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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


Fall Flowers: Annuals for the West

Lynn Coulter
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kale and mums

The key to growing beautiful fall flowers in the west depends on planting at the right time. You don’t want to stress hardy fall annuals like pansies and flowering cabbages or kales by planting them while the weather is still very hot and dry. But if you live where the winters are cold, you may still have time to plant tender annuals, like marigolds and zinnias, before frost.

Cynthia, our Muddy Boots reporter from North Texas, has this advice for planting fall annuals: “We (North Texas) still have a looooong way to go before temperatures are going to be anything resembling cool, so we have a little more variety than most. Unfortunately, it also means anything planted now will have to be shaded, watered, mulched, and babied until October!” (Figure out how much mulch you need.)

“If possible, clip back the wandering, leggy Verbena for a new fall show. This annual does beautifully if you treat it rough!”

Cynthia recommends planting:

  • Snapdragons
  • Dusty Miller
  • Mums
  • Flowering cabbage and kale
  • ¬†Swiss Chard (This would also fall under edibles, Cynthia notes.)
  • Pansies


fall pansies

Gail, our Muddy Boots reporter from California, suggests planting these great fall annuals:

  • Chrysanthemums (for sun)
  • Cyclamen and snapdragons (for shade or partial sun)
  • Pansies and violas (for partial to full sun)

Mums are available in spectacular fall colors such as bronze, gold, scarlet, and burgundy. Hardy mums often perform as perennials in zones 5 to 9, but most are inexpensive enough to treat as annuals. Try them for a splash of rich, seasonal color.

Pansies image: Shutterstock/UltraOrto, S.A.

Ornamental kale and mums image: Shutterstock/Margrit Hirsch

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