These Fall Flowers Are Show-Offs

Marigolds ready to be planted

Fall mums at local big box hardware store

Flats of marigolds ready for planting

Asters are a great addition to your fall display.

It’s that time of the year when fall flowers are at local garden centers and big box stores. While the most common purchases are garden mums, that is not the only thing that can freshen and brighten your fall landscape. Marigolds and asters are also excellent choices to add brightness and color to the fall garden. Lets talk mums first. I always buy these plants when the buds are showing some color. Remember these plants are grown under constant irrigation and are generally very pot bound. Because of this, lack of water is the number one reason these plant do not look good and fully open in our gardens. I have always liked the pencil method to get more water in the root ball. I poke a sharp pencil into the soil several times at random in the pot as an attempt to get more water into the root ball. Marigolds are generally grown in small pots and transplanted into larger pots or into the landscape in fall. Treat these plants just like you did in spring and make sure you keep them watered. These plants, if fertilized and watered will grow and be profuse bloomers until frost. Asters are just coming into the market place in a big way in the Birmingham metro area. Treat asters the same way you do garden mums and they should perform well for you until frost. So go ahead and add these plants now, and put a bit of fall into your garden.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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