The Best Plants To Plant In September In Michigan

The Best Plants To Plant In September In Michigan

Wait… Can We Still Plant In September?

YES! You can still successfully plant plants in September. Michigan’s climate varies across the state, but it generally falls within USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 6. In September, you can take advantage of the cooler temperatures to plant a wide variety of crops and flowers. We’ll cover some of our favorites in this article.

(Featured Image: Fall Mums by M. Doud)

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Gardening Season Isn’t Over Yet!

Believe it or not, September is the perfect time to to start an array of garden vegetables. This time of year has an ideal climate for planting and cultivating your fall garden. Fast-growing crops such as collard greens and swiss chard actually take on a sweeter taste when exposed to cold weather like we have in early autumn.

Beans are another fast-growing vegetable that can be planted throughout the month of September, especially broad beans and bush beans. Combine your bean harvest with brussels sprouts and salad greens for a complete kitchen garden harvest in the fall! Adding to your vegetable garden in the fall is a great way to extend your growing season and enjoy gardening through the cooler months in Michigan.

Psst! If you want to have a veggie garden all winter long, check out our guides on hydroponic gardening!

The Best Plants For September Planting In Michigan

1. Cool-Season Vegetables

  • Lettuce: Lettuce varieties like leaf lettuce and romaine can be planted in September. They thrive in cooler temperatures and can be harvested for salads.
  • Spinach: Spinach is another cool-weather vegetable that can be planted in September. It’s rich in nutrients and can be used in salads or cooked dishes.
  • Kale: Kale is a nutritious leafy green that grows well in cooler weather. It can be used in salads, smoothies, or cooked dishes.
  • Radishes: Radishes are quick-growing root vegetables. They can be planted in September and harvested within a few weeks for a crispy and spicy addition to salads.

Looking for a fun variety of cool season veggies? Check out this variety pack of cool-season vegetable seeds by Organo Republic! With 25 organic seed types to choose from this fun set has many options that are ideal for the Midwest and other northern regions. The packaging will help the seeds remain shelf stable for years, so you can enjoy a fall harvest well into the future! (This makes a great gift for gardeners of all ages!)

Red and green kale are a great option for September planting in Michigan.

Red And Green Kale by F. Bermudez

2. Fall Blooming Flowers

  • Mums (Chrysanthemums): Mums are popular fall-blooming flowers available in various colors. They add vibrant splashes of color to gardens and containers during the autumn months.
  • Asters: Asters are daisy-like flowers that come in shades of pink, purple, and white. They bloom in late summer and fall, attracting pollinators to the garden.
  • Stonecrop: These succulent-like plants are cold weather bloomers, usually starting in late August. Stonecrops boast large, pink clusters of blooms that can last well into the first frost of the season.
Native asters that make a great option for the chelsea chop in Michigan.

New England Aster G. Mayfield

3. Perennial Flowers

  • Coneflowers (Echinacea): Coneflowers are hardy perennials that come in various colors, including shades of pink, purple, and white. They are attractive to pollinators and can add a splash of color to your garden.
  • Daylilies (Hemerocallis): Daylilies are reliable perennials with a wide range of flower colors and forms. They thrive in various soil types and are relatively low-maintenance.
  • Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia): Black-eyed Susans are native wildflowers that produce bright yellow or orange-yellow flowers with dark centers. They are loved by pollinators and provide a cheerful touch to the garden.
  • Hostas: Hostas are shade-loving perennials known for their lush foliage. While they might not have showy flowers, their leaves come in various shapes and sizes, adding texture to your garden.
  • Astilbes: Astilbes thrive in moist, shady areas and produce feathery plumes of flowers in shades of pink, white, and red. They add a touch of elegance to shade gardens.
  • Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra): Bleeding hearts have unique heart-shaped flowers that dangle from arching stems. They prefer partial shade and can create a romantic look in your garden.
  • Siberian Irises: Siberian irises produce elegant, iris-like flowers in various shades of blue, purple, and white. They are well-suited to wetter areas of the garden.
  • Blazing Star Liatris: Liatris, also known as blazing star or gayfeather, produces tall spikes of purple or white flowers. These native flowers are magnets for butterflies and bees.
  • Sedums: Sedums, also called stonecrop, are drought-tolerant perennials that come in various shapes and sizes. They often have succulent foliage and produce clusters of star-shaped flowers.
  • Hellebores: Hellebores, or Lenten roses, are early-blooming perennials that produce nodding flowers in shades of pink, white, and purple. They can bloom even in late winter.
  • Hardy Geraniums: Hardy geraniums, or cranesbills, are versatile perennials with various flower colors. They’re known for their long bloom periods and easy-care nature.
Bumblebee on a coneflower in a sustainable garden.

Bee On Coneflower

4. Bulbs

  • Tulips: Tulips are classic spring-blooming bulbs that can be planted in September. They come in a range of colors and add a burst of color to gardens in the spring.
  • Daffodils: Daffodils, also known as narcissus, are another popular spring bulb. They have bright yellow or white flowers and are often deer-resistant.
  • Crocuses: Crocuses are early spring bloomers that come in various colors. They’re among the first flowers to appear after winter.

Use this bulb planting tool by Dewayna to plant your bulbs in half the time! This unique tool measures 4″ down (the ideal depth for most bulbs) and can dig, plant, and transplant your bulbs with one simple motion. This has been a game changer for us!

Many varieties of bulbs are great choices for planting in September in Michigan.

Fall Bulbs by S. Murray

5. Garlic and Onions

  • Garlic: Garlic cloves can be planted in the fall for a summer harvest the following year. Plant individual cloves, and they will grow into bulbs that can be harvested and used in cooking.
  • Onions: ​Onion sets are a great option for cool weather planting. Look for onions that are specifically suited for colder climates, as these will over-winter the best and result in large onions next spring.
Onion greens pop out of the soil after a late fall planting the year before.

Onion Greens by J. Almean

6. Cover Crops

  • Winter Rye: Winter rye is a common cover crop choice. It helps prevent soil erosion, improves soil structure, and adds organic matter to the soil when it’s turned under in the spring.
Winter rye planted as a cover crop in September will produce vigorous growth the following spring.

Winter Rye by E. Flores

7. Herbs

  • Parsley: Parsley can be planted in September and will continue to grow into the fall. It’s a versatile herb used in a variety of dishes.
  • Chives: Chives are perennial herbs that can be planted in September. They produce small onion-flavored leaves that can be used in cooking.
  • Cilantro: Cilantro can be planted for a fall harvest. It prefers cooler temperatures and can be used in various culinary dishes.

If you’re eager to start herbs now and want to bring them indoors over the winter months to keep them growing, consider getting an all-in-one herb kit like this culinary herb kit by Home Grown. I personally gifted this set to several friends last fall who commented on how great this combination was for cooking. The small pots make it easy to move your plants inside and fit them on a windowsill or shelf so you can enjoy fresh herbs all winter long.

Oregano and parsley are great herb options to plant in September in Michigan.

Oregano by S. Dillon

8. Trees and Shrubs

  • Trees and Shrubs: Fall is an excellent time to plant trees and shrubs, as the cooler temperatures and increased moisture allow them to establish roots before winter. Consider native species adapted to your Michigan climate.
  • Serviceberry: Serviceberries, also known as Juneberries, are small trees or large shrubs that produce edible berries in the spring. They offer lovely white blossoms in the spring and attractive fall color. Fall planting gives them a head start for the following year’s growth.
  • Ninebark: Ninebark is a versatile shrub with attractive foliage and bark that peels in layers. It comes in various cultivars with different foliage colors, and some produce clusters of white or pink flowers in the spring. Fall planting helps these shrubs establish roots before winter dormancy.
  • Japanese Maple: Japanese maples are known for their stunning foliage, which comes in a variety of colors and shapes. They are popular ornamental trees that can add a touch of elegance to your landscape. Planting Japanese maples in September is an ideal time to plant so they have time to settle in before winter.
  • Red Dogwood: Red Dogwood is a deciduous shrub known for its striking red stems in winter and clusters of small white flowers in spring, adding year-round interest to the landscape. This shrub is native to Michigan. Fall is the best time to plant dogwood as the soil temperatures help root growth prior to the first frost.
The pointy leaves of a Red Dragon Japanese Maple tree are bright red against a dark background.

Red Dragon Japanese Maple by E. Kauffman

Remember that the success of your plantings depends on your specific location in Michigan, so it’s essential to take your local climate, hardiness zone, and soil conditions into account when selecting and caring for your plants.

Tips For Fall Planting In Michigan

  1. Know Your Frost Dates: Be aware of your area’s average first frost date. This will help you determine the timing for planting and which crops will have enough time to mature before the frost arrives.
  2. Choose the Right Plants: Select plants that are suitable for fall planting and appropriate for your hardiness zone. Consider cool-season vegetables, fall-blooming flowers, and trees or shrubs that can establish roots before winter.
  3. Soil Preparation: Prepare your planting area by loosening the soil and adding compost or organic matter. Well-prepared soil provides a welcoming environment for roots to establish.
  4. Watering: Keep plants well-watered during their establishment period. Cooler temperatures and increased rainfall can help, but it’s important to ensure that plants receive enough moisture.
  5. Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around newly planted trees, shrubs, and perennials. Mulch helps retain soil moisture, insulate roots, and prevent weed growth.
  6. Spacing: Follow recommended spacing guidelines for plants. Proper spacing allows for good air circulation and reduces the risk of diseases.
  7. Planting Depth: Ensure you plant trees, shrubs, and bulbs at the correct depth. Follow planting guidelines to avoid burying them too deep or leaving them exposed.
  8. Fertilization: While fall planting doesn’t require heavy fertilization, you can add a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to the planting hole to provide nutrients for the establishment phase.
  9. Protection from Pests: Keep an eye out for pests that may be active in the fall. Consider using row covers or other protective measures to prevent pest damage to your crops.
  10. Transplanting Care: If you’re transplanting perennials or shrubs, water them well before digging them up and replanting. Keep their roots moist during the transition.
  11. Timing Bulb Planting: If you’re planting spring-flowering bulbs, aim to do so before the ground freezes. Follow planting guidelines for bulb depth and spacing.
  12. Inspect Plants: Before purchasing plants, inspect them for signs of disease or pest damage. Healthy plants have a better chance of thriving after planting.
  13. Patience: Understand that fall-planted trees, shrubs, and perennials might not show significant growth until the following spring. Be patient and allow them time to establish strong root systems.
  14. Garden Cleanup: As you plant, remove spent summer crops and clean up garden debris to reduce the risk of pests and diseases.
  15. Stay Informed: Check with local gardening resources or extension services for specific recommendations based on your location within Michigan. They can provide valuable insights into local conditions and best practices.

Order Your Fall Plants Today!

Planting in September in Michigan presents a valuable opportunity for gardeners to make the most of the transitional season. As summer gradually gives way to fall, cooler temperatures and increased moisture levels create favorable conditions for a range of gardening tasks. Choose from one of the many links offered in this post to select the perfect plants that are well-suited to fall planting. We also earn a small commission from purchases made through these links, which helps keep our website up and running!

Gardeners can select from a diverse range of options, such as native serviceberries with their spring blooms and fall berries, or Japanese maple trees boasting fiery foliage. Proper soil preparation, adequate watering, and consideration of local hardiness zones are crucial for the success of September planting endeavors. Whether reviving existing garden beds or creating new ones, taking advantage of the unique benefits that September provides can set the stage for a flourishing garden in Michigan come spring and beyond.