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What Can You Plant in September?

September is a lovely month full of all the wonderful colors of fall, but when it comes to gardening what can you plant in September?

September is a good month for planting fruits such as blueberries and plums, flowers like peonies and pansies, vegetables such as spinach and lettuce, plus herbs like parsley and rosemary. It’s also a great time of year to start growing poppies from seed and apples in pots.

Let’s look at what else you can plant in September, and what other jobs you can do in the yard at this time of the year…

What Can You Plant in September?

Is September a Good Time For Planting?

Those late summer days are a great time to be out in the yard, getting some crops in the ground before the winter. If you’d like some home-grown veg on the table for Thanksgiving and Christmas, you still have time if you plant in September. 

It’s also a great time to plan in advance for the spring season: what bulbs do you need to prepare, and do you like the idea of a new tree or shrub for next year?

Of course, we appreciate that in some climate zones September is still summer, while in others, it’s starting to feel like fall. If you live in the south or southwest you’re going to be able to grow more tender plants for longer than if you live further north.

Here at Take A Yard, we take a pretty general view when we’re discussing the gardening calendar. If you live in one of our more extreme climate zones, you’ll know what can and can’t happen at certain times of year anyway!

However, we always suggest becoming familiar with the USDA plant hardiness zones. This is the standardized way gardeners and growers talk about planting across the States, and you’ll find the zones used on seed packets and in gardening books and websites. Here’s a link to the USDA plant hardiness zone map.

What Fruits Can I Plant in September?

When it comes to fruit, September is more about harvesting than planting. However, having said that, it’s a good time to plant trees and shrubs, so if you’re happy to play the long game, you can get those fruit trees in the ground now. (We’ll take a closer look at September tree planting shortly.)

Just check what’s suitable for your climate before you go ahead and buy fruit trees and bushes. Some are more delicate than others. Here are a few fruits you can get started in September, ready for harvesting next year.

  • Blueberries. Yes, these lovely little bushes can be planted in September (unless you live in the chiller 1-3 zones)
  • Apples. The fall is a great time to plant all sorts of apple trees. Again, this is best if you live in the warmer zones 5-10. If you live in a cooler zone, you could risk it, provided you’re confident that there’s time for the roots to settle before the first frost
  • Plums. Provided you’re in zone 4 or above, you can plant plum trees in the fall
  • Peaches. Yes, this surprised us, too. Some cold-hardy varieties can be planted in fall rather than spring

What Flowers Can I Plant in September?

September is a great time to prepare your garden for the spring. Make the most of the late summer and early fall sunshine to get out in your yard, and make sure that come springtime, you’ll have a dazzling display of flowers.

As ever, this depends on which hardiness zone you live in; and if you’re in the chillier zones (1-3), you’ll need to double-check which of these will survive the winter. 

Here are a few of our favorite flowers for September planting:

  • Peonies. These beautiful blooms are something really special. Plant them in a sunny spot, as peonies love warmth on their petals. They should arrive in the spring if you plant them in September
  • Pansies. Pretty pansies thrive best if planted in the fall, and you’ll get a long flowering season from them. Again, pick a sunny spot
  • Asters. Colorful asters really don’t mind when you plant them, provided the temperature isn’t too extreme. Even in the north, you can still plant them in the fall, provided you beat the frost
  • Daffodils. Get daffodils in the ground now, and you’ll get a lovely treat in the early spring. It’s a good time to plant bulbs in general ready for next year

What Veg Can I Plant in September?

There’s a great choice of vegetables you can plant in September, even in the colder climates. You can plant leafy veg, root veg, and even salad veg this late in the summer, and spend the whole year feasting on fresh, home-grown produce.

This is a general guide to fall planting, so please double-check what’s suited to your hardiness zone. The main rule of thumb: know how long your crop takes to grow, know when your first frost will be, then work backwards.

  • Spinach. It seems that this iron-rich plant does well everywhere it’s grown
  • Lettuce. Keep this crispy crop coming by planting it out in September
  • Radishes. Again,this sharp and pretty addition to your salad really isn’t fussy about fall planting
  • Beet. This root vegetable is a good fall crop for the southern climate
  • Carrots. These can be planted in September in the warmer zones for a tasty winter crop
  • Turnips. These can be planted in most zones in the fall
  • Leek. This delicious allium can be planted in the fall in many regions
  • Garlic makes an excellent fall crop, and is a super-handy ingredient to always have ready

We’re often asked about potatoes. This popular crop doesn’t do well with frost, so needs to be in the ground at least 12 weeks before the first frost occurs.

As we mentioned earlier, count backwards from when that cold spell is likely to start. In some regions, you may well be able to get your potatoes in the ground in time; however, September is too late in most states.

September planting

Can You Plant Shrubs & Trees in September?

September is a great time to plant shrubs and trees, and you’ll be rewarded with fruits in future falls. Why is this such a good time? It gives the root system time to develop before the ground hardens. You can even plant trees in October.

We’ve always gone by the old gardening saying: when the leaves start to fall, it’s time to plant trees.

Can You Plant Herbs in September?

Yes, you can grow herbs in September, and the fall is a good time of year to plant an herb garden. Many herbs can also be grown indoors on the windowsill, so you can even give them a go in colder climates. Here are a few herb varieties that should do well at this time of year:

  • Parsley. This useful herb can even be started in the early winter, if you live in the south
  • Rosemary. Just don’t over water this drought-friendly plant
  • Sage. A lovely wintry herb that’s essential for Thanksgiving and holiday dishes
  • Cilantro. Make sure it’s in a sunny spot, as it’ll be far happier

What Can You Plant in Pots in September?

You can plant pretty much everything we’ve already mentioned! There are so many options for container planting in September, from getting bulbs ready for the spring, to growing a crop of spinach to keep you in greens over the winter.

Planters are a good idea if you’re growing in the fall: if there’s an early frost forecast, you can simply pick them up and take them indoors. Here are a few ideas for September container gardening:

  • Plant an herb garden in a trough
  • Plant some bulbs ready for early spring
  • Grow veg such as spinach, lettuce, or garlic, that’s useful all year and easy to grow in pots
  • Try a dwarf apple tree in a large pot. Here’s a short film about growing apple trees in containers

Can You Plant Bulbs & Seeds in September?

If you want flowers in the spring, plant your bulbs in the fall. If you want summer flowering bulbs, plant them in the spring. The main rule is to get them in the ground when it’s not too hard. In September and October, the ground is cooler but not yet frozen. Choose cheerful flowers like tulips and daffodils for spring color.

As for seeds, well there are plenty suitable for September planting. Try poppies, coneflowers, calendula, and blue flax. It’s also a good time to sow wildflower seeds, as this replicates the time of year when flowers scatter their seeds in the wild.

Conclusion: What Jobs Can I Do in The Garden in September?

We hope we’ve given you plenty of planting ideas for September! But what else can you do in your yard in the early fall?

Well, we reckon that one of the best things to do in your garden in September is enjoy it. It’s warm but not as hot as the height of summer, so it’s a nice time to kick back and enjoy a few early fall barbecues.

It’s not yet time for the cleaning, sweeping and composting tasks of October and November; however, it is a good time to get a few jobs done that need good weather. Do you have any painting, sealing, or staining jobs that you’d like to get done before the winter? Warm September days are perfect for this type of work. 

Want to know what you can plant in October? Read the next article in our planting calendar…

Mark H.

Homeowner and property investor Mark H. aspires to bring you the very best outdoor living content, based on his years of experience managing outside spaces. Read more >