Just because it’s September doesn’t mean gardening and beauty are over. Here are my top 11 amazing things that are happening right now. September gardening at its fullest!

September Gardening – 11 Amazing Things To Watch For!

  1. Migration
  2. Fall flowers
  3. Extra butterflies
  4. Lots of Hummingbirds
  5. Chimney Swifts & Common Nighthawks
  6. American Goldfinch activity
  7. Fledglings at the feeders
  8. Fall leaf change begins
  9. Insect orchestra
  10. Possible fall arrivals
  11. Fall Harvest

I so love this time of year! I do believe it is equal to my love of spring. So many things to watch for, so many exciting things happening, and those wonderful cooler nights!

These 11 things are what September gardening is all about! Included are ways you can help make it grand!

1. Migration

September Gardening Amazing things to watch for gardening by month migration

Bird migration is at its peak! It’s so exciting to watch birds enter my yard to rest, eat, or pass through that I usually wouldn’t see.

If you have many native plants, flowers, shrubs, and trees, you’ll see these fantastic migrating birds stop in. Feeders filled with a quality seed like sunflowers, Nyger, white millet, and safflower help too!

This is another reason that I stop deadheading my flowers around the beginning to mid-September, so these birds can eat the seeds. I will clip a flower or two to keep for seeds, and let the birds eat the rest!

If you also have native shrubs and trees with berries, you’ll see a massive amount of birds stopping by to have a feast. This is the perfect time to grab your camera and get some beautiful photos!

September gardening is for the birds. 🙂

2. Fall flowers

September Gardening Amazing things to watch for gardening by month fall flowers

Fall is just spring #2, I always say! Those beautiful blooms aren’t done yet just because summer is coming to an end.

Look for the flowers that last until frost, or those that don’t even start blooming until the fall.

Flowers like sedum, goldenrod, asters, dahlias, and chrysanthemums are beginning to show color. While our garden phlox, petunias, zinnias, Rudbeckia, and cosmos are still showing their beauty!

All are great for pollinators like bees and butterflies and also feed the birds when they pass through.

And, of course, all of these beauties are great for us to enjoy. September gardening makes my heart smile.

If you don’t have any fall flowers, make sure you find a great supplier and stock up! I prefer Botanical Interests, Eden Brothers, Joyful Butterfly, Swallowtail Garden Seeds, or Nature Hill’s Nursery.

3. Extra butterflies

September Gardening Amazing things to watch for gardening by month extra butterflies

I have so many butterflies visiting my flowers from late summer to fall! Especially those warm September days!

Just look at your flowers, and you may see species of butterflies stopping for a meal that you’ve never seen before.

Migrating Monarchs are passing through right now (at least in the Midwest!), as are migrating Painted Ladies.

You may also see butterflies on animal droppings, mud puddles, or your compost pile.

If you’ve made a butterfly puddler, it will be very active in September!

Don’t have many nectar favorites for these butterflies? Then make sure to make plans to have some next year. It’s incredible to watch your yard fill with these flying jewels!

Some of their fall favorites include:

  • Non-spreading butterfly bush
  • Zinnia
  • Cosmos
  • Sedum
  • Lantana
  • Goldenrod
  • New England aster
  • Pentas
  • Sunflowers
  • Sneezeweed
  • Coneflower

Several of these plants can be purchased now online or at your favorite pesticide-free garden center.

September gardening includes fall flower planting!

4. Lots of Hummingbirds

September Gardening Amazing things to watch for gardening by month lots of hummingbirds
Photo Courtesy of Patricia Friedrich

Oh, the joy of migrating hummingbirds! If you have feeders hung and flowers in your yard, you’re bound to see a whole bunch of them in September!

I know yellow jackets are in abundance this month too, and they may be bombarding your feeders.

I have personally found the feeders that are all red and without the flowers at the holes will keep the wasps away. They will try to visit, but can’t figure it out or can’t see it. Whatever the reason, those feeders work!

I always see my hummingbirds dart around my flower gardens searching for nectar, but this month is extra busy.

They stop at almost all of my flowers, but they’re favorites seem to be:

  • Bee Balm (if still blooming)
  • Butterfly bush
  • Mountain mint
  • Petunia
  • Impatient
  • Trumpet Honeysuckle
  • Penstemon
  • Jewelweed
  • Zinnia
  • Cleome
  • Firecracker plant
  • Salvia

Garden centers (especially online) still offer most of these for sale for your September gardening needs!

Shop for your Lilacs at NatureHills.com

Rule of thumb: PLEASE keep those hummingbird feeders up until at least 10 days PAST your last sighting. I keep mine up far past that just in case there are stragglers.

Also, please, no red dye!

5. Chimney Swifts & Common Nighthawks

September Gardening Amazing things to watch for gardening by month chimney swifts, purple martins, and common nighthawks
Photo courtesy of John Longhenry

September in the Midwest is perfect for watching these birds flock together to prepare for migrating south.

I will often see squadrons of them in the September sky, darting around to catch insects with all of their acrobatic skills.

Look up at the right time, and you can see anywhere from 50 to a couple thousand of these beauties flying overhead!

A quick internet search for your area might even have a festival or bird-watching event highlighting one of these birds and their enormous migrating flock. It’s spectacular to see!

So part of your September gardening tasks is simply to look up! And if your yard is chemical-free, you’re more likely to see this yearly phenomenon!

6. American Goldfinch activity

September Gardening Amazing things to watch for gardening by month American Goldfinch activity

The beautiful American Goldfinch nests later than most birds.

They actually wait until late summer to begin their nesting, as they live off of seeds. They especially like the seeds of thistle, Nyger that we feed in feeders, sunflowers, asters, chicory, and many tree seeds.

The goldfinch will also use the soft down of thistle to line their nests. Please note that this is the native thistle plants and not the invasive Bull thistle.

This is a busy time for these sunny delights as they are not only nesting and raising young, but molting into their winter plumage.

You can help by feeding quality sunflower seeds and have a Nyger feeder out for them.

And as always, part of your September gardening includes NOT deadheading your flowers! These cheerful little birds will be feasting on them for sure!

7. Fledglings at feeders

September Gardening Amazing things to watch for gardening by month fledglings at feeders
Photo Courtesy of Jeffrey Swider

September gardening includes lots of fledglings at the feeders, so be on the lookout for them!

I still have many youngsters at the feeder this month. Rose-breasted grosbeaks, cardinals, mourning doves, chickadees, tufted titmice, downy woodpeckers, nuthatches, and house finches, just to name the bulk of them.

Even if the parents have started migrating (like the grosbeaks), the fledglings will still hang around and eat. So please do include good quality food at your feeders!

Sometimes it’s hard to tell which is the adult and which is the fledgling. Watching them for a few minutes will usually solve that mystery as most of them are rather clumsy or can’t figure out where to find the feeder’s food at first try.

They’re fun to watch and so sweet! I love the fledglings!

8. Fall leaf change begins

September Gardening Amazing things to watch for gardening by month fall leaf change begins

Oh, how I love the bright, beautiful leaves in the fall!

It starts in the Midwest around the end of September, and depending on the kind of weather and rain we’ve had, the colors can be absolutely glorious!

Chlorophyll is what gives us the summer color, but without that beautiful green we have a different kind of beautiful… Those gorgeous fall colors.

And with the color change and falling leaves comes that smell that is just heavenly to me. It’s one of my favorite fragrances… fall leaves. Love!

The fallen leaves are also a perfect fertilizer, protectant, and pollinator hibernation station.

So please do your September garden a huge favor and leave the leaves!

9. Insect orchestra

September Gardening Amazing things to watch for gardening by month insect orchestra

Most of our insect population is silent, yet many of the ones that make the music can be heard loud and strong in September.

I absolutely love listening to the crickets, grasshoppers, and other music makers. It’s a fantastic orchestra of sounds!

If you’re unfamiliar with what you’re hearing, there are many resources to help you identify the insect with the sound.

While you’re busy with your September gardening, you’ll see these music-makers hiding out if you watch closely.

10. Possible fall arrivals

September Gardening Amazing things to watch for gardening by month possible fall arrivals

Fall is a great time to be on the lookout for fall and winter bird arrivals in your September garden.

In the Midwest, native sparrows may show up again and maybe even some early Juncos.

Depending on your location, certain finches or Pine Siskins may appear. Also, if they don’t stay in your area year-round, the Red-breasted Nuthatches will probably arrive.

Sometimes we have an abundance of fall and winter arrivals show up if there’s an irruption. That’s always fun!

So make sure your feeders are full, your plants and spent flowers are left until mid-April, and your binoculars are out to enjoy the fun arrivals!

11. Fall harvest

September Gardening Amazing things to watch for gardening by month fall harvest

Your September gardening may be full of different squash varieties, pumpkins, gourds, and other cool-weather vegetables, which is fantastic!

I’ve learned why some of my vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and spinach doesn’t do as well in the super hot summer… they like it cooler!

And this is great for me, as it extends my growing season and keeps those fresh veggies coming long after the summer harvest is over.

If you want some fall bounty, give some of these a try:

  • Cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kale
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Leeks
  • Radishes
  • Cauliflower
  • Peas
  • Certain lettuces
  • Onions

So many to choose from to keep the fresh food coming in! Then, of course, you can preserve your vegetables in the form of freezing, canning, and pickling to enjoy all winter long.

I love fall harvest!

There really is so much going to keep you busy with September gardening. Your yard is active and alive with wildlife, vegetable growing, and fall beauty.


What are some of your favorite September things? Leave a comment below! 🙂

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