When summer is winding down, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a few more weeks of color in your garden, even if your autumn weather is a little on the chilly side. The following annuals and perennials are suitable for cooler climates.
The blue-green foliage of dianthus creates a nice contrast to the fringed, red, white or pink blooms. Most types of dianthus can tolerate frost with no problem, but select the variety carefully if your autumns are extra-cold.
Snapdragons prefer chilly weather and the colors will really pop when everything else in your garden is looking a little forlorn. Look for sizes ranging from dwarf to standard.
3. Dusty miller
Favored for its silvery, velvet-like leaves, dusty miller is an ideal companion for mixed color annuals in a container or window box. Be sure this old favorite gets plenty of sunlight.
4. Swiss chard
Who says you can’t plant edible greens with flowers? Swiss chard is a real beauty with its big, crinkly deep green leaves and stems of red, orange or white. Plant seeds two or three weeks before the first expected frost.
5. Flowering Kale
Don’t forget flowering kale when you’re considering colorful plants for cool autumn color. The frilly, rose, cream, blue, purple or green color turns even more intense when the mercury drops.
6. Mountain fleece
Also known as red bistort, mountain fleece is a tall, upright plant that provides rosy red flowers through October in most climates. Allow plenty of space for this rambunctious plant; although mountain fleece isn’t invasive, it’s happiest if it has room to spread.
Rudbeckia, familiarly known as black-eyed susan, is a workhorse that brightens up the landscape with masses of rich, golden-yellow flowers, even when autumn days are chilly. Be sure to pick a few for cut flower arrangements.
8. Perennial spurge
Enjoy perennial spurge for its late summer blooms and evergreen foliage in bright shades of blue-green, chartreuse, or reddish-purple. Some types are hardier than others cushion spurge, cypress spurge and Griffith’s spurge are some of the most cold-tolerant varieties.
9. False aster
False aster is a low-maintenance alternative to standard asters and mums, and you’ll love the masses of tiny white, pink, purple or lavender daisy-like blooms, each with a bright yellow eye. The narrow, greenish-gray leaves add to the appeal.
Helianthus is a large genus of plants that includes not only the annual sunflower, but a number of perennial species that bloom from late summer into fall. The gold and yellow, daisy-like blooms vary slightly in appearance depending on the species, but they’re all surefire winners.