Planting a euphorbia

How to plant perennials

Autumn is a good time to plant perennials – find out how in this practical guide.

Do it:

Sep, Oct, Nov

Takes just:

20 minutes

Autumn is the ideal time to plant herbaceous perennials - they can get established in the warm soil before winter sets in, and autumn rain should keep the soil moist. They should then romp away in spring.

You can also lift and divide herbaceous perennials, if they have become old and tired. Another option is to buy good sized, well-established plants in large pots (2-3 litres) and divide them straight away.

Follow our four easy steps on how to plant perennials, below. 

You will need

  • Spade
  • Well-rotted manure or garden compost


Clear the area of weeds, taking care to remove the roots of any perennial weeds, and dig a hole just slightly larger than the pot or clump. 
Set the plant in the hole at the same depth it was growing previously. If it’s completely dormant and has no top growth, mark its location with a small stake or label. Then you’ll know where it is when weeding or if you want to plant bulbs such as alliums or narcissi nearby for extra colour. Planting bulbs with perennials works well, as the perennials will conceal the dying bulb foliage.
Backfill with soil around the roots, firming it in with your fingers. Even with small plants, it pays to backfill and firm in a couple of times to eliminate air pockets, as these can cause root death. Water in thoroughly and top up with more soil if it settles. When planting several perennials, check how wide they’ll grow, so they don’t end up overcrowded or flopping onto a nearby path or lawn.
Planting herbaceous perennials in autumn means they can get established in the warm soil before winter sets in.
Spread a thick mulch of well-rotted manure or garden compost around your newly planted perennial. This will help to retain moisture around its roots and deter weeds from germinating. Then keep an eye on it over the winter months to ensure it doesn’t get damaged by the weather. Some additional watering may be required throughout its first year in the ground, especially in any hot or dry spells.


Low maintenance herbaceous perennials to plant

Discover more ideas and inspiration

Related content

How to plant a hedge

How to move a deciduous shrub

How to plant shrubs

Related offers


Save £17 on hellebores

Enjoy reliable spring colour year after year with these gorgeous hellebores. Buy five plants for £11.99, or save over £17 when you buy the saver collection, including 10 of each, for just £29.99.

Order now


Save on heathers

Inject some colour into your winter planting schemes with this beautiful collection of heathers. These ericaceous plants are ideal for containers and look fantastic with spring bulbs as well as compact winter shrubs and grasses.

Order now


Japanese anemones

Save over £13 on a collection of Japanese anemones at Thompson & Morgan. You'll get 10 plants (two of each variety) for under £30 with this offer.

Order now