Introduction to Fall Flower Gardens:
Most gardeners strive for a stunning spring and summer flower display, but many often overlook fall gardens. There are a lot of plants that spend the entire year growing and storing up, just so they can welcome in the fall months with brilliant colors and foliage. Fall flowers are just as beautiful and vibrant as their cousins who rush to bloom first. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to add variety to your garden throughout the latter half of the year.
So you are interested in fall flower gardens, but you’re not quite sure how to get started. This is not uncommon! As I mentioned in the opening, most people put all their energy into the garden for the spring and summer months, leaving the fall as a time for maintenance and housekeeping. That’s not to say you won’t have work to do in your garden before the winter sets in, but while you are cleaning up all those early bloomers, there are still plenty of things you can do to make the color last well into the fall months. For those of you who don’t know, let’s go through some of the basics of fall gardening.
Preparing Fall Flower Gardens:
1: Pruning Shrubs: The fall is an excellent time to prune all those shrubs that have spent the whole year growing and flowering. In the fall most shrubs are winding down their growth cycle so this is the best time to clean them up and shape them if needed, and get them ready for their dormant cycle over the winter.
2: Divide & Replant Bulbs: Most people know the best time of the year for planting bulbs is in the fall, leaving them at least 6 good weeks of temperate weather before the freezing temps set in. This will give them plenty of time to develop solid roots so they can survive the winter and come back in the spring. While you are doing this, it’s also a good time to separate and divide up your existing summer blooming bulbs and rhizomes such as irises. Keep in mind that irises need only be divided every 2 to 3 years.
3: Get Your Seeds in Order: If you are growing certain perennials from seeds in your fall gardens, you are going to want to get them in the ground now. Sow the seeds according to the package directions and give them a generous layer of mulch to help protect them over the winter. This is also the time when you will need to collect the seeds from your annuals, if you intend on saving them until the next growing season.
4: Dig Up Those That Won’t Survive: If you have gladiolas, dahlias, or other plants that are tender, this is the time you will want to dig them up and bring the bulbs/rhizomes inside. These plants will not be part of your fall flower gardens. Begonias you can bring inside for the winter and grow them as houseplants.
Options for Fall Flower Gardens:
Now anyone that grows and maintains a garden knows there is far more work than that, but we are not going to get into the nitty gritty too much in this article, after all, this is about fall gardens, not fall WORK! So let’s identify some of the plants that will add color and texture to your fall gardens.
Sunflowers: Sunflowers are common in fall flower gardens because they start their growth cycle during the late summer months and can actually survive until the first frost. These make excellent choices for fall gardens.
Mums: Mums are almost always included in fall flowers. In fact you can always tell fall is close at hand because nurseries and garden centers everywhere will start stocking trays of mums in every color imaginable.
Adding Color to Your Fall Flower Gardens:
Asters: Asters are very similar to daisies in appearance and they come in a number of different species and colors for you to choose from. These plants also start their growth cycle at the end of summer, which means you can use these to really add a lot of color to your fall flowers.
Impatiens: Impatiens are more of a summer flower, but in certain regions these delicate flowers will continue to bloom into the fall months. These make wonderful transitional plants for fall flower gardens because they start their blooms early and will help welcome in the fall months with terrific style. Impatiens are available in a wide range of colors including orange, purple, white, and pink, and red. These are short plants that tend to grow outwards and cover a lot of ground, so make sure you give them ample space among your fall flowers.
Marigolds: Marigolds are widely loved as a fall flower because of their diversity and large assortment of colors and species. Did you know that there are over 50 species of marigolds that you can choose from? You are sure to find one you like in that lot. Some marigolds are annuals, while others are perennials, so make sure you choose the right one for your application. You certainly don’t want to spend money on something you expect to come back the following year, only to be disappointed when it doesn’t. The best thing you can do when designing fall gardens is to plan ahead!
More Plants for Fall Flower Gardens:
Petunias: Petunias are another one of those gorgeous little annuals that will begin blooming in the summer months, and carry over into the fall. You can mix these with impatiens to start off your fall garden with some stunning color. Petunias pretty much grows anywhere within reason, so they are difficult to mess up. You can start them early indoors so they bloom sooner, or start them at the end of spring so they bloom later in the year. You can even grow these beauties in containers and set them on your porch or deck, or around your garden!
Here are a few other fall flowers that you can research and see if they will work in your fall flower gardens also:
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