The landscape bursts with color in the spring. As late summer and fall arrive, we wonder what different types of flowering plants bloom in late summer and fall to bring a fresh look to the landscape. Chrysanthemums, pansies, flowering kale and flowering cabbage come to mind and are important. Also, consider a few other perennials to extend the bloom period.
Chrysanthemums offer a variety of colors and flower types. Numerous colors are available. The flower color ranges from yellow, white, orange-peach, maroon-red, bright orange, rose-pink, coral, purple, pink, lavender, bronze and red. Depending on the cultivar, chrysanthemums bloom from August to November.
The two common flower forms are single or daisy-like, which has a single or double row of petals surrounding a central eye or decorative and appears to be made up of all petals without a distinctive eye. Sometimes, you will see flowers with petals that look like tubes or petals that look like little spoons.
Chrysanthemums should be planted in a well-drained, sunny location. The roots quickly rot, especially in the winter, if the soil stays wet. In addition, some chrysanthemum cultivars are hardier than others. However, they are certainly worth growing for the fall color even though they may not return next year. Chrysanthemums tolerate a light frost.
Pansies also make a colorful show in the garden. They are available in a wide variety of colors including red, orange, yellow, purple, white, blue, violet-blue, brick red and rosy purple. The flowers may have all the same color or may have a different colored blotch in the center of the bloom. Flower size ranges from 1.5 to 3 inches across, depending on the cultivar.
Pansies perform best under cool temperatures. An advantage of fall-planted pansies is that they often overwinter and bloom again in late winter or early spring. Pansies planted in the fall are larger and stronger than those planted in the spring. As the heat of summer increases, many pansies begin to look scraggly and die.
Pansies perform best planted in full sun. They should be planted by the end of September to give them time to establish a good root system before the soil temperature decreases. Pansies can be planted in between summer annuals so that when they fade and are removed, the pansies are ready to make a show.
Try pansies in containers to bring color to the patio, deck, window box or porch for the fall. I have enjoyed pansies in a container next to my door. Since the pot is in a protected area to prevent the soil from freezing, my pansies have wintered over and bloomed again in late winter.
Flowering kale and cabbage are unique, sun-loving annuals, which tolerate a light frost. Depending on the variety, the heads may be 12 or more inches across. The height of the plants ranges from 12 to 24 inches. The color of the leaves inside the head may be white or red surrounded by light or dark green leaves. As the temperature becomes cooler, the center leaves intensify in color.
Kale varieties may have feather-like leaves finely cut or deeply notched with edges that are finely ruffled or slightly waved. Flowering cabbage may have smooth-edged leaves.
Flowering kale and cabbage are available as transplants. Watch for larvae feeding on the leaves. Products containing bacillus thuringiensis will manage many of the damaging larvae when they are small.
Frikart's aster (Aster x frikartii) is a perennial that blooms in late summer to fall. The flowers are 2 to 3 inches across. The flower color may be lavender to lavender-blue with a yellow center. Frikart's aster prefers well-drained soil and full sun. The plant height ranges from 2 to 3 feet. The taller cultivars may require staking to keep them from falling over. Large groupings of Frikart's aster make a visual impact in the garden.
Japanese anemone (Anemone x hybrida) is a spreading perennial blooming in the late season. It prefers a well-drained soil and tolerates partial shade. The foliage forms a low-growing mound, which may reach about 12 inches in height depending on the cultivar. Tall flower stems allow the blossoms to gracefully tower over the foliage and give a light, airy feeling to the landscape. During flowering, the plant height may range from 2 to 4 feet, depending on the cultivar. Several blossoms appear per stem. Flower colors include white, pink and rose. 'Honorine Jobert' has single white flowers that are 2 to 3 inches across. This cultivar reaches 3 to 4 feet in height during flowering. The plant may be available only in the spring.
A landscaping idea with these plants is to arrange them in groups of the same type. Groupings of 3 to 5 of the same plant makes a bigger impact of color in the landscape than single plants spread throughout the garden.
For pansies, a nice show is made when eight or more plants are grouped together. Space pansy plants 8 to 12 inches apart in the group.
For more information about these plants, contact the Daviess County Cooperative Extension Service at 270-685-8480.
To help control fruit flies, all potential breeding areas (ripening fruits or vegetables) must be located, cleaned and/or eliminated. Then, construct a trap by placing a paper funnel, rolled from a sheet of paper, into a jar that is baited with a few ounces of cider vinegar or a few slices of banana.
Annette Meyer Heisdorffer is the Daviess County extension agent for horticulture. Her column runs weekly on the Home & Garden page in Lifestyle. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.