The Q&A Archives: annuals for potting this time oyear& what to do about black spot on roses bushes

Question: From St. Louis, Mo
what are the best annuals for this time of year to replace spring & summer potted annuals in my area?
what can I do about black spot on my rose bush? I uses Bayer 3 way granuals now.

Answer: Mums (Chrysanthemum spp.) are especially hardy in the landscape and will survive winters in zone 3. Their stout stems and long-lasting flowers make them excellent fall cut flowers. Chrysanthemums bloom in a variety of colors including white, red, yellow, pink, and orange and the size and shape of the flower varies depending on the cultivar. Pinching the mum plants back in early summer will result in a fuller, bushier shape and more flowers in the fall.

Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) ? produces great blooms for months through the summer and fall. Red, pink, or white flowers attract hummingbirds and are brilliant accent points against the semi-evergreen leaves of the autumn sage.

Aster (Aster spp.) - All asters have beautiful fall blooms though and are real stars in the autumn landscape. Rich, moist soil will provide the best growth for these fall beauties and full sun or light shade will bring the best autumn flower show. Tiny daisy-like flowers appear in late summer and last through the fall months displaying bright colors of purple, white or pink.

Ornamental Kale or Cabbage ? These not-so-edible members of the kale family have highly ornamental foliage that is often bi-colored or tricolored and tolerates cold weather very well. The large, ruffled and brightly colored leaves look almost like colored flowers and are perfect for the fall container or garden. Start ornamental kale seeds in mid-summer or purchase transplants in the fall since hot weather is not tolerated. These autumn stars can be eaten but are much more bitter than traditional kale, cabbage and broccoli.

Pansies (Viola wittrockiana) ? These cool-weather annuals are fantastic plants for autumn containers. Cherub-faces in many colors make pansies a perfect plant for beds, borders, containers, mass plantings and more. Grow pansies in the sun or part shade and give them rich, moist soil with plenty of nutrients. They will flower in the autumn and can continue blooming all through the winter and early spring until hot weather begins.

Moss Verbena (Verbena tenuisecta) ? is a fragrant trailing annual that blooms almost nonstop from spring through winter's first frost making it a great container planting for autumn containers. The flowers of this trailing plant are very fragrant, attract butterflies and are brightly colored in a wide variety of colors. Moss verbena tolerates a wide variety of soil types and is drought tolerant making it an excellent choice for dramatic containers.

Black spot is one of the most common diseases of roses. Fungicides will help control it, but you'll need to practice good garden sanitation (prune and remove the most obviously infected canes), and try to keep water off the leaves. Fungicides need to be applied every 7-14 days during the growing season. Some choices include Funginex, Daconil, Captan, Bravo. You'll find others in the garden section of your local Home Depot. I'm afraid black spot is just one of the challenges you'll face when growing roses, but the reward is worth the effort. I don't think there's anything quite as lovely as a garden filled with roses! Best wishes with your roses.

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