November 12th is the median date for the first frost in our area (Zone 7b)

Planting Ornamentals

  • Tulips – plant tulips after November 15th and preferably after December 1st.
  • Lilies, whether from a catalog or local store, should be planted immediately – before November 15th.
  • Consider potting up some annuals such as coleus, impatiens and geraniums for wintering over before the frost hits them.



  • Cut back perennials that are past their prime.
    Many summer annuals are spent – so go ahead and pull them out and replace them with pansies, kale and ornamental cabbages for fall interest in key locations where you will be able to enjoy them.
  • Limit pruning of shrubs to sniping stray branches and removing dead or damaged stems.
  • Do NOT fertilize your ornamental plants. Perennials are slowing down and preparing to go dormant for the winter. You do not want to encourage new growth now.


  • Remove all spent annuals. If still blooming at first frost.
  • Mulch azaleas and camellias lightly with leaf-mold or peat moss.
  • Keep after the weeds. Do not let the summer weeds start spreading seeds. Winter weeds like chickweed are already starting to appear. 


  • It is time to dig and store caladiums, canna, gladiolus, Peruvian daffodil, and tuberosa.
  • Callas, cannas and dahlias should be cut to the ground as soon as they have been touched by frost. Dig up whole clumps of tubers. Shake off the excess earth and do not separate or wash. Allow to dry for several days out of the sun before storing in perlite or dry peat moss.

Vegetables & Herbs

  • Harvest pumpkins and winter squash before frost
  • Remove asparagus spears as soon as they are killed by frost.


  • Remove fallen leaves so they do not smoother grass
  • Shred fallen leaves for mulch or compost
  • Top-dress existing turf and apply lime to the lawn now. Hold off putting down any fertilizer until December.
  • November is a good month to lay turf.
  • Fall is the best time to core aerate the lawn. Aerate before fertilizing or reseeding.
  • Top-dress existing turf and apply lime to the lawn now. Hold off putting down any fertilizer until November.

House Plants

  • Plants that thrive in the shade outdoors in the summer make the best houseplants in the winter. You can pot up coleus, wax begonias and impatiens. Try to disturb the roots as little as possible when you dig them up.
  • For those plants that require high humidity, such as many ferns and orchids, a spot over the kitchen sink or in a bathroom window may be a good location.
  • Move house plants indoors before temperatures fall below 50º F. Check house plants for signs of insects and treat a few times, if necessary, before moving back indoors.
  • While you are at it, clean up the plants by removing dead leaves and flowers, snip back over-long stems and give the plant a thorough bath with the garden hose.


  • Clean tools for winter storage
  • Now is the time to plan for indoor winter blooming bulbs. Some hardy bulbs require a chilling off period ranging from ten weeks to sixteen weeks – a refrigerator crisper drawer works well at 45º – 50º F.
  • Move all non cold-hardy container plants to a protected location
  • Fall is a good time to clean up the garden supplies. Pesticide labels will tell you how they should be stored for winter.