When selecting plants and flowers for your Bergen County landscape, it’s important to check seasonal planting guide requirements before you purchase plants.
For plants to thrive, they need the right type of soil, the right location, sufficient light and water and proper care and maintenance.
The USDA divides the United States into hardiness planting zones. The latest USDA plant hardiness map considers climate and weather conditions, average daily temperatures, and average days of sunlight, rainfall and snow and ice. It also takes into consideration the closeness to a large body of water, elevation and the urban heat effect.
The Northwest corner of Bergen County falls in hardiness Zone 6a, while the Eastern part of the county falls in Zone 6b. Planting and growing in these zones usually runs from mid-March (after the last frost) through mid-November.
When selecting landscape and garden plants, look for plants that are zoned in the seasonal planting guide for Zone 6.
How Are Annuals and Perennials Different?
For many gardeners, annuals are a mainstay for any garden. Early-blooming spring annuals are a quick way to fill empty spots in flower beds, container gardens and decorative pots.
A mix of annual plants can offer a stunning array of vibrant colors in your landscape during spring, summer and fall. Although you will have to replant them each season, annuals will create a beautiful landscape when they bloom.
Perennials are plants and flowers that come back year after year. Since you don’t have to replant them, they are perfect for garden beds, as accents to shrubs and trees, combined with annuals and bulbs and in containers and window boxes.
Perennials often increase in size each year, so they can be divided and added to other seasonal plants and landscape areas.
Planting Guide for Various Seasons
Spring Season (March – May)
In early spring, everything in your landscape begins to grow at a faster rate. Spring sunshine and warm weather bring new buds to flowers and new leaves to plants and trees.
Spring is a major growth season and the perfect time to fill your garden beds with bulbs, annuals, and perennials that will bloom during the summer, fall, and even winter seasons.
Here are some seasonal planting guide tips for the spring season.
- African Marigolds – African marigolds produce 3-inch puffball blooms in orange, yellow and cream. Regular varieties grow up to three feet tall, but dwarf varieties only grow to one foot tall. The mounded dark green foliage beneath the blooms is always clean, fresh, and tidy.
- Begonias – Begonias are easy to grow spring seasonal plants and do well in a variety of landscape conditions. To keep the blooms colorful, give begonias light shade, rich, well-drained soil, ample water and plenty of fertilizer.
- Bush Morning Glory – Bush morning glory is the perfect plant for flower beds and window boxes. This plant produces trumpet-shaped flowers in jewel-tone shades of blue, pink and white. It grows close to the ground, about two feet tall, so it’s a good border plant.
- Pansy – Pansies are one of the best annuals to plant in spring for early-season containers and window boxes. They come in a variety of vibrant colors that will add instant eye-catching appeal to your landscape.
Cool-season annuals, like begonias, primrose, pansies and calendula, grow best in the mild temperatures and cool soils of spring and fall.
When the weather turns hot, cool-season annuals set seed and deteriorate, but most will survive fairly heavy frost. In Bergen County, cool-season annuals should be planted in early spring.
To develop vigorous blooms, roots and foliage must develop during cool weather.
Warm-season annuals, like impatiens, marigolds and zinnias, grow and flower best in the warm months of late spring, summer and early fall.
If warm-season annuals are planted too early in the spring, they can die in a late frost. In cold-winter climates like Northern New Jersey, warm-season annuals should be planted after the danger of all frost has passed.
Summer-blooming bulbs, like callas, dahlias, gladiolas, liatris and lilies, should be planted in early spring for vibrant summer flowers.
All of these summer-blooming bulbs will provide a brilliant array of colors in your landscape like vivid shades of yellow, orange, red, pink, lavender and purple.
Most of these flower varieties grow from 1-foot to 7-feet tall, so they provide wonderful height against shorter plants.
For a great splash of summer color in your Bergen County landscape, plant summer-blooming vines against retainer walls, fences and trellises.
Trumpet vines will add a burst of vivid red, orange or yellow trumpet-shaped flowers that attract hummingbirds.
Hydrangea vines will provide a softer look with flowers that range from white to pink.
For more options for summer-blooming vines, check your seasonal planting guide for planting zone 6 in Bergen County.
Bare-Root and Container Roses
In Northern NJ, bare-root roses should be planted in the spring, as soon as it’s warm enough to work the soil.
Before planting, soak the roots in a bucket of water for 8 to 12 hours to re-hydrate them, then immerse the entire plant to re-hydrate the canes.
After soaking, trim off any damaged or diseased roots before planting. Potted roses are the easiest to plant because you have a plant that is already growing. Potted roses can be planted in the spring, right after you buy them.
If you want to add needle-leafed evergreens to your landscape, plant them in late spring.
Needle-leafed evergreens, like pines, firs, cypress and spruce, will add wonderful texture to your landscape, especially during fall and winter seasons when your landscape can look a little barren.
Talk to your landscape professional about seasonal planting guide tips for adding needle-leafed evergreen to your yard.
Summer Season (June – August)
For color in the fall, you need to plant fall-blooming perennials, like asters, coneflowers, chrysanthemums and sedums in the summer.
Fall-blooming perennials offer brilliant jewel tone colors like gold, orange, red and deep purple. They make great plants for garden beds, containers and walkway, driveway and patio borders.
If you’re looking for exotic textures and beautiful, green foliage, ornamental grasses can add them to your landscape year-round.
Summer is a good time to plant most varieties, so they will provide fall and winter greenery when many colorful annuals and perennials die back.
Baby bamboo, cattails, golden pheasant’s tail and mondo grass are great for Bergen County landscapes.
Groundcovers are dependable,strong plants that carpet the ground with minimal fuss. They provide quick-fix solutions for many landscape problems.
Groundcovers come with interesting textures and flowers that thrive in shade or sun. Brass buttons have feathery, bronze foliage and button-like yellow-green blooms in early summer.
Hens-and-chicks, an old-fashioned favorite, grows well in tight spaces and sunny areas, and it’s easy to grow with little maintenance.
Although Northern New Jersey gets ample rainfall most of the year, many homeowners are interested in native and drought-tolerant plants for their landscapes.
Butterfly milkweed, crimson-eyed rose mallow, lance-leaved coreopsis, New England aster and New York ironweed are all drought-tolerant plant varieties that thrive in Bergen County landscapes.
The seasonal planting guide for Zone 6 lists these native varieties, as well as others, for the area.
Fall Season (September – November)
The seasonal planting guide for Northern NJ offers a wide variety of colorful plants that bloom in the fall and thrive in Bergen County landscapes.
Asters, sun-loving fall flowers, come in brilliant shades of white, purple, pink and blue and are frequently visited by beautiful Monarch butterflies.
Black-eyed-Susans and blanket flowers are easy to grow and bloom throughout the fall season. Russian Sage provides a soft, colorful contrast to warm autumn colors with airy blue flowers and silvery foliage.
There are many fall-blooming bulbs that you can plant either in the spring or early fall. Crocus blooms in autumn with large lavender-pink crocus-like flowers, and the leaves appear later in the spring.
Emberglow has fiery reddish-orange funnel-shaped flowers with a golden throat that’s a favorite for hummingbirds. Star-of-Bethlehem produces lovely clusters of starry white flowers. On cloudy days and at night, the blooms close, then open again the next morning in the sun.
Winter and Spring-Flowering Bulbs
Winter and spring-flowering bulbs like alliums, daffodils, hyacinths and tulips should be planted in the fall before the weather gets too cold.
These varieties provide brilliant colors like yellow, orange, red, pink, blue and purple that will liven up any winter or spring landscape.
They are also rabbit and deer resistant, a seasonal planting guide benefit for many Bergen County homeowners.
Deer Resistant Plants
As a Bergen County homeowner, your landscape may be vulnerable to deer grazing on tender plants.
Pieris, a shade-loving evergreen, has broad green leaves and clusters of drooping blooms in white, pink or rose in the spring. Toad lilies bloom in late summer and early fall with small lavender blooms.
Astilbe, columbine and lungwart come in an array of vivid colors. All of these varieties are plants that deer avoid.
Winter Season (December – February)
Cold Northern New Jersey winters make it difficult to do much planting, but there are some hardy winter plants that bloom throughout the winter season when planted in the fall.
During the winter, your landscape will show less color and more interesting textures displayed by tree bark, evergreen leaves, brightly colored berries and subtle blooms.
The seasonal planting guide for winter is limited, but here are some winter-blooming beauties:
- Christmas Rose – If you’re looking for a special plant that will add winter beauty, plant Christmas rose in shady spots along your front walkway to welcome holiday guests. This winter plant blooms from December through March with sturdy stems gracefully rise above snowfalls. Plant this perennial in the spring for winter blooms.
- Evergreen Camellias – Like an unexpected gift, some varieties of evergreen camellias will surprise you with a showy display of rose-like blossoms in the middle of January. Plants can grow up to 10 feet tall and many live from 50 to 100 years. Talk to a Bergen County landscape company, like Borst Landscape & Design, about varieties of winter-blooming camellias.
- Flowering Quince – Flowering quince is a great winter plant that produces a show of reddish colored blossoms during the winter. Plants are virtually indestructible and tolerate extreme winter temperatures and neglect. This deciduous thorny shrub grows up to eight feet wide, so it creates a great natural fencing or landscape barrier. Flowering Quince should be planted in the spring or fall for winter blooms.
- Snowdrop – When most other plants go dormant or hide from winter’s chill, snowdrop produces elegant white blooms in late winter. Snowdrop is lovely in garden beds, window boxes, containers or under taller shrubs. Bulbs should be planted in the fall for winter blooms.
- Winterberry – Winterberry is a deciduous version of holly. These winter plants lose their leaves in late fall, then display sprays of bright red berries against bare stalks. Winterberry should be planted in the spring or fall for winter blooms.