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Continue Summer Color Straight Through Fall

How are your annuals looking? If they made it this far into the season, consider yourself lucky. If they’re starting to look tired, it’s late enough in the season that, rather than spend money on replacing summer plants, you can change them out for fall annuals.

Chrysanthemums, undoubtedly, pop into your mind when you think of fall flowers. Mums are nice, especially in the striking fall hues that are available today. In mid-August, however, you might consider mixing some bright colored mums in with the more muted fall colors. After all, they will probably be with you for quite a while. If you give mums plenty of sun and water, but not too much of either, you can expect up to six weeks of blooms.

You can have the longest flower display if you select plants with the buds just starting to open. You want to see a bit of color peeking out but not fully developed flowers. You can expect better performance if you select hardy or fall mums. But hardy doesn’t mean that they will last through the winter in our climate. Further south they will but not here.

Many people who buy mums for containerized display repot them as soon as they get them home. Nurseries plant them to present a striking display in the store but as they grow they get crowded. For best performance, repot them into a container that’s twice as big around as the original pot.

While chrysanthemums are certainly the most popular fall flowering annuals, they aren’t the only ones. Pansies and violas rank right up there, too. Fall pansies and violas can be planted in September and continue through October. They can survive fall frosts and even hard freezes. Further south than zone 6, they can survive all winter and bloom into April and May. Here in our zones 5 and 6 it becomes a little tricky because they won’t survive sustained temperatures below 25ºF.

There are several perennials that also provide fall color and grow back every year. They include asters, purple coneflower, yellow daisies and Autumn Joy sedum. These are easy to grow, don’t have to be replanted every year and don’t require much maintenance during the season. Unlike mums, pansies and violas, these fall perennials grow quite tall.

You don’t have to depend on turning leaves to provide fall color in your landscape. As you can see, you have a good choice of fall blooming annuals and perennials. You don’t have to put your green thumb away the day after Labor Day; trips to the garden store can be as exciting and fun in the fall as they are in spring.

One comment on “Continue Summer Color Straight Through Fall

  1. It would be nice if summer annuals lasted until it is time to replace them with winter annuals. Chrysanthemums and their friends are nice for arid climates in which summer annuls may not last quite as long as they should. It is a great climate here, just arid.

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