Fall is a great time to plant flowers in pots, with many options that will grow well in the cooler temperatures.
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As the summer annual flowers fade in your containers in the dwindling days of summer, don’t put away the pots just yet. Those containers can handle another several weeks of duty if you replant them with a fresh set of flowers that actually prefer the cooler days of fall. Many will even grow through sub-freezing nights.
Give your fall flowers a good foliage partner or two that also like cool temperatures to make a beautiful late-season grouping. These include variegated leafy annuals, such as ornamental cabbage and kale; colorful herbs, such as purple sage or golden oregano; colorful grassy plants, such as purple fountain grass or golden sedge, and plants with colorful fall fruits, such as ornamental hot peppers or a young nandina from the nursery.
Here are five worthy cool-season flowers that garden centers often stock heading into fall:
Pansies can come in multiple shades and colors, and can often have two colors on one flower.
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Pansies and violas
The “faces” of these cheerful little flowers come in a variety of colors, including many that are two-toned. Pansies and violas grow only four to six inches tall, and many are cold-tough enough to survive winters in the ground in much of the U.S. They’re ideal for edging a pot, where they’ll spill over the lip.
Mums are a fall flower favorite and grow in a variety of colors.
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Mums are the quintessential fall flower, among the last of the season to get around to blooming. But when they do, the rounded plants are nearly covered with pin-cushion or daisy-like flowers of red, gold, yellow, burgundy, pink, white, or lavender. Some of the showiest mums are annuals in most of the U.S. (unable to survive winter outside), but most are perennials when planted in the ground.
Rudbeckia, also known as black-eyed susan, is another fall favorite that can either grow all yellow as shown, or as a burgundy-gold mix.
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Better known as black-eyed susans or gloriosa daisies, this flower also comes in annual and hardy-perennial forms. Both have petals of bright gold or a burgundy-gold mix that emerge from a central dark pad. Plants grow about 15 to 18 inches tall and are dense enough to fill a pot by themselves.
Snapdragons are commonly sold during the spring, but you may see them being sold again this fall due to their hardiness in cold climates.
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These old-fashioned favorites with the spiky flowers come in multiple colors and have long been sold as early-spring plants for their cold-hardiness. You might also find them offered again heading into fall’s frosty nights. Like pansies, snapdragons are cold-hardy enough to over-winter in the ground in mild-winter climates. Most grow 12 to 18 inches tall.
Osteospermum are daisy-like flowers that bloom best in cool weather.
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Commonly known as cape daisies, these South African natives bloom best in cool weather. They have daisy-like flowers in a range of colors, including true blue. Plants have a somewhat trailing habit and grow about a foot tall.