Are you craving pumpkins, apple picking, cinnamon scented candles, bonfires, or chunky knit sweaters? The time of year is full of seasonal activities to drain every last ounce of outside enjoyment before the winter sets in. While the trees will do their own part to color our world in just a few short weeks time, it is the fall annual plantings that add the compliment to planters, and garden beds. As the perennials tire, a display of fall flowers can add a face lift to the aging gardens. Here are some favorites and some new must tries.
1. Common Pansy
The pansy can come in a wide range of colors and mixes that bring out the best compliment to your tree leaf blazes. With names like Citrus Mix, which is a combination of yellow, white, and orange or Halloween Mix that is orange and almost black. The colorful display and long-lasting blooms are among my favorite things about pansies. The best part is that if planted in the Fall and covered for the winter, a pansy display can often come back full force in the spring. The plants are often even flowering well into the time when summer annuals are ready to be planted. A great way to get some early spring color before everything else gets going!
2. Hardy Mum
These floriferous color shockers epitomize the Fall. A 6 in pot can often be all that is needed to adorn a stoop. They range in color from yellow, red, maroon, orange, pink, white and lavender. If you find them overwinter, make sure to pinch them back (aka cut the tops off so buds don’t form to early) in the summer to make sure that the flowers are displayed later in the Fall.
3. Ornamental Kale or Cabbage
You wouldn’t want to eat it, but the display is right out of the cabbage patch. Purples, greens, and multicolored displays can provide filler to the flower pot as well as in a bed setting. Names like Peacock red pictured above, or how about a fun one called Dinosaur Kale because of its bumpy texture.
4. Ornamental Pepper
This is one of my favorites and the Sangria variety picture above is one of the new varieties being sold by our supplier RCOP. I love the added texture of the peppers, that you can’t get with very many other plants. This is a perfect addition to containers.
6. Ornamental Grass
The sky is the limit on what types of grasses you can add. Proportion is important to keep in mind in selecting. Often, if your regular planter display has used some grasses as the focal point, they can remain throughout the Fall and the filler plants can be changed out. Sometimes it is fun to use crazier varieties that can’t be grown in the midwest over winter. I’ve always loved Imperata ‘Red Baron’ because of the flame like tips the grass blades as seen above. Some interesting newer varieties include Vertigo Pennisetum with purplish grass blades.