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. Planting flower seeds in fall is beneficial to many cultivars.
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. Otherwise 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 planting flower seeds in fall is soil preparation. New young plants need to be able to penetrate the soil easily. Using 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.
Planting Flower Seeds in Fall
Plants to Choose From when planting flowers seeds in fall:
FOXGLOVE ( Digitalis purpurea )
This is a great choice for the back of the border growing to 4 feet tall. Foxglove grows well in semi-shade and looks great with ferns and campanulas.
Larkspur will grow up to 3 feet tall with many strong stems and flowering spikes. It does not like hot, dry conditions so provide a bit of shade and amble water.
ROSE CAMPION ( Lychnis coronaria )
This plant has wheel like blooms on pale stems. The leaves are covered in fine silvery hairs. Rose Campion prefers moist, well drained soil in sun or part shade. Is not a long lived long lived plant will often self sow in the right conditions.
PANSY ( Viola )
Pansy prefer a part shaded position and a rather rich, moist soil. Single stemmed flowers grow face-up, blooming in all shades with contrasting marks and veining. An unending choice of colour combinations to choose from. Pansy make excellent container plants.
A tall plant growing up to 7 feet tall, with very majestic, tall flower spikes. 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. Some staking may be required.
Calendula is a hardy, fast growing annual that blooms all summer. Bright and showy yellow-orange blooms add punch to your garden beds. They will often self seed.
Plant dianthus in light, sandy soil that is well drained. This plant dose not like wet conditions. Flowers are available in a wide range of colours.
BLACK EYED SUSAN ( Rudbeckia )
This is a strong hardy plant with rough, narrow leaves and tall stems. Grow these in groups for the best effect. Rudbeckia flowers last a long time and are good for cutting. Will grow in a variety of conditions, not very fussy.
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