Tips for October – the month fall color arrives

October Gardening TipsFlowers

  • Continue edging and mulching beds; be sure they are weed free; clean out faded flowers and vegetables

  • Plant fall bloomers like asters, ornamental cabbage and kale

  • Continue planting spring-blooming bulbs, divide and plant perennials

  • Propagate annuals and perennials by cuttings

  • Bring any tender flowers inside (geraniums) to overwinter

  • Dig up tender bulbs after foliage yellows and before frost; allow to air dry and store in a cool dry spot inside the house

  • Pot spring bulbs for forcing like daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips and put in cold frame, garage, or refrigerator  (@ 40 degrees) to bring inside in January and February; keep moist


  • Plant cool season salad greens in a cold frame or protected site; cover if necessary from early frost

  • Harvest any warm season crops before frost; extend your season by covering during early frosts; enclose tomato cages to encourage ripening

  • Pot herbs to take inside for winter use (chives, oregano, rosemary and sweet marjoram); sow parsley in a pot

  • Now is a good time to start a compost pile with the abundance of leaves, and grass clippings


  • Leave seed heads and grasses for birds to eat and hide

  • Start fall clean up and compost anything not diseased or pest infested

  • Turn soil and prepare beds for next year; plant cover crops if desired


  • Still plant and/or transplant shrubs and trees

  • Water evergreens to keep them from drying out during the winter

The average first frost date is October 15th – be prepared!


Visit the Loudoun County Master Gardener Demonstration Garden at Ida Lee Park in Leesburg to see various gardens and new planting techniques.

Contact the Loudoun County Master Gardener Help Desk with your questions:  703-771-5150 or

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