Don’t hesitate to bring home a fall petunia basket from your favorite garden or home center. If it’s planted with Proven Winners Supertunias and Calibrachoa, you’ll be in for weeks of flowery color. This blend of petunia-like blooms features a mix of Really Red Supertunia and Royal Velvet Supertunia (purple), accented with the smaller blossoms of Dreamsicle Orange calibrachoa. These petunias don’t need deadheading to look their best and deliver color through Thanksgiving in all but the coldest regions.
This beauty takes rose mallow to new heights—short heights, that is. Growing to a tidy 3 feet tall, ‘Perfect Storm’ fits neatly into small gardens and perennial borders. White flowers with a bright red eye and pink edged petals open to a whopping 7 to 8 inches across. Hardy in Zones 4-9. Botanical name: Hibiscus ‘Perfect Storm’
Delicate baby’s breath (Gypsophila paniculata) makes a good filler for bouquets and fresh or dried arrangements. Wait until the morning dew dries before cutting long stems just as the buds start to open. The stems will shrink over time, so use a rubber band to bundle them together, and hang them upside down for a couple of weeks. Give them good air circulation while they’re drying in a dark place.
Also known as a pansiola, Anytime® Viola 'Sugarplum' is a charmer. The trailing plants keep blooming in warm weather, after most violas stop, and add winter color to hardiness zones 5 to 10. Let them spill over the sides of containers, or mass them in the landscape for deep burgundy-purple color with hints of white, gold and lavender.
Globe amaranth blooms can be white or shades of red, purple and pink. Harvest the stems when the flowers are in bloom, and hang them upside down in a dry, dark, airy space until you’re ready to use them in crafts or arrangements. The flower heads of varieties like ‘Forest Pink’ (Gomphrena haageana) are also great for using in potpourri.
Purple leaved fringe-flower brings striking dark leaf color to plantings. A strong flush of bright pink flowers occurs in mid-spring. This is a new ground cover fringe-flower, with plants growing 1 foot tall and up to 3 feet wide. It’s an ideal choice for containers or bed edging. Hardy in Zones 7-9. Botanical name: Loropetalum chinense ‘Beni Hime’
Hanging baskets and other containers are perfect for Viola Anytime® Dove. The semi-trailing plants also add a splash of white to the landscape for gardeners in USDA zones 5 and warmer, often blooming into the winter.
If space is tight in your yard, you can still enjoy lush hydrangea blooms with this small shrub, which grows 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. Flower color shifts from a deep violet-purple in acid soils to pink in basic soils. Use this reblooming hydrangea in containers, as a specimen plant, to edge planting beds or as an informal hedge. Hardy in Zones 5-9. Botanical name: Hydrangea macrophylla
Practitioners of folk medicine make the flowers of bee balm (Monada didyma) into a poultice for bee stings. The leaves and flowers also make a tea that's thought to help sore throats and headaches. 'Pardon My Cerise', shown here, is an ornamental bee balm.
Spicy-scented carnations, like ‘Cinnamon Red Hot’, are the birth flowers for January. Different colors convey different meanings. White carnations symbolize pure love, while yellow means “wish you were here” and pink says, “you’re unforgettable”. Snowdrops, which indicate hope and beauty, are also flowers for this month.
Vines and other woody plants, such as groundcovers, can be fertilized at planting and again in fall. If you miss the fall feeding, fertilize in early spring, before growth begins. Water thoroughly after feeding. Shown here: Clematis 'Ernest Markham'
Summer-flowering larkspurs are lovely in dried arrangements. Cut the stems just before the blooms are completely open and strip away the leaves. Then tie the stems together and hang them upside down from a coat hanger, hook or clothesline to air-dry for a few weeks. Keep them out of the sun and make sure they have good air circulation. If there’s a lot of moisture in the room, you may need to use a dehumidifier to help prevent mold and mildew. Shown here: 'Guardian Lavender' (Delphinum elatum).
Include ‘Apache Rose’ to introduce a vertical element to planting designs. The sturdy upright stems withstand wind and rain without lodging (that’s botanical speak for bending). Leaves flush rose red in autumn, topped with pink tinged flower stems. Count on switch grass for year-round interest. Hardy in Zones 4-9. Botanical name: Panicum virgatum ‘Apache Rose’
Bright golden blooms cover this shrub in mid-spring, beckoning bees and other pollinators by the dozen. Use Scotch broom as a ground cover, bed edging or in containers. Plants grow 12 to 18 inches tall and wide. This plant is not recommended for the Pacific Northwest. Hardy in Zones 6-8. Botanical name: Cytisus scoparius
Strong berry production, glossy evergreen leaves and a compact pyramidal shape make Castle Spire holly a great choice for smaller yards. Plants eventually grow 8-12 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide. Use one as a specimen, or plant several to form a screen. This is also a great choice for a bird-friendly landscape. Hardy in Zones 5-7. Botanical name: Ilex x meserveae ‘Hachfee’
Also called floss flower, Ageratum is an annual with pink, white, violet or blue blooms. Pressing the flowers flattens them and tends to make the colors fade, so dry them in a preservative (a desiccant) instead. Lengthen the short stems with floral wire, if desired. Then remove the foliage and put the flowers facedown in the desiccant for 2 or 3 weeks. Check periodically and remove them when they’re dry, but before they become brittle. Shown here: Ageratum 'Stellar Blue'
Dress up your spring landscape with the soft pink blooms of this pretty perennial. False indigo is a long-lived, drought tolerant plant, sinking deep roots that seek out moisture. It’s also deer resistant and low maintenance. A shorter height requires no staking; plants grow to 3 feet tall. Hardy in Zones 4-9. Botanical name: Baptisia ‘Pink Truffles’