As summer comes to an end and the weather grows chilly, it is sad to see gardens lose their color as flowers disappear. That doesn’t have to happen! Whether you live in a house with a sprawling garden or in an apartment with limited pot space, you can add color outside that will flourish throughout the fall. For this time of year, three of the best plants include ornamental cabbage, pansies and chrysanthemums, said Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Lucy Edwards, a regional home grounds agent.
Ornamental Cabbage is perfect as the focal point of any container display when surrounded by smaller, filler plants. The large leafy greens, which can vary in texture, and a purple, pink, red, green or white center will add a bright pop of color, and are easy to maintain throughout the fall months.
Pansies Edwards said, are a traditional flower found in many gardens all across the south in their typical violet, yellow and white variations. Thriving well both alone and in mixed plantings, the small size of pansies work as filler when accompanied by similarly maintenance flowers in partial sun.
(Photo courtesy of Anjo Kan/Shutterstock.com)
Chrysanthemums have proven themselves to be an ideal flower to pair with pumpkins and holiday decorations based on their range of fall colors from yellow, red, white and bronze. Normally found in potted displays, chrysanthemums are also plantable in a garden, and as perennials they will return year after year as long as they are protected from a freeze. Their bright colors and full sun exposure make them easy to maintain on a front porch or walkway.
When it comes to potted plants, there are a few requirements for your flowers to bloom successfully:
(1) Make sure your pots are large enough for your flowers to grow to their full potential and not suffocate each other,
(2) Ensure your container comes equipped with drainage holes,
(3) Use potting soil with strong water holding capacity to keep your flowers from dying out. Edwards says, “Every home can have fall color. It may take a little planning and creativity, but it is definitely possible.”
(Photo courtesyTania Zbrodku/Shutterstock.com)
Pro Tip: To protect your annuals from an approaching freeze, lightly layer with pine straw.
If you find your flowers struggling to survive despite your best efforts, contact the Alabama Extension office in your county.
Based on proven Master Gardener training and seasoned with university research, the “Gardening in the South” series of books is packed with information, tips and tricks to being a successful Southern gardener.
Have a gardening question? Call the Master Gardener Helpline. To reach the helpline, dial 1-877-252-GROW (4769).