Now is the time to prowl garden centers and nurseries for bargains.

Most people shop for trees, shrubs and perennials in the spring because they are out buying annuals anyway, plus they’re excited about the new gardening season. But for the health of the plants, the fall is just as good a time, if not better.

If you think about it, it’s obvious why plants cost less now: the nurseries don’t want to have to prepare their plants for winter storage nor pay to tend them during the off-season. To avoid that situation, they offer fairly deep discounts now.

This Variegated Solomon’s Seal, shown here settling into its new garden home, was selling for 30 percent off at Allen, Sterling & Lothrop in Falmouth in September. Photo by Peggy Grodinsky

Planting instructions are the same as in the spring. Dig a hole just as deep as root ball or container and twice as wide. Fill the hole with water and let it drain. Put the plant in the hole, fill it in with soil and water again. Keep watering regularly until the ground freezes. Having grown in pots all summer, the roots of your tree, shrub or perennial may have become pot-bound. If so, gently break up the roots with a trowel or knife and spread them out before you plant.

If you are looking for a specific plant, keep in mind it may be sold out by this late in the season. But you can probably find something else you like.

And while you’re buying, you can think about all the new plants that will be showing up in your garden come spring.

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