It seems hard to imagine that autumn will soon be upon us with its sunny days and low humidity (doesn’t that sound good?). So it is time to be thinking about refurbishing your summer plantings with the beautiful colors of fall. Plants can be planted directly in the ground or in containers. Your local garden centers will be happy to help you find the plants you need. Some of the typical plants available include mums (hardy and florist), ornamental cabbage and kale, ornamental peppers, millet, ornamental grasses (annual and perennial), pansies, petunias & calibrachoa, osteospermum & rudbeckia. These all incorporate the beautiful colors of fall in their blooms or leaves. Hardy mums, cabbage/kale, grasses, pansies, petunias, & rudbeckia will also tolerate the cooler temperatures as nights begin to cool down. Keep in mind that almost all of your fall plantings need lots of sun to thrive and will not perform their best in a lot of shade.
For many years, mums have been the signature planting for fall. Make sure they stay watered (should be soaked past the root ball) for best results. Try to water the soil directly and keep the foliage dry as much as possible. If you can occasionally remove the spent blooms, this will encourage the smaller buds to open up rather than letting the blooms all go to seed. Mums planted in the fall have a tougher time overwintering. Plant as soon as possible, use root stimulator, and mulch the ground after it is frozen to maintain the even temperature of the ground during the winter. Make sure that the soil area you are planting in has well- draining soil.
Florist mums generally prefer to be above 50 degrees Farenheit and will have the much showier blooms. They are not hardy for winter temperatures but make a great gift for a touch of fall color in a showy unique bloom.
Ornamental cabbage/kale, grasses and pansies will survive the cooler temperatures of mid-autumn better than any of the other choices and make a very colorful display during the harvest season.
Keep in mind that many of your perennials that prefer the cooler weather may now come into nice bloom again before frost and add that special touch of color again to your landscape. So things like dianthus, primrose, columbine, etc. will likely come ‘back to life’ in celebration of cooler weather. Enjoy the vibrant colors of the season!
This article is sponsored by McNamara at Sand Point, which has 2 acres of production greenhouses, retail florist and gift shop, as well as retail garden center and wholesale plant business. Contact McNamara by calling 260-747-4131 or visit 4322 DeForest Ave, Ft. Wayne, IN 46809.