A How-to-Guide to Adding Cool-Weather Color

A How-to-Guide to Adding Cool-Weather Color

Our Favorite Fall Flowers and Plants…

Fall Mums & Asters

Two of the garden’s most famous fall flower friends, chrysanthemums (commonly called “mums”) and asters are known for adding full, brilliant fall color. Asters are perennials related to the sunflower (and surprisingly, the dandelion), which means you can expect them to return year after year. Mums come in many hardy varieties and virtually every color but blue, with the most common featuring decorative petals surrounding a thick center disc.

How To Care For Your Mums & Asters

  • LIGHT: Choose a sunny location being careful to avoid overly exposed or northwest facing sites.
  • TEMPERATURE: Optimal planting time is early fall when plants have ample time to establish roots well before the ground freezes.
  • PLANTING: Be sure to loosen roots before planting and place close to a building or structure for added winter heat. Amend clay soil with good topsoil or compost for better drainage.
  • FERTILIZER: When planting, use Start-n-Grow or Elements in each hole. Add Blooming & Rooting at the first sign of growth.
  • WATER: Water generously when planting, then keep mums and asters well watered during the growing season, allowing them to dry between watering. Add a layer of hardwood mulch to preserve moisture and protect your plants.
  • WINTER: To overwinter, cut mums and asters back and mulch over them with 1-3” after the first freeze. 
  • PRUNING: Pinch back bud growth four times between spring emergence and July 25th. Do not pinch back after July 25th to give flower buds a chance to develop.

Flowering Fall Cabbage and Kale

Think outside of the ordinary
Known for their distinctive, low-to-the-ground texture and intensified fall color, flowering cabbage and kale have become one of the more popular fall plantings. Prized both for their longevity and ability to thrive in cold weather, these cultivars are perfect for garden, container, or hanging basket planting. Flowering cabbage and kale (the central leaves of the plant are considered the “flower”) are divided into two groups based on the shape of the leaf: the flowering cabbage feature smooth leaf margins, while flowering kale are known for their decorative fringed margins.

How to care for your flowering cabbage and kale:

  • LIGHT: Prefer a sunny location.
  • TEMPERATURE: Thrive in cooler conditions around the 40˚F mark. In the event of a frost, especially with newly planted cabbage and kale, cover to prevent damage. Color becomes more vivid as the temperatures drop.
  • WATER: Keep moist, but be careful not to soak. A layer of shredded hardwood mulch is ideal for keeping out heat and sealing in moisture.
  • FERTILIZER: When planting, mix Elements into the soil and water with root stimulator fertilizer.
  • PLACEMENT: Terrific in containers and as an eye-catching garden or path border. Flowering cabbage and kale make an especially striking fall combo with pansies, mums, and ornamental grasses.