Late Summer into Fall Bloomers
Late Summer into Fall Bloomers:
Planning ahead for continuous color from summer into fall.
It’s late summer. It’s hot and dry, but who doesn’t still want a beautiful garden full of color regardless? When it comes to having the perfect garden, planning ahead can be the key to success! There are a few things you can do to keep your summer garden in fine condition to get the most out of this year’s spring planting.
1) Water- don’t forget to keep an eye out for dry, drooping plants. Many summer bloomers are very hardy and can take some abuse, but a few witlings may slow down their growth and bloom production. This is a survival mechanism that saves energy so the plant can make it through to better weather. So, remember to check your plant on a minimum of 2 times per week to make sure they do not wilt. A soaker hose or sprinkler can come in handy and make your watering efforts much easier.
2) Deadhead- removing spent blooms prevents your plants from putting energy into making seeds instead of flowers. Unless that is the desired purpose, this is a simple step that can not only give you more color, but make your garden look so much neater.
3) Weed- weeds compete with all of your plants for water, sun, space and nutrients. Without that competition, your flowers will bloom all the more! If you’re worried about working out in the heat, you can always plan to weed early in the morning or even later in the day. Another suggestion, use Preen on existing beds to prevent weeds even before they sprout!
4) Mulch- will create a barrier between the hot sun and the earth thus reducing evaporation and shading the soil to keep it slightly cooler. This will greatly help your war on the weeds as well as your efforts to keep everything watered.
5) Pest control- as all you experienced gardeners already know, late summer is the worst time for pest issues. Many insects can prey in your precious plants making holes and stunting plant growth. Now more than ever is the time to routinely check and deal with any problems that may show.
6) Shop- this is the fun part! Now you can refill any plants that may have succumbed to the heat of the summer, plant your fall crops and get ready for a new season.
Here are some great plant recommendations to help you plan your late summer/fall garden. With these you can transition directly from summer into fall without loosing a day of colorful flowers!
1) Asters- a daisy like, pollinator attracting, late blooming perennial that comes in many varieties. You can use them for borders, cut flowers, or even in a wildflower garden. And many kinds are actually native! This classic beauty boasts colors from white to blue, pink and even purple.
2) Chrysanthemum “Garden Mum”- the all-time, hands down, fall favorite! If left to bloom naturally, these colorful clusters can bloom as early as August (providing you with that late summer color), though most people pinch them off to encourage fall blooms. This cousin of the daisy can be planted anywhere in the sun or used in pots and containers for fall décor. Colors include: White, pink, purple, yellow, orange, red, coral…and even more shades.
3) Echinacea “Coneflower”-a great North American native that has begun to rival even the Chrysanthemum. They can be tall and showy or short, border plants. Local birds love feeding on the seed heads, butterflies LOVE the flowers and they have even been used in aternative medicine. It’s an all-purpose plant with a wide range of uses and great beauty! More colors are developed every year, the most popular being pink, nut can also include: white, red, orange, yellow and even green.
4) Heuchera “Coral Bells”-dazzling fall foliage and delicate summer flowers make this plant a huge favorite and even a great food source for Hummingbirds. They tolerate shade and dry weather rather well. And with such beautiful foliage do they even really need to bloom to be pretty? I think not! Again, a plant that comes in a wide variety of kinds and colors.
5) Rudbeckia “Black Eyed Susan”-another native, just like the Echinacea, that feeds birds, pollinators and does not dissapoint. They mostly come in yellow, but can naturalize themselves into any sunny bed, tolerate some drought and bloom beautifully.
1) Butterfly Bush- as the name implies, will not fail to bring butterflies to your garden. They come in tall and dwarf varieties, colors range from white to shades of pink and purple, and (for those of you woriied about it being invasive) now comes in many lovely sterile varieties.
2) Caryopteris “Blue Beard”-is a small shrub known for it’s beuatifully fragrant foliage and stunning blue blooms. This is a great one for a partial shade enviornment and another favorite of butterfliles. You can crreate a unique hedge or perenial border and wait for all to admire it’s unique blue coloring.
3) Hibiscus “Rose of Sharon”-flowers are big (or small), come in almost every shade of white, pink, purple and blue and are incredibly hardy here in Pennsylvania. It is a plant that can reseed itself (so some care may be needed to prevent it spreading if desired), but the gorgeous blooms look almost tropical and are worth the time and effort! They are great pollinator attracters (that includes Hummingbirds) and boats long lasting, vibrant color.
4) Hydrangea Paniculata - Hydrangea Paniculatas-are late blooming hydrangeas and the most reliable. Some hydrangeas can be hesitant to bloom if the conditions are not right, but not so the Panticulatas! And they boast all the uses and beauty that any other hydrangea has to offer.
5) Summer Spirea- rose bushes and hydrangeas are popular summer blooming shrubs, but don’t overlook the spirea, another flowering bush that thrives in our area. It is actually a cousin of the rose and is even more hardy and easier to grow than it’s famous cousin. Most spirea have white or pink flowers, but are so beautiful and delicate, they create so much color and texture to the landscape.
Cold Hardy Annuals:
1) Ornamental Cabbage and Kale-will last even through a number of frosts. Watch as the color grows with each colder day and gives your bed or container a new and interesting vibe.
2) Calibrachoa “Million Bells”-have been bred to include any color you can think of. The come with double the petals, variegated, and are the best filler for containers or in ground planting. They are comparatively more cold tolerant than most perennials and can take a few light frosts.
3) Celosia “Coxcomb”-cut, dried or in the garden, these old-fashioned favorites will never go out of style. They love the sun and will bloom all summer and into the fall. Easy to grow and brightly colored, they can be found in colors of red, orange, yellow, burgundy, pink, purple, green…. just to name a few.
4) Pansy-the hardiest annual you will ever plant. In the right bed, pansies can not only tolerate the cold, but can overwinter and bloom through the fall and into the next spring. The trick is to plant them in the ground in an area that will be sheltered from the winter wind, never piled under a lot of snow and away from any residues of road salt. You get a lot of bang for your buck with a flower that you can plant in the fall and even get spring color out of as well!
5) Petunia-probably the most famous and widely grown annual in the US. Very much like the Calibrachoa, it can bloom all summer long and continue even through a few light frosts. Colors range from white to black and every other color in between.
6) Snapdragons- place your fingers on each side of the flower and give a light squeeze. You’re supposed to see a dragon’s mouth seaking to you. That’s how they got heir name. Another annual that is cold hardy and a long season bloomer. Colors include: white, pink, purple, red, orande and yellow.