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Awesome Late Season Color That Will Light Your Garden Into Fall

Awesome Late Season Color That Will Light Your Garden Into Fall

By Dan Heims and Rebecca Cole, Terra Nova Nurseries
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries

Hey campers, with the last hot days of summer fading fast, we want to grab onto the last of that bright, full garden feeling. Pulling double duty, many items will look great for you throughout the summer but continue to flower and perform late into the fall chill. These plants are crucial to the home gardener and to many pollinators, as we all feel that transition.

So many folks (including some garden center owners) feel that mums are the end-all and be-all of autumn flowers. It ainʻt true, and this sentiment is shared by pollinators as they are putting aside stores for the winter. Mums are mostly double, which means the stamens have mutated into petaloids (petal-like structures), thus, no pollen, no nectar from non-existent stigmas… Help our winged and feathered friends out, people!

Terra Novaʻs kniphofia provides a rich source of pollen and nectar on reblooming plants. Their penstemons are also reblooming, offering the same riches on “cut and come again” plants. Rudbeckia ʻLittle Henryʻ provides flowers on a more self-supporting plant, late in the season and finally, scabiosa ʻVivid Violetʻ produces bunches of blue blooms of butterfly bounty. Letʻs take a closer look at these pollinator-friendly companions to the garden mums.

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Kniphofia 'Redhot Popsicle'

A fantastic garden staple for late season color, kniphofia 'Red-hot Popsicle' is a huge improvement on the classic red-hot poker. Lively, cinnamon-red flowers bloom on short, compact plants for the smaller garden. Avoids the typical messy, bent-over poker look with upright, narrow grassy leaves. Free blooming and re-blooming late into fall. Loved by hummingbirds! Happiest in zones 6-9. Clumps are typically 18” wide by 24” in flower in full sun.

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Penstemon CHA CHA™ 'Hot Pink'

Extend the garden season with very showy, numerous spikes of hot pink flowers. It has a healthy and vigorous bushy habit on a compact plant. A real stand out in the garden, or showy in a combo as an eye-catching addition. Loved by hummingbirds and bumblebees. This variety is also hardy in zones 6-9. Plants are bushy clumps 20” wide and 27” tall in full sun.

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Rudbeckia 'Little Henry'

A late season and showy bloomer, Rudbeckia 'Little Henry' displays the same charming blooms of 'Henry Eilers', but it is one third shorter! Still good for cut flowers, but now fits well into the average landscape. This narrow, upright grower makes a great specimen in the back of the border. The very appealing quilled, gold flowers are a feast for pollinators. Quite hardy to zones 4-8, this gem will reach four feet tall by two feet wide in full sun.

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Scabiosa 'Vivid Violet'

Your garden will become the local pollinator hotspot with the addition of scabiosa 'Vivid Violet'. Large, vivid-violet pincushion flowers set atop low mounds of mildew-resistant, frilly foliage. Very heavy flowering and will bloom continuously from late spring to frost in zones 4-9. Vigorous grower! Nice, spreading clumps, 18” wide by 15” high. Full sun for this beauty.

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Sedum 'Conga Line'

The newest sedum addition from Terra Nova! Strong upright stems are covered in multicolored foliage topped with lovely peach, coral, and cream flowers in late summer. Foliage colors shift from green and purple to warm burgundy tones during flowering. Short, compact habit keeps this plant from an opening habit over the years. A champion pollinator attractor also! Happiest in zones 4-9. Clumps are typically 16” wide by 20” tall in flower in full sun.

Dan Heims is an award-winning author who lectures throughout the world. He was recently honored by the American Horticultural Society with the Luther Burbank Breeding Award, as well as the Perennial Plant Association’s Award of Merit. He was honored by receiving the Royal Horticultural Society’s Reginald Cory Cup for advancements in breeding. You may contact Dan at [email protected]


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