Things to do in October


Fertilize existing beds of iris with well-rotted manure or balanced fertilizer. Reduce houseplant fertilizer by 1/2 for winter.


Water areas as needed.


Divide and transplant crowded perennials. Dig and store caladium bulbs. Dust with fungicide.

Prepare Soil:

Mulch gingers and other tropicals that overwinter outdoors to retain warmth and moisture and to control weeds. Falling leaves make autumn a good time to start a compost pile. Shred (or mow) leaves to speed decomposition. Turn compost pile periodically and keep it moist.

Lawn Care:

Fertilize with 3-1-2 ratio fertilizer. In newly-plugged lawns, sow 8 lbs. of ryegrass per 1000 sq. ft. to help hold soil. The seed grass will make a bright green carpet until spring, when hot weather will kill rye. Not recommended for established lawns. Mow every 5-7 days and leave the clippings on the lawn.

Diseases/Pests to look out for:

Check for cabbage loopers in the garden; spray with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Make second treatment for brown patch on lawns with a history of the disease.


Prune shrubs as needed, but save major pruning for the winter. Remove dead and damaged wood from shrubs and trees. Make cuttings of tender plants before frost.

Things To Plant In October:

Flower Plants:

  • Ajuga
  • Alyssum
  • Bluebonnet
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Calendula
  • Candytuft
  • Carnation
  • Chinese Forget-Me-Not (Cynoglossum amabile)
  • Clarkia (Godetia)
  • Cornflower
  • Dianthus
  • Daisy (English and Painted)
  • Euryops
  • Forget-Me-Not (Myositis)
  • Gazania
  • Indian Blanket
  • Liatris
  • Nasturtium
  • Pansy
  • Penstemon
  • Petunia
  • Phlox (divaricata and paniculata)
  • Viola
  • Obedient Plant (Physostegia)
  • German Primrose (Primula obconica)
  • Salvia farinacea
  • Sedum
  • Snapdragon
  • Stock

Flower Seeds:

  • Alyssum
  • African Daisy (Arctotis)
  • Bluebonnet
  • Calendula
  • Columbine
  • Coreopsis
  • Cornflower
  • Daisy
  • Delphinium
  • Hollyhock
  • Larkspur
  • Nasturtium


  • Pansy
  • Petunia
  • Phlox
  • Pinks
  • California Poppy
  • Scabiosa
  • Snapdragon
  • Stock
  • Sweet Pea
  • Viola
  • Wildflowers