Fall is a great time to visit local garden centers and shop for end of season bargains. As the growing season draws to a close, most nurseries and plant retailers offer annuals and perennials at deep discounts in order to move out their remaining inventory.
Most of us shop for garden plants in the spring. This usually results in a garden filled with lots of early to mid-season flowering perennials and shrubs-the kind of plants in bloom when we go shopping. Pots filled with fall-flowering plants are slower to emerge, so we often overlook them in favor of the plants in bloom (especially after a long winter). Unfortunately, once autumn arrives our flower beds start to look dull and the color gaps become painfully obvious.
Fall plant sales are a good way to fill in these color gaps in your beds and borders. One solution is to use frost tolerant annuals like marigolds, which naturally bloom in classic autumn colors. Because you'll be buying them at greatly reduced prices, even if they don't last more than a few weeks, your investment will have been minimal.
Late season sales are also a good time to save money on perennials. The plants growing in pots this late in the season are usually overgrown. This means you can gain even more savings (and more plants) by dividing the clumps into two or three sections before planting them. Although it is tempting to buy fall-blooming perennials to fill in this year's color gaps, you are better off protecting next year's display by pinching off the blooms immediately after planting them. This will shift the majority of the plant's energy into establishing roots and increase the likelihood that they survive the winter.
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Garden centers, home improvement centers, grocery stores, department stores and any other location that sales plants or flowers always have a tremendous markdown on plants at the end of the summer.