Time to plant seasonal favorites
By Michelle Thompson
Finally, we have some cooler fall weather. I’ve been able to get out in my yard and get some much-needed maintenance started instead of just focusing on watering plants and containers.
With the cooler weather I’m more motivated to get out in my garden which starts me thinking about some changes I might want to make. Which perennials need to be divided or moved? Are there new plants I want to try and where can I plant them? What seeds for spring blooming plants should I plant now?
Although warm season annuals (also called tender annuals) are looking better now, most won’t survive our winter frosts. So now consider what cool season planting options are available. With the decline of tender annuals, the cool season annuals (also called hardy annuals) add some garden color.
A trip to a nursery or garden center is in order for cool season annuals, fall perennials and late winter and spring blooming bulbs. Consider some eye-catching color combinations that are pleasing when combined for your container plantings.
Biennial seeds to plant now include bluebonnet, poppy and larkspur seeds. Wildflower seed blends and sweet pea can be planted now. Flowering natives like blue mist, gulf coast penstemon, gay feather (liatris), golden rod, Mexican hat and prostrate winecup get a head start with a fall sowing.
Avoid planting seeds too deeply. The seeds that germinate will spend winter as small plants developing nice root systems which gives them a head start over spring planted seeds. After planting, water with a soluble fertilizer.
The most bloom for your buck comes with planting cool season annuals. Planted in October and November most will live through the spring providing color until temperatures get too hot. I noticed neighbors who planted cool season flowering annuals had pops of color in their garden beds for periods lasting well over six months.
Fall cool season annuals to plant now include, baby’s breath, calendula, carnations, dianthus, dusty miller, geraniums, lobelia, nasturtium, Osteospermum (African daisy), petunia, primroses, snapdragon, stock, sweet alyssum, and ornamental cabbage and flowering kale which provide nice foliar color and texture. It’s not too late to start those plants from seeds if you prefer.
Wait until November to plant pansies, violas and cyclamen transplants which do better in cooler conditions.
Michelle Thompson is a Galveston County Master Gardener and is a member of Heritage Gardeners of Friendswood. She served as President 2018-2020.