Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Lower South
August, 2010
Regional Report

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Coral vine brightens the late summer to fall season with hot pink blooms.

Fall Color in the Landscape

The fall season offers many great opportunities for landscape color. Here in the lower south, spring is our most colorful and bloom filled season of the year, but fall need not play "second fiddle" to spring and summer when it comes to color. There are many great plants that bloom in the fall and others that can make a wonderful repeat performance in the fall.

A few of the noteworthy plants that save their glorious season for late summer to fall include: Flowery Senna (Cassia corymbosa) which loads up with bright yellow blossoms, Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha) that bears spikes of purple/violet and white flowers, confederate rose (Hibiscus mutabilis) whose flowers open white in the morning and darken to pink at noon and crimson in the evening,

Other fall blooming beauties include the yellow blooming Mexican mint marigold (Tagetes ) and pineapple sage (Salvia elegans), whose red blooms are a hummingbird magnet. Then there are the late summer to fall bulbs such as oxblood or schoolhouse lily (Rhodophiala bifida) and red spider lily or hurricane lily (Lycoris radiata).

There are vines that save their best for late summer to fall. Consider the sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora) with billows of white blooms, Spanish flag or firecracker vine (Mina lobata) bearing yellow to orange flowers, or coral vine (Antigonon leptopus) with pendant clusters of pink or white blooms.

Add in several species of asters and the numerous chrysanthemums and you have a palette for a very colorful late summer to fall season. These fall bloomers alone are an impressive array of plants; however, as they say on the infomercials, "But wait, there's more!"

Not included in the above list are numerous other plants which have been going strong through the summer and are still showing off in late summer/fall. Examples include salvias such as 'Indigo Spires' and 'Mystic Spires', yellow bells (Tecoma stans), lantanas, and cape plumbago (Plumbago auriculata).

Don't forget the annual bedding plants that may have suffered under the brutal grip of summer but which can be replanted or, in some cases, coaxed back into a fall rerun. This includes zinnias, petunias and marigolds.

Now is a great time to set out marigolds for fall color. These plants can really put on a dazzling show in the fall, especially the large-flowered African or pom-pom types. Often called Mari-mums due to their mum-like flowers, these marigolds provide an eye catching display right up until the first frost. Spider mites, the summer nemesis of marigolds, are not a significant problem in the fall.

So don't let the current heat deter you from getting ahead start on a fabulous fall season. Now is the time to take steps to make the coming fall season a colorful one in your landscape.

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