When we think of growing flowers from direct seeding into the garden we tend to think of early spring after all danger of frost has passed. There are however many ornamental flowers that you can direct sow at the end of summer or just before a hard frost.
Many seeds benefit from a period of cold before they sprout and grow in the spring, a process known as seed stratification. These types of seeds are usually from temperate zones and have a very tough seed coat that will only crack after a hard frost. If you think about it it makes sense, otherswise in nature fresh seed that falls to the ground would germinate in the fall and the new seedlings would perish with the cold. As with spring seeding, the most important thing for successful germination with fall seeding is soil preparation. New young plants need to be able to penetrate the soil easily so a loose, moist soil is essential. Give your flower bed a good turn over with a spade and dig in fresh compost or well aged manure.
Seeds to Sow in Early Fall:
FOXGLOVE ( Digitalis purpurea ) Great choice for the back of the border growing to 4 feet tall. Grows well in semi-shade and looks great with ferns and campanulas.
LARKSPUR Growing up to 3 feet tall, has many strong stems and flowering spikes. Does not like hot, dry conditions.
ROSE CAMPION ( Lychnis coronaria ) Has whell like blooms on pale stems. Leaves are covered in fine silvery hairs. Likes moist, well drained soil in sun or part shade. Is not long lived.
PANSY ( Viola ) Prefer a part shade position and a rather rich, moist soil. Single stemmed flowers grow face-up, blooming in all shades with contrasting marks and veining.
DELPHINIUM Growing uo to 7 feet tall, with very majestic, tall flower spilkes. Great for a cottage garden they bloom in beautiful shades of blue, pink, mauve and white. Prefers a deep, rich soil and protection from strong winds.
CALENDULA A hardy, fast growing annual that blooms all summer. Bright and showy yellow-orange blooms add punch to your garden.
ANNUAL DIANTHUS Plant in light, sandy soil that is well drained. Do not like wet conditions. Flowers are available in a wide range of colors.
BLACK EYED SUSAN ( Rudbeckia ) A strong hardy plant with rough, narrow leaves and tall stems. Grow in groups for best effect. Flowers last a long time and are good for cutting. Will grow in a variety of conditions.
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