The Q&A Archives: Flowers for October Wedding

Question: We will be having an outdoor wedding next October. What shrubs, flowers, and vines can I plant (and when) so that we can have a decent showing of color by next year?

Answer: Here are a few fall-blooming perennials: chrysanthemum, aster, ornamental grasses, goldenrod, sedum 'Autumn Joy', blanket flower, and coneflowers. Some annual flowers often continue blooming up until a frost, including: dahlias, zinnias, scabiosa, Phlox drummondii, bells of Ireland, heliotrope, globe amaranth, gazania, cosmos, cornflower, and calendula. Snapdragons will sometimes rebloom in the fall if you cut off early flowers, and keep the plants alive through the heat of summer.

It's impossible to say for sure which, if any, of these will still be flowering in October. Perennials take a few years to get established, so anything you plant this fall may flower sparsely or not at all next year. And an early frost can take out any tender annuals. You might want to consider planting flowers suitable for drying, like strawflowers, or plan to purchase lots of chrysanthemum plants from a local greenhouse, just in case your flowers don't cooperate. Consider other traditional fall decorations, too: pumkins, gourds, corn stalks, and cornucopias. Enjoy!

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