For much of the United States, autumn usually means a transition into chillier temperatures. However, you can still extend the growth season for parts of your garden by investing in one or more of these autumnal-blooming plants.
If you want large flower heads to fill your dinner table vase, Fine Gardening contributor Suzanne McIntire recommends dahlias.
Sometimes referred to as “the peonies of fall,” dahlias bloom from summer until the first frost. According to Mary Dyer with GardeningKnowHow.com, this plant classifies as a tender perennial. This means that it is a perennial only if you live in a U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 8 or higher. If you happen to live in a hardiness zone 7 or below, you can either grow dahlias as annuals or dig up the tubers and store them in your basement or garage until spring.
If you live in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 8, The Spruce contributor Marie Iannotti says Japanese anemones are a great staple for a fall cutting garden. Elegant blooms with paper-thin petals similar to poppies characterize this flora. Bloom season for this perennial starts in late summer and continues into the fall until the first frost. Similar to poppies, this plant typically takes a few years to establish itself. After this initial period, it proves to be a low-maintenance plant.
Blue Mist spirea
Blue Mist spirea is another excellent option for adding color to your autumn flower beds. If you live in USDA hardiness zones 8 or 9 and plant them in an area of full sun and well-drained soil, Blue Mist spirea should deliver a brilliant infusion of color in your garden during the early fall. The woody base of Blue Mist spirea has a habit of dying back in the winter like a perennial, causing it to fall into the subshrub category, as McIntire explains. Stems tend to peak at 36 inches but can grow taller in certain zones.
If you prefer the rich hue of purple, then consider incorporating balloon flowers into your landscape. As Iannotti shares, the plant’s name derives from the blooming process of its flowers, which start off as a puff then pop open when they are ready to bloom, similar to how a balloon pops when pricked with a pin. Balloon flowers also come in pink and white varieties, in case you prefer these shades to purple. These plants need minimal care; simply prune them back in the spring or fall. If you live in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 9, this perennial should satisfy your desire for vibrant autumnal blooms.
McIntire suggests adding sunflowers to your fall cutting garden. This annual germinates in summer to produce a bounty of fall colors when the buds open up in early autumn. Hues range from yellow to dark red to multi-color stripes. Full sun, lots of water and fertile soil are the top three environmental ingredients this flora needs to produce a hearty array of blooms. Sunflowers do best in gardens that fall into USDA hardiness zones 3 through 9.
Cultivate any one of these five flowers to round out your fall cutting garden. Make sure to check which USDA plant hardiness zone you reside in to make sure that your selections will thrive in the specific zone you live in.
This article is presented by Don Jacobs Volkswagen in Lexington, Kentucky.