October Gardening Tips
Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, Oklahoma State University
David Hillock, Consumer Horticulturist
- Plant cool-season annuals like pansies, ornamental cabbage or kale, snapdragons, and dusty miller when temperatures begin to cool.
- Begin planting spring-flowering bulbs like tulips, hyacinths, crocus, and daffodils.
- Good companion plants for bulbs are ground covers such as ajuga, vinca, English ivy, alyssum, moneywort, thrift, phlox, oxalis, and leadwort.
- Peonies, daylilies, and other spring-flowering perennials should be divided or planted now.
- Dig and store tender perennials like cannas, dahlias, and caladiums in a cool, dry location.
- Purchase trees from nurseries and garden centers during this time to select the fall color you prefer.
- Many perennials can be planted at this time and the selection is quite nice.
- Plant fall mums and asters and keep them watered during dry conditions. Don’t crowd since they take a couple of years to reach maturity.
- Plant container-grown trees and shrubs this month.
- Check and treat houseplants for insect pests before bringing them indoors and repot rootbound plants.
- You can continue to replant or establish cool-season lawns like fescue.
- The mowing height for fescue should be lowered to approximately 2½ inches for fall and winter cutting.
- Broadleaf weeds like dandelions can be easily controlled during October (HLA-6601).
- Mow and neatly edge warm-season lawns before killing frost.
Fruits & Vegetables
- Dig sweet potatoes and harvest pumpkins and winter squash.
- Remove green fruit from tomato plants when frost threatens.
- Harvest oriental persimmons and pawpaws as they begin to change color.
- There is still time to plant radishes and mustard in the fall garden.
- Use a cold frame device to plant spinach, lettuce and various other cool-season crops for production most of the winter.
- Plant cool-season cover crops like Austrian winter peas, wheat, clover, and rye in otherwise fallow garden plots.
- Remove all debris from the garden to prevent overwintering of various garden pests.
- Start new planting bed preparations now with plenty of organic matter.
- Take tropical water garden plants indoors when water temperatures near 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Close the water garden for the winter by placing hardy plants in the deeper areas of the pool. Stop feeding the fish.
- Cover water gardens with bird netting to catch dropping leaves during the winter months.
Plant Spring-Flowering Bulbs Now
The latter part of this month and into November is the time to plant spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, etc. Be sure to get to the garden centers early so you can pick out the largest and healthiest of bulbs. They will bloom better for you than the smaller, discount types. Most bulbs should be planted to a depth that is about 2 times the diameter of the bulb. Be sure to plant your bulbs in well-drained soil; most will rot in our heavy, wet, clay soils during the winter if proper drainage is not provided.
To increase the spring bulb display, plant pansies at the same time. Pansies don’t mind the cold weather and can even provide a little extra color during the winter months. Come spring, they really take off and provide an understory of color to the overstory of color provided by the spring bulbs.
Get discounts at area gardening centers
Are you a member of the Gardens? You get discounts at these great merchants. Become a member and save!
Green Thumb Partners
10% discount off Adorn’s Seasonal Container Gardening Program: installation of new plants into your outdoor containers four times a year as the seasons change, creating amazing curb appeal for your home or business throughout the year.
- Calvert’s Plant Interiors
10% off an entire in-store purchase. Not valid with other offers, prior purchases, gift cards, or monthly contracts.
- Central Power Equipment
10% on power equipment accessories and parts. Not valid with other offers.
- Katydids & Grasshoppers
10% off regularly priced plants.
- New Leaf Floral
10% off purchases of $50 or more on fresh flowers or green plants. Not valid for weddings, wire orders, orchid plants, or gift cards.
- Organics OKC
10% off the entire purchase. Not valid with other offers, prior purchases, or gift cards.
- Precure Nursery and Garden Center
10% off entire purchase. Not valid with any other discounts or landscape or lawn services.
- TLC Garden Centers
10% discount on a non-discounted product. Not valid on gift cards.