Most people think spring when they think planting. But fall is actually an ideal time for planting most spring-blooming bulbs, cool-season vegetables, perennials, trees, and shrubs. Summer’s heat is behind, the soil is still warm, and the next few months bring the promise of rain. There are many different autumn flowers that will continue to bloom in your yard throughout the coming months and provide your yard with a beautiful surge of fall color.
Here are our favorite flowers (and a few flower-like plants) for fall planting—plus tips for planting them.
Garden Mums – Garden mums carry the season with classic autumn hues of orange, gold, russet, and bronze. The most popular flower form is the “decorative,” which is so crammed with long, broad petals that you can hardly see the center.
Flowering Cabbage – This is a particularly clever option because they will continue to remain in your yard long after every other flower has been killed by the frost.
Beautyberry – Include native beautyberry in your landscape for a one-of-a-kind fall accent: bright purple berries.
Oak Leaf Hydrangea – This shrub-to-small-tree doesn’t disappoint with fiery leaf tints and fading flowers in pink shades.
Pansies – This annual is versatile in the garden and looks equally enchanting in containers or planting beds. Pansies can even bounce back from light frosts, making them perfect contenders for adding cool-season color.
Ornamental Kale – This plant brings bold shades of white and purple to your landscape’s subdued seasons of fall and early winter. This is an ornamental plant; although the leaves can be eaten, they’re really only good for garnish or as a base for such dishes as egg salad or hors-d’oeuvres.
Caryopteris – Continue the purple theme with caryopteris, which opens lavender-hued blooms in late summer and fall.
Russian Sage – Perennial Russian sage forms drifts of purple atop grey-green leaves.
So, when should I plant them?
The window for fall planting ends about six weeks before your we are hit with a hard frost. So, it depends on the weather and region.
That being said, now is a great time for fall flower planting in Pennsylvania. The ground is not quite as warm and we have had a few rainy days to prepare the soil. The window for planting with a fall flower can be especially small, so pay attention to the forecast and ensure that your flowers won’t undergo unneeded weather-related stress.
Some Tips for Arranging Your Plants
While most people focus on color schemes, especially when landscaping front yards for fall, color is but just one consideration to give your garden a professional look. The texture and size of the plants should be taken into consideration when planning out your arrangements. For example, visual interest is achieved by putting a relatively small-leafed, more delicate plant, such as chrysanthemums, next to a plant bearing larger leaves, such as the coarse-looking ornamental kales and flowering cabbages.