Gardening Guide

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Fall and Winter Color for North Texas

Options for Sunnier Locations

Pansies, Violas, and Panolas – Annuals; 6-8” tall x 6-8” wide

These are the best options for fall and winter color in North Texas because they thrive in cool weather and will bounce back after hard frosts to resume blooming. Pansies have relatively large faces and come in the widest range of colors. Violas, the predecessors to pansies, have smaller faces but a greater number of blooms per plant. Their other name, Johnny Jump-up, testifies to their ability to recover even more quickly than pansies from a hard frost. And panolas, a relatively new hybrid between pansies and violas, have the best of both worlds: bigger faces, more blooms, and excellent cold hardiness.

Ornamental Cabbage and Kale – Annual; 6-8” tall x 8-10” wide

While not as flavorful as their edible cousins, these are valuable for their ruffled and more colorful foliage that provides a great backdrop for smaller flowers in beds or as the focal point of a container. They are extremely cold tolerant, and the brilliant coloration of these plants will only intensify as temperatures drop.

Alyssum – Annual; 4-6” tall x 6-8” wide. Colors: Whites, pinks, purples; trailing element

Dianthus – Perennial; 8-10” tall x 8” wide. Colors: Whites, pinks, and reds

English Daisy – Annual (Biennial); 6-12” tall x 6-12” wide. Assorted colors available

Snapdragon – Annual; 8-10” tall (or 18-22”tall) x 12” wide. Wide range of colors available

Stock – Annual (Biennial); 12”-36” tall x 12-24” wide. Assorted colors available

Marigold – Annual; 10-12” tall x 10” wide. Colors: Yellows, oranges, reds

Petunia – Annual; 10-12” tall x 12” wide. Wide range of colors available; trailing element

Chrysanthemum – Perennial; 10-20” tall x 12-24” wide. Wide range of colors available

Asters – Perennial; 12-30” tall x 12” wide. Colors:  Purples, pinks, whites, reds

Anemones – Bulbs; 16” tall. Assorted colors available

Dusty Miller – Annual; 10-12” tall x 12” wide. Silver foliage

Ornamental Pepper – Annual; 8-18” tall x 6-12” wide. Green or purple foliage with assorted

colors of peppers often on the same plant

Ornamental Mustard – Annual; 12-24” tall x 16-20” wide. Green and purple foliage

Swiss Chard – Annual; 12-16” tall x 12” wide. Green foliage and multi-colored stems (Bright

Lights variety)

Rosemary – Perennial; 24-36” tall x 36-48” wide. Dusty green foliage with blue or purple blooms.

 

 Options for Shadier Locations

 

Cyclamen – Annual; 8” tall x 9” wide.

When caladiums or impatiens are spent, cyclamens are perfect as replacement color in shady flower beds. The flowers are unusually large and uniform, and they come in very crisp colors: white, pinks, reds, and purples. It is best to water these at the soil level to keep them looking their best.

Primrose – Annual; 4-8” tall x 6-12” wide. Assorted colors available

English Daisy – Annual; 6-12” tall x 6-12” wide. Assorted colors available

Stock – Annual (Biennial); 12”-36” tall x 12-24” wide. Assorted colors available

Algerian Ivy – Evergreen; 6-8” tall x and up to 3′ in length (if contained)

Needlepoint Ivy – Evergreen; 6-9” tall and up to 3′ in length

Moneywort –Semi-evergreen; up to 3′ in length

Mondo – Evergreen; 8-16” tall x 8-12” wide

Dwarf Mondo – Evergreen; 4” tall X 4” wide

Crotons – Annual; slow-growing to 5′ tall x 3′ wide

Soft Caress Mahonia – Evergreen; 3′ tall x 3.5′ wide

Foxtail Fern – Tender Perennial; 2′ tall x 2′ wide

 

Bed Preparation and Care for Fall and Winter

In North Texas our clay soil needs to be amended in order for our plants not only to survive but to thrive. The small particle size of clay essentially suffocates plant roots, but by tilling compost and expanded shale into the flower bed at least 6-8 inches deep, the clay is broken up thereby aerating the soil and adding missing nutrients. This can easily be done with Covington’s Soil Builder, a premixed bag that also includes Texas green sand, or with separate bags of both Back to Earth compost and expanded shale.

It is also important to remember that pansies, violas, and panolas are “heavy feeders.” To encourage continuous blooms throughout the fall and winter, a high nitrogen fertilizer such as Covington’s Flower & Garden Fertilizer or Bone Meal (or Bone and Blood Meal) is preferable.

To protect your flowers from the coldest of weather, mulch the flower beds right after planting and water the beds thoroughly just before a cold spell in order to insulate the roots from any cold air that might slip through. Wash the frost off of the plants afterward, and once the soil thaws out, they will bounce back and resume flowering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10/16/16