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Northeast Regional Reports

Northeast: September Garden To-Do List

Blue anise sage (Salvia guaranitica, Zones 7–10) catching the golden light of fall. Photo: Kristin Green

There’s a change in the air during September. Summer isn’t over yet, but the humidity abates, the sky lifts, and morning and afternoon light become golden. These are ideal conditions for kicking back and enjoying the garden’s show.

Take time to relax in the garden and observe. Take pictures, collect seeds, and start a wish list. Decide what needs to be divided and transplanted, and keep weeding—don’t let the buggers go to seed.

Fill your garden’s gaps. Some nurseries run sales on summer’s unsold perennials, shrubs, and trees. They may also stock spring bulbs for fall planting. Allow for impulse shopping; you’ll learn something new with each addition.

Stop fertilizing, including houseplants. The lowering angle of the sun and shorter days trigger a winter rest or dormancy for most plants.

Keep an eye on the forecast. If the temperature dips, use Reemay® or old bedsheets to protect frost-tender plants.

Bring houseplants inside before night temperatures dip below their comfort zones (low 60°s F for most tropicals; 50°s F for plants from temperate regions).

container plants
Decide which of your container plants, including tropicals and tender perennials, are going to come inside for the season. Photo: Melissa Lucas

Kristin Green is author of Plantiful: Start Small, Grow Big with 150 Plants that Spread, Self-sow, and Overwinter, and gardens in Bristol, Rhode Island.

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