Karen Cambre, Sharpe, Kenneth W.
News article for October 15, 2018
What a treat to take a break from the heat of summer and finally have some cooler temperatures. Fall is a great time of year and a time to renew the landscape and change out the old annual beds from warm season flowers to cool season flowers.
Many of the cool season annuals can be planted in the spring of the year but the most spectacular floral displays are in the spring from fall planted annuals.
Petunias are certainly a popular choice for cool season bedding plants and with good reason. They are very reliable and have a long growing season. Petunias can be planted earlier than most of the cool season plants, as early as September and they can last past May.
The Wave series petunias have been outstanding performers. They come in purple, pink, rose, misty lilac, lavender and blue. They grow about 24 to 30 inches wide and 8 to 10 inches height. You can also expand the color opportunities with Easy Wave and Tidal Wave which offers a larger version including a very attractive Silver petunia.
Another ideal cool season annual is pansies. They tend to need a little cooler weather to plant so we hold off until late October to December for planting in south Louisiana. The Cool Wave pansies are an excellent trialing type pansy that comes in yellow, violet wing, white and frost.
The smaller version of pansies is violas. Sorbet violas were the best performing violas in LSU AgCenter trials and were named as Louisiana Super Plants. They are prolific bloomers and their smaller flowers tend to hold up to rain better than the larger pansies and last 2 weeks later into May. Violas are full cold hardy and will spread 12 inches but reach only 6 inches tall. They come in more than 20 colors.
Amazon dianthus was another Louisiana Super Plant selection and is another outstanding choice for fall beds. Dianthus can be planted from October through March and have excellent heat tolerance usually flowering into the summer. They will grow 18-36 inches tall by 10-16 inches wide and should be spaced 12-16 inches apart. They come in colors of Neon Purple, Neon Cherry and Rose Magic.
Other previous Louisiana Super Plants are proven performers that are worthy of consideration. Swan Columbines have attractive blue-green foliage and very unique large three dimensional flowers. Columbines are spaced 12 inches apart and grow 20-24 inches tall. They come in blue white, burgundy white, pink yellow, red white, rose white, violet white, white and yellow.
Camelot Foxglove makes an outstanding display as a tall border or background planting. The plants will grow 36 inches tall by 12 inches wide and their bell shaped flowers with interesting marking emerge from a flower spike that rises from the center of the plant. Flower colors include lavender, cream, rose and white with lavender.
Redbor kale is another plant to consider as a tall border or as a background planting. Plant this kale anywhere you want to add some reddish purple color or interesting texture. Redbor grows to an impressive 30 inches tall by 12-16 inches wide and is edible. Kale can be eaten raw in salads or cooked like greens making it a truly edible garden.
If you need fall color in your shrubs or accent plants then look at ShiShi Gashira camellia. Often called a dwarf sasanqua the shrub grows 4-5 feet wide by 4-5 feet tall. It has dark pink flowers from October through January that are 2-3 inches in diameter and can be grown in full sun to part shade.