Chinese Lantern pop with autumn color. Photos Leslie Halleck

In The Garden: Colors of Autumn

Freshen things up with these cool season performers.

We change our wardrobes with the season…so why not our gardens? Here in Dallas, we really have about five different “color” seasons and opportunities to grow a variety of blooming annuals. With the seasons changing and autumn approaching, it’s time to start freshening up the garden with some fall color. The cooling temperatures and rainfall we’re experiencing this week will be a boost to new plantings.

Wondering what to plant? Below are a few cool-season performers.

Petunia – While petunias might evoke thoughts of springtime, they’re just as happy when planted in our fall gardens. Perfect for perking up patio pots and entryway planters. Petunias bloom best in full sun but will tolerate some light afternoon shade.

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Marigold – While sold as a summer annual in most parts of the country, Marigolds really perform much better as fall color in Dallas. Plus, the orange, yellow and red hues fit perfectly with the season. Plant in a sunny location.
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Dianthus – A tried and true perennial that is most often used as annual color in Dallas gardens. Dianthus sports a profusion of fringed flowers found in shades of white, pink, fuchsia, purple, red and every shade thereof. Plants can take full fall sun or part shade.

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Chinese Lantern – This is a really cool plant for autumn, when you can find it! Chinese lantern is definitely worth hunting down, as it’s pretty much the perfect fall “pumpkin plant”. Drop into containers with mums, marigolds and any other fall color for a unique conversation starter.

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Peppers – Ornamental peppers are some of the seasons best performers. ‘Black Pearl’ is particularly suited to fall arrangements, with it’s dark purple foliage and shiny black to deep red fruits. Plant in a sunny location to keep foliage and fruit color intense.

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