Faces of Fall Planting Season!

We are into the heart of the fall gardening season all across Oklahoma.  This is the season to plant trees and shrubs for long term enjoyment, tall fescue or ryegrass for green winter lawns and lots of fall color plants.  There are many choices for fall color but some of the most popular are hardy mums or chrysanthemums, flowering kale, cabbage and asters which all do best when planted in the full sun or part sun. 

The hardy mums are perennials and will come back year after year to add pizzazz to your fall landscape. They will grow into nice mounds of green vegetation that erupt into color as the day length shortens since they are very receptive to photoperiod.  Because of that, you should not plant handy mums under street lights or patio lights which can delay flowering.  Flowering kale and cabbage are ornamental varieties of the kale and cabbage you are used to including in salads or dinner menus.  They are semi hardy and will survive several light frosts before succumbing to the hard freezes later in winter.  They produce very interesting foliage but also fun foliage colors that transition with cooling temperatures through tones of white, pink, red and purples.  Asters have been used in other parts of the country for years and have been growing in popularity in Oklahoma, producing beautiful daisy type flowers in purple, white, pink, blue and red. 

 This is also the time to plant one of my favorite fall and winter color plants, the amazing pansy.  They are available in a number of varieties and colors that can add excitement to your landscape as a border planting, mass plantings to fill a whole flower bed or in decorative containers.  Pansies will usually bloom all winter long when planted in the full or part sun before surrendering and dying in the heat of next spring or summer.   Pansies almost grow to have their own personalities with their multi colored flower “faces”.  Although some pansies have flowers that are all the same color, others will have lower petals or cheeks of one color and upper petals of a complimentary or contrasting color.  These little pansy “faces” will appear to look at you and can easily make you smile.  They tolerate the cold and even fairly hard freezes.  It is not uncommon to see those pansy flower faces poking through a winter snow or flowering to brighten those dreary winter days we will be facing all too soon.  You can select transplants of the pansy colors or “faces” you like at your local garden center and then plant them with a teaspoon of blood meal, in the hole, as you plant them to product color all winter. 

Don’t forget to buy your daffodil, hyacinth, tulip, crocus, Dutch iris and other spring flowering bulbs to plant this fall for color next spring.

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