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.
Count on columnar evergreens like North Pole arborvitae to introduce a strong vertical element to gardens. Its narrow form also works well planted in groups as a hedge. This upright beauty was selected in Minnesota and resists winterburn. Hardy in Zones 3-7. Botanical name: Thuja occidentalis ‘Art Boe’
Draft a classic autumn icon as a vase for the last of your garden gleanings. A small pumpkin, turban squash or gourd easily hosts a blend of blooms. This display features boldly tinted coleus leaves with a pop of lantana blooms. To create a pumpkin vase, start with a flat-bottomed fruit that rests evenly on a surface. Remove the stem end and seeds. Insert a saturated block of floral foam or a water-filled jar and add fresh stems.
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’
Trade in dwarf Alberta spruce and pyramidal yews for the ferny texture of Soft Serve false cypress. This evergreen has silver-blue tones on leaf undersides, adding to the plant’s eye candy effect in the landscape. Use it for an informal hedge that’s deer resistant. Hardy in Zones 5-7. Botanical name: Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Dow Whiting’
Sandpapery leaves on lantana help give Japanese beetles the brush-off. The insects tend to leave this flowering annual alone. Butterflies, bees and other pollinator insects, however, flock to the brightly tinted blooms. It’s a great plant to include in a butterfly or hummingbird garden.
Hedera helix takes it common name, Duckfoot ivy, from the shape of its charming leaves. Hardy in zones 5 to 9, it's a nice spiller, or trailing plant, for containers, and spreads easily in sunny or shady landscapes. If your winter is very cold, dig some of this ivy to overwinter indoors; it's adaptable as a houseplant.
Water your perennials the day before you fertilize, and apply the fertilizer about the time that new spring growth appears. Some perennials, such as daylilies, are heavier feeders than others, so you may want to feed twice more in the growing season, at 6-week intervals. A slow-release fertilizer is a good choice for the spring feeding. Follow up with a liquid fertilizer, if desired, in summer.
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.
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
Mix organic matter and fertilizer into your soil when you plant annuals, or use a packaged potting mix that has fertilizer in it. Make sure to water thoroughly, so the plant roots don’t get burned. Most annuals bloom heavily for several weeks before they need feeding again; then you can add a slow-release fertilizer or use a liquid or water-soluble fertilizer about every two weeks. Shown here: Superbells® 'Strawberry Punch' Calibrachoa
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.
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'
Shrubs can be fertilized in early spring and most can be fed again, more lightly, in autumn. But wait about a month after the first fall frost, so you don’t stimulate new growth that will be killed back in cold weather. Shown here: Rhododendron 'Amy Cotta'
Winterberry windowboxes, like this one, last a long time in cool weather. Tuck stems or sprigs of the berries into a box planted with dwarf conifers, decorated with pine cones or filled with cut greenery.
A gray urn comes to life with an arrangement of red winterberries and assorted greenery. In the wild, winterberries can be found growing in moist wooded areas, swamps or along streams and ponds. In the garden or landscape, the plants grow slowly and need little maintenance.