When planting for the fall, pansies are a popular choice, but for added variety and texture, there's a long and diverse list of perennials to give your garden a burst of color.
"Mums are great, and they come in a lovely range of colors," said Sarah Mae Kitchen, of Witty Inventions Garden Design.
Just keep in mind that the color will vary according to when the plant is purchased.
"Mums come in waves of colors," Kitchen explained. "We commonly see them in an orange, a Carmen red and a pretty pink. Then, those colors pass, and another wave of colors come in."
"There are typically three waves of colors," Kitchen added.
When selecting a mum, pay close attention to its structure.
"Look for mums with a perfect dome and a solid sheet of color," Kitchen said. "That's when they look their best."
In our area, mums are winter hardy and will give your outdoor space color throughout the cold months. They will grow well in nearly any part of a garden but prefer full to partial sun and well-drained soil. It's also important to water them well near the surface, as mums have shallow roots.
An easy-to-grow-alternative is readily found in the croton.
"It's really nice as a potted plant and can be enjoyed throughout the fall. Just be sure to bring it indoors before the first frost, because it cannot survive in cold temperatures," Kitchen said. "It is definitely a seasonal plant."
Crotons prefer bright light but will grow just as well in light shade. When they can be enjoyed outdoors, the sun really brings out the colors, which start yellow and green and in time turn orange and red.
With the lingering warm temperatures, Kitchen said violas are a great option for fall.
"The color range is unbelievable, and they're more heat tolerant than pansies," Kitchen said.
If you're trying to decide whether to plant violas or pansies, also consider that, "violas bloom earlier and last longer than pansies," she said.
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