As we transition into fall, many of our favorite summer flowers have wilted, withered and left behind a tired and shabby landscape. Just because summer is over doesn’t mean you have to settle for a drab colorless garden. There are many cool-season annual varieties you can plant now to provide your garden with a brilliant color palette throughout autumn. Fall annuals look great in your garden beds and patio pots and many are hardy enough to survive temperatures of 25 degrees or less. Before you throw in the trowel and give up on the season, try adding the following fall annuals into your landscape:
Pansies & Violas
While pansies are perhaps best known for their multi-colored petals and scrunchy little faces, they are also one of the most popular cool weather annuals. They grow best when night temperatures are below 65 F, which makes them ideal for this time of year. Pansies will survive a frost and even if the blooms wilt in a hard freeze, the plants often endure. Pansies are a great way to add color to your garden beds and patio containers throughout the fall season and pair well with many other fall annuals and perennials.
Flowering Cabbage & Kale
Flowering cabbage and flowering kale are leafy annuals used as ornamental plants. They hold up well to frosty temperatures and offer dramatic color and texture in the garden. Flowering cabbage and kale pair well with just about every fall flower and look great in garden borders and containers. While otherwise similar in color, appearance, and size, flowering cabbage has smooth edged leaves and flowering kale has serrated or frilly edged leaves. Both plants are technically edible but the taste is less than desirable as they were bred for their ornamental appearance and not for taste.
Snapdragons are an excellent option for fall blooming annuals. They have bright, cheery colors and are one of the few flowers that come in almost every color. They are best known for their blooms that open and close like a dragon’s mouth when squeezed, making them a fan favorite of young gardeners everywhere. Snapdragons work great in pots, planters, garden beds, as well as cut flower arrangements. Their mix of color and height makes them a great candidate for placement towards the back of the garden bed.
Dianthus are another cool-season stunner with beautiful flowers and aromatic fragrances. While they might not look so tough, dianthus can keep on blooming even after a light frost. You’ll find dianthus in a range of colors, including shades of pink, white, red and purple. With so many color choices there’s an ideal variety for almost any color pallet. Dianthus have bluish-gray, grass-like foliage that contrasts nicely with the warm color tones typically found in the autumn landscape. The mounded shape and long bloom time make dianthus perfect for containers or placed towards the front of garden beds and borders. Either way, be sure to plant them somewhere close to you so you can enjoy their pleasing aroma.
Originally published on September 5th, 2018. Updated on September 9th, 2020.