I think I could shout this from the rooftops for the rest of my days and there will still be so many people missing out on the most enjoyable gardening season of all, fall.
So, here it is: there are many cool-season hardy annuals that can be planted in the fall that will thrive through many locations winters as baby plants to become your first bloomers in spring. Many of us are familiar with pansies; well, there are many other plants with those same tendencies. They are cool-season hardy annuals. Some of these hardy annuals prefer to have their seeds cast directly on the ground and others should be started indoors and planted outside as a transplant. So, if pansies survive your winter, there are other seeds and plants to plant in fall just like we do.
Why plant in the fall? Planting in the fall allows the plant to establish a strong, deep root system during winter before having to produce top growth and flowers. This time of becoming well established gives your plants the rock foundation they need to stand on next spring and well into summer. These cool-season hardy annuals prefer to become well established in cooler conditions and will go right into summer blooming because they are so strong and healthy.
These are not fussy plants that need special treatment. You will be delighted in early spring when the first blooms appear.
(Click on the flower name to see photos)
Some of the flowers that prefer to have their seeds cast directly on the ground:
Bachelor Buttons: Blue Boy, Mixed Colors
Some flowers that prefer to be started indoors and transplanted out in fall (Want to learn more about seed starting indoors? Click here):
Scabiosa: Fire King, Black Knight, Blue Cockade
Sweet William: Electron, Amazon Rose, Amazon Cherry, Amazon Purple
Feverfew: Vegmo, Tetrawhite
Flower seeds that can be started indoors to transplant out or the seeds can be cast directly in the garden, I tend to choose to start indoors. There is less weed pressure and easier success.
During those dog days of late August and early September, we will be indoors starting the seeds of all those flowers that will go to the garden as plants in October. We plant our seeds in the garden when true fall-like conditions exist, cool nights (55-65 degrees) and warm days. If you plant seeds outdoors too early and the days are still scorchers, seeds will take longer to sprout, you won’t have as many seeds sprout.
Note: Fall is also the best time to prepare soil and also to plant perennials, shrubs, and trees.
For more resources in cool-season hardy annual flowers checkout: The Cool-Season Flower Chronicles.
About The Author: Lisa Mason Ziegler – Is a leader in the cut-flower growing industry, author, accomplished speaker, virtual course instructor, & the owner of The Gardener’s Workshop. Click Here To Learn more!