Planting Color for Fall

Just because summer is fading fast doesn’t mean your garden color and excitement has to fade with it. September is a great time to change out those worn out blooming annuals for a fresh harvest look. A standing favorite are fall mums which come in a kaleidoscope of colors from yellows, oranges, reds and bronzes to lavenders, pinks and whites. One of my favorites is the Belgian mum with its giant mounding form. Unlike many other garden varieties, this series doesn’t need to be pruned during the spring and summer months to control its height and shape. It just naturally grows that way year after year if you plant early in full sun and water regularly



Gaining more popularity every year are hardy winter pansies. Planted in early fall, their bright faces smile continuously until a hard freeze shuts down the blooms temporarily. If you planted them in full sun and watered regularly, they will pop right back up, looking toward the sun as soon as temperatures moderate a bit and keep on blooming nicely until the heat of early summer comes.

Fall asters are late summer, early fall bloomers that will brighten a garden spot or pot. They come in blues, purples, pinks, whites and reds. The nice things about asters are that they are hardy perennials and come back year after year.

Ornamental grasses are deer resistant, drought tolerant and come in an array of heights, growing habits, bloom and colors. Many of them are also perennial and require little maintenance except for cutting them back about 6” from the ground at the end of winter.

Although they don’t come back year after year, ornamental cabbage and kale add interest and texture to combo pots and ground beds until late winter to early spring.

Don’t forget black-eyed Susans, coreopsis, sedums and a host of other perennials that will enhance your fall canvas of color. And the changing colors of trees and shrubs can provide another dimension to your fall color plantings.

I hope you have fun and gain healthy benefits planning, shopping for and planting your fall garden whether it’s a large area or simply one pot on your doorstep or patio.

CorepsisAsterPampas GrassSedumBelgian Mum

Published by Debi

I live in Leesburg, Virginia where I teach high school students in the Agriculture Department. Additionaly, I am self-employed as a horticultural consultant and landscape designer. "Beefriend the Bees!" and "Neither Here Nor There" are children's books I wrote and illustrated available from Amazon ( Chaves&x=12&y=25. Other interests include singing and playing my guitar (also have a CD for sale on Amazon called "Gardening Therapy"); walking my American Bulldog, Cloud and Olde English Bulldogge, Sky; staying active in my local church, and blogging on the

10 thoughts on “Planting Color for Fall

  1. I can’t wait for Monroe Tech Fall sale. When will it be? I love the ornamental cabbage mixed in a pot of other fall flowers. The asters and pansies certainly are eye catching along with the mums. Each season seems to bring in its own beauty with it. God graces are landscape every season – what an amazing, awesome landscape designer.

  2. My true ornamental flower- love is the pansy. They never fail to send a heart trickle of pleasure when I open my door week after week, as it gets colder and colder and there they are. Bright and beautiful colors grace my flower bench outside my front door. Only God could have thought up and created the pansy. It is steadfast in its bloom, it is always brilliant in color, it can withstand the snows and frostiness of Fall and Winter. Pansies are loyal and have great integrity. They do their job despite the weather conditions until the scorching summer sun demolishes them. And then I replenish them at the Monroe Tech Garden Sale and we start all over again with the excitement of pure color that they provide. Surely, Pansies give you more bang for your buck.
    I love “other” fall flowers, too but my heart belongs to Pansy.

  3. O, so sad for me to think summer is over. I love SUMMER! I love the flowers and warmth of summer. Your fall flowers shown in the photos are lovely and I am glad there are blooms in the fall as well as summer even if they are cool blooms.

  4. Yes, God is so good to transition us from summer’s abundant blooms to the sparceness of winter by a fall….falling, fading blooms, and falling leaves. I noticed lots of bees arounf the fall flowers. Thankfully the honeybees have this final burst of color to gather their nectars.
    Also MG I was thinking that pansies are good weathermen for us. We can look out the window to see if they are up and blooming or frozen flat to the ground to see how many layers of clothes we may have to put on for the day. And Rena, the Monroe Tech fall plant sale in Leesburg, Va is Sept 16, 17 and 18. I agree with you about the asters and pansies and since you like plants that come back year after year you might want to try a few asters in your garden.

  5. I can’t believe that the summer is over. I love all the seasons for it’s beautiful colors. I was looking at the beautiful mums just the other day. I love how these beautiful flowers look beside a big pumpkin. Debi, thank you for the wonderful advice on the fall flowers.

  6. Are the asters the ball looking flowers in the pic? If not, which ones are they in the above pics? I saw these in my neighbors yard and they look kind of faded. Maybe that is white????

  7. The asters are the second picture from the left /top row/purple with the yellow centers. They stay bright until the flowers fade into brown.
    The flowers bottom row left are sedum and their flowers are a faded pink. Maybe that is what you saw at your neighbors.

  8. Sedums have advantages and disadvantages. There are many varieties, some taller and some that creep on the ground and spread indefinitely. The colors of most varieties are not as brilliant as some other fall flowers. They attract bees and butterflies which is good. Because there are so many bees swarming around them in the fall when they are blooming, I think its a good idea to incorporate them in a border or garden bed or pot away from where people walk or brush past as some people are very sensitive to bee stings. Although the bees are much more interested in the plants than in people.
    Because they have succulent leaves, they are also extremely drought tolerant, requiring little watering. They are virtually pest-free also.

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