Fall is not just for pumpkin spice lattes and sweater weather, it’s also the perfect time for planting. Many native plant sales are being held throughout the area over the next month -- just in time for you to get plants in the ground now and support pollinators next spring.
Experienced gardeners know that fall is a great season to plant trees, shrubs and perennials because fall tends to be more forgiving with increased rainfall and cooler temperatures.
Want to add more native plants to your garden and landscaping? Check out these plant sales h…
Many of the plant sales will offer exclusively native plants or have a wide variety of natives to choose from. Native, or local ecotype plants, are those that occur naturally in the region in which they evolved. They are perfectly suited to soil, climate conditions, and growing season in that particular ecosystem, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Native plants tend to be resilient, require less maintenance and irrigation, and provide many benefits to native wildlife and pollinators, said Nancy Berlin, a natural resource specialist and master gardener coordinator for Virginia Cooperative Extension. Native plants are essential to a healthy local ecosystem and they are beautiful in landscaping too, she added.
Planting native plants creates a pollinator-friendly garden, and even a small backyard garden can make a big difference for pollinators. The Audubon Society encourages everyone to add native plants to their gardens because “each patch of habitat becomes part of a collective effort to nurture and sustain the living landscape for birds and other animals.”
The first plant sale of the season is the Prince William Master Gardeners’ sale, which is held at the Teaching Garden at St. Benedict Monastery in Bristow. There will be two dates to shop: Saturday, Sept. 4, and Tuesday, Sept. 7, both from 9 a.m. to noon.
Many of the plants available for sale are native plants, and they are all labeled and categorized for easy shopping.
Knowledgeable master gardeners are available to answer questions and give advice about plant selection and maintenance. The plants are all donated from the master gardeners’ personal gardens and those of their friends. All proceeds from the sale are used to support the teaching garden.
Berlin reminds gardeners not to wait too long before you plant your new native plants in your garden because they should be in the ground well before the first frost. She also cautions that even though native plants take less care, they still need regular irrigation until they are established, which can take one to two years.
There’s a full schedule of plant sales around Northern Virginia every weekend through September and the first weekend in October.
This list was curated by Plant NoVa Natives and updates can be found online at https://www.plantnovanatives.org/local-native-plant-sales.