Fall Flowers

Fall Flowers

By Paul Schnare

Monday, September 8, 2003

At this time flowers in your landscape may be suffering from heat, drought, diseases, and insects brought on by summer weather.  You may want to replace those well worn flowers with some that are new, fresh, and blend in with fall colors. 

Traditionally, gardeners in the Heartland have planted mums and pansies in the fall.  There is nothing wrong with these flowers, but I would like to suggest a few more that you may use in your landscape. 

Dianthus is usually planted early in the spring because it blooms all summer long.  This hardy annual is also a good plant to use in the fall.  It will withstand some frost late in the fall, and because it fairly hardy, it may even overwinter until next spring. 

Another flower usually planted in the spring is rose moss.  Don’t overlook this beauty for fall planting.  Usually it comes as a mixture of colors.  It likes dry sunny sites.  The foliage is destroyed after a hard frost in the late fall.  Don’t disturb the soil where you have planted rose moss.  Dropped seed quite often will germinate in the spring, and your rose moss bed will be just as beautiful next spring as it was this fall.

In addition to dianthus and rose moss, there is a group of plants called Fall Magic and marketed by Proven Winners.  The first of these is Bracteantha.  The yellow and orange bloom resembles a straw flower.  This makes a great focal point for the center of a hanging basket. 

Several varieties of Osteospermum display fall colors.  Their daisy like flowers come several electric shades of orange and yellow.  These also make a great focal point in the center of a hanging basket. 

If you like little petunias, you will love Calibrachoa.  Million bells, remind you of little petunias that look like hanging bells that cascade over the edge of hanging baskets.  They grow rapidly, look great all of the time, and require no dead heading like petunias. 

If you want to ad some colorful foliage to accent the blooms described above, select Vinca major ‘Wojos Gem’.  This cascading ground cover has yellow and green variegated leaves that set off any bloom that is planted with.

If you want a green, cascading foliage that also sports beautiful blue blooms, use plumbago, or leadwort.  This perennial plant will enhance any orange or yellow flower you plant with it.

Finally if you like a foliage that is somewhat upright, use Salvia officinalis ‘Tricolor’.  The green and white leaf is a great filler plant to place around Osteospermum in a planter.

If you want to spruce up your landscape in the fall, try some of the suggestion made above.  Most of them will take some frost, and many of them will return next spring to enhance your garden yet another year.