vegetables. Herbs also do well in autumn.

planting veggies in autumn

Kale is known as a "super food" because it is rich in iron and vitamins. Autumn is the perfect time to grow this cool season vegetable. Grow kale in your veggie garden or mix it in with your flowers and other plants. It is a beautiful plant and you can trim it as you need it.

Another vitamin-rich leafy vegetable is mustard greens. Mustard greens do best when you plant them in autumn. During the hot summer months, they can be prone to heat stress and can produce too many seeds.

The list of root vegetables you can grow in autumn is a long one. Three root veggies that love the cooler months are beetroot, carrots and radishes.

Some other veggies that grow well in autumn and winter include:

  • Bok Choy

  • Broccoli

  • Cabbage

  • Cauliflower

  • Garlic

  • Shallots

  • Turnips

Herbs grow perennially and are relatively easy to grow. If you live in a cooler climate, you might want to grow your herbs indoors. Read Creating an Indoor Herb Garden for some tips. If you live in a temperate climate, you can grow herbs outdoors all year 'round and many even grow well in cooler climates. Grow them in pots or mix them in with your other plants.

Snails and slugs love moist conditions, so keep an eye out for them over the autumn and winter months. You can hand remove them or read Garden Pests: How to Spot and Control for other tips on controlling pests in your veggie garden.

When the rains come, nutrients will be leached out of the soil. To make sure your veggies are healthy and thrive, add compost and add potash to the soil to help with root development. Also make sure your soil is well-drained.

More Autumn Gardening Tips

March and early April are important gardening months. While it's true your garden will become more dormant over winter, you don't want to neglect it.

Winter rains can be tough on gardens. They leach nutrients out of the soil, so it's important to add controlled release plant fertilisers in autumn. They will slowly release fertiliser and keep your garden healthy through the winter months.

Autumn is also a great time to prepare your garden for planting bulbs in spring. Why should you start early? It's because you want your soil to be in optimum condition when you  plant bulbs. Bulbs need loose, rich soil to thrive. If you add compost, manure or a specially prepared bulb fertiliser to the soil in autumn, your soil will be ready for the spring bulb planting season.

winter vegetables and plants

We all see lawns that thrive in the spring and summer, but don't look good in winter. If you have a lawn, autumn is the time to prepare your lawn for winter. One of the reasons lawns don't thrive in winter is because the soil becomes compacted and they literally can't breathe. Aerate your lawn in autumn and it will thrive through winter.

If you have a large lawn, you might want to hire a lawn mowing service to do the job. They will have an aerator that can do the job quickly. If you have a smaller lawn, you can aerate it yourself. Read How to Aerate Your Lawn for tips on how to do it.

If there are dead patches in your lawn, add seed to them and they will rejuvenate. You also want to add a slow-release fertiliser to your lawn for the same reason you add it to your garden Winter rains will leach the soil. A slow-release fertiliser will help keep your lawn green and healthy over winter.

One more thing you want to do in autumn is prune your plants. If you aren't confident in your abilities, hire a garden maintenance service. They will know which plants to prune and how to do the job best. Evergreens have finished flowering in autumn. Pruning them will ensure they are healthy through winter and ready to flower in spring and summer. One plant you don't want to prune is wisteria. Wait until you can see when flower buds are developing. If you prune too early, you may not get flowers.



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