More Plants For Fall Color...

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This article provides a list of plants and trees that add fall color in southern landscapes
by Brett · All Zones · Landscape Gardens · 0 Comments · September 16, 2011 · 20,481 views

Garden Mums & Dendranthemas

When fall arrives, it's hard not to regret the passing of all the summer blooms...but not to fear, Fall Garden Mums are here!

Hundreds of cultivars of garden mums can provide an array of colors and bloom shapes in the fall garden. The blooms last for weeks or even over a month, not days, depending on the variety and the weather. The sheer number of flowers per plant is enough to convince anyone that this flowering perennial really likes to show off. Dendranthema, an old-fashioned long-lived hardy family of mums are resurging in popularity. As with Chrysanthemums, Dendrantemas will bloom for well over a month and are extremely hardy and consistent fall bloomers. Add the mums impressionistic abilities to its longevity, and you have a plant that pulls it's weight in the garden year after year.

Because of their tight, mounded habit and stunning bloom color, mums are perfect for mass planting in garden beds. To get the maximum effect from mums that will be viewed from further away, plant one or two varieties. If the planting will be viewed up close, plant as many varieties as you like for a wild and interesting effect. When selecting mums to plant in your yard, choose colors that will compliment the colors of your home, structures in surrounding areas, and other plants nearby.

Mums can also be planted in containers. The one's you plant in containers can be removed at the end of their bloom cycle and planted in garden beds, where they will return year after year.

As with many other herbaceous perennial plants, mums do not like wet feet. Whether planting in garden beds or containers, make sure to provide good soil drainage. They prefer growing in well-drained, loose soils and sites that provide full sun. A little shade in the afternoon won't hurt them, especially in hotter climates.

Mums are very easy to grow and maintain. They contain a natural insect repellent so bugs aren't a problem. You can feed them in spring with a good flower food when new growth begins to emerge. Prune them in early summer (July 4th is a good date in zone 8), but only if they've become leggy or are forming buds. Dead foliage can be removed in winter. That's about all the care they might require. SEE: How To Prune Mums

Pansies & Violas

The first time most beginning gardeners hear of pansies, and their miniature cousins: violas, and that you can plant them in the fall to grow and bloom throughout the entire winter, they can't believe it. Newbie gardeners can't understand how a flowering annual plant that looks so tender can withstand the cold, much less bloom in it. But, thank goodness, they do!

Pansies and Violas come in a wide array of colors and and bloom types and sizes. Generally, pansies have larger blooms while violas have smaller blooms. Some are bicolor with very cute "faces" (blotches) or "wings", while others are solid in color.

There are also the new trailing pansies, such as the Cool Wave Series (pictured right), which are a cross-hybrid of pansies and violas. These are the first ever reliable trailing pansies, and one of the most cold hardy. We tested the Cool Wave Pansies in our trial gardens last year and were amazed at their performance. They bloomed their socks off all winter and grew equally as well in containers and hanging baskets, where they will spill up to 2 feet over the edges, as in flowerbeds and you can space them at 10-12 inches apart verses 4 to 5 inches apart as with standard pansies.

Whether you are planting pansies or violas pots or in flowerbeds, remember these three basic things:

1 - Pansies and violas like well-drained soil - constantly soggy soil is a killer.

2 - Pansies and violas prefer and will perform much better when fed with a specialty "Pansy Food" that contains "nitrate" form of nitrogen (the first number in fertilizer).

3 - Pansies like as much sun as you can give them, but will tolerate a light amount of shade. Since they'll be blooming during the cool season, you can plant them under large trees that have lost their leaves.

Another cool thing about pansies is that they are edible - Yes, you can eat them! Try mixing the flowers in a salad for a tasty and colorul addiition. Some varieties have a pleasant scent as well.


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