Fall is a fantastic time of year. The leaves are changing colors and the temperatures have cooled enough that it actually feels quite nice to spend time outdoors. Take this opportunity to beautify your home and garden with plants that love fall as much as you do.
One of the most beloved plants for fall is the chrysanthemum or “mum.” Available in a myriad of colors, mums produce small daisy-like flowers for several weeks during the fall months. Mums look great planted in a garden bed or try them in a planter by your entryway. You will not be disappointed.
Another favorite is ornamental cabbage, which comes in several shades of purple and white. Although called cabbage, ornamental cabbage is not edible—it’s just beautiful. Cabbage typically holds its color until the first hard frost in winter.
One of my personal favorites for fall is ornamental peppers. Just like ornamental cabbage, the peppers are not edible but it sure looks really interesting! If you are looking for a dash of bright, fun color ornamental peppers are the plant for you.
Ornamental grasses provide height and texture to a garden and are a favorite among birds and other wildlife throughout the fall and winter months. Try millet, reed grass or fountain grass varieties are favorites on Long Island.
Fall is also a great time to plant trees and shrubs. The air temperatures are cooler but the soil is still warm, creating the perfect conditions for plant roots to grow until the ground freezes. Whether you need to screen out unsightly views, add a new foundation planting to the front of your house or redesign the space around your pool, now is great time to begin the process.
This one might surprise you, but your lawn is also a great “plant” to focus on during fall. Plentiful rainfall, cooler temperatures and the lack of competition from weeds combine to make fall the absolute best time for seeding. Visit your local garden center to choose the grass seed mixture that best suits your conditions (sun, shade, high traffic, etc.) Also, water regularly and fertilize the entire lawn with an organic lawn fertilizer.
Gardening does not end with summer. Get out there now while the temperatures are cool. Enjoy your garden while also checking a few tasks off your list for next spring. Just like summer, your fall and winter gardens can provide you with vivid colors, shapes and textures. Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy all it has to offer.
Karen Musgrave, CNLP, is a marketing and education specialist at Hicks Nurseries as well as a contributing writer for Long Island Weekly.