What flowers bloom till frost?

tammyinwv(z6/WV)October 17, 2009

My gardens were looking extremely bare after August on. Didnt help that the deer ate my lilly blooms. Anyway. I need to add more fall color to my z6 garden. What plants do you recommend?


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lgslgs(z6 SE ohio)



Here is a link that might be useful: Helenium photos

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 6:56PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

I second helenium. I added three to my yard this year with lots of seeds scattered around already. I also recommend Joe Pye Weed (chocolate has purple foliage). Helianthus is also blooming a bright yellow (thanks Carrie360!). Yvonne's salvia, pineapple sage, and salvia subrotunda are still kicking it. I've still got a couple of odd rudbeckia blooming. Butterfly bushes are still going strong too, though they may or may not be hardy in your area. Asters and mums. Lots of native asters that will bloom in the fall. Sedums. Cosmos are still blooming. Melampodiums.

The helianthus in morning sun. The yellow is incredibly brilliant.

The odd rudbeckia


Red Spider lilies

Pineapple sage

You've made me realize I haven't taken any pictures of flowers in a week or more. I need to get outside with the camera tomorrow.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 7:31PM
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Nicotiana, old fashioned petunias, gomphrena, calendula, agastache, chrysanthemums, asters--these among others are still blooming in my gardens.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 8:56PM
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Thanks guys. I loved the pics token. your gardens have such a calming/relaxing feel.
I do have some melampodium, joe pye weed, some salvia's, and a few others from trades that I plan on w/s this yr. Maybe my beds will look much nicer, for longer next yr. Seems like they dwindled to almost nothing by the end of August.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 9:27PM
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shemeows(6 ID)

Gaillardias keep on going here till hard frosts. And the seedheads look pretty too.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 9:44PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Tammy, in July, cut back about half the summer blooming perennials forcing them to regrow their buds for later blooms. Sow seeds for cool weather annuals like calendula. Plant pansies last week. Make notes of what's blooming in other gardens in your area. Pack em in tight.

My garden suffered this year without much rain and me being unable to get out and work in it for nearly 6 weeks due to an injury. SO...what is still blooming, there'll be a lot more of it next year. I really plan to make the perennial bed a place where I tinker and play with seeds and combinations. I've taken/cut down a lot of plants over the past few weeks. Coreopsis Full Moon were still going, bee balm had the occasional bloom, and castor beans were nice, but in the way of fall mums I wanted to get planted this year. Every year, next year will be better.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 10:19PM
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A few roses, alyssum and myosotis, that's it. One phlox has made a feeble attempt at a third bloom, just a couple small blossoms. The frost nipped my beautiful asters, was hoping to have that color a little longer. Maybe they wind up fast, first year I've had any.

My ruds are done. The alyssums are still so pretty, growing close to the ground the way they do takes a hard frost to kill them.

token, I enjoyed your photos, saw those cute little spiderworts (had a few some years ago, none now), and love the spider lily but think they aren't hardy here.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 11:38PM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

These are in bloom right now and we had frost several nights in a row last week:

-Geranium 'Rozanne'
-Sedum 'Autumn Joy'
-Helenium - yes!
-Fall Crocus
-Lobelia - annual
-Geranium - annual
-Hydrangea 'Annabelle' - been on bloom since June
-Solidago 'Fireworks'
-Clematis 'Henryii' & Venusa Violacea - saw a couple stragglers yesterday
-Most of my grass are gorgeous right now:
- Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light'
- Miscanthus sinensis 'Yaku-Jima'
- Eragrostis spectabilis - Purple Love Grass
- Northern Sea Oats - Chasmanthium latifolium
- Korean Feather Reed Grass - Calamagrostis brachytricha
- Little Bluestem
- Switch Grass

Winter interests in my garden:
-Red Twig Dogwood
-Winterflame Dogwood
-Scarlet Curls Willow
-Coral EMbers Willows
-River Birch 'Little King'
-Viburnum opulus 'Compactum' - bright red berries all over the shrub

I also leave flower heads on all the grass, Sedum, Echinacea, Liatris and Hydrangea 'Annabelle' all winter long. And I have several miniature conifers and a clump of yucca that stay green year round.

My garden never lacks colors 12 months of the year.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 11:54PM
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I added a few crotons for color when my annuals started to dwindle. Will bring them indoors tomorrow with our first frost in the forecast. I know you said zone 6 - I'm 7. Mexican heather, zinnias, marigolds, morning glories, mandevilla, cannas, geraniums, salvia, begonias, pentas and lantana are still blooming. I also tried sweet potato vines for the first time - lots of color (light green and dark purple). It is invasive - and I let it invade. I have lots of pictures on Kodak Gallery - will have to figure out how to post them here.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 1:31AM
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These are still blooming in Z5 MA, near NH border, as of Sat. We've had several frosts already and 2 nights of a freeze

marigold disco flame
marigold bolero
8 kinds of cosmos
chinese forget me nots
dwarf snapdragons
sweet alyssum
dahlia stargazer
dahlia fireworks
perennial herbs are hanging on as well


    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 2:13AM
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Pit, one thing I found interesting is that your Annabelle is still blooming. Mine have gone to yellowing, and have for a few weeks.And my Clematis Henryii quit some time ago. I guess maybe I should deadhead it next time? I let it go to see so I would have some to trade. My gardens have been sorely neglected for past 3 yrs dealing with family crisis.My DGD was being abused by her sperm donor, and we were helping my daughter get out of that mess, and protect her. So this yr I have been busy trying to save seed, and buying plants on clearance.
Token, when you said "cut back perennials about half" did you mean to cut back half the plant and let the rest bloom, or to cut back the plant to half its size? I have never done much deadehading. But did find this yr that when I plucked seed heads of my balloon flower it bloomed again. So I have subscribed to memotome.com, to get reminders to do certain things as I learn them on here. Such as the deadheading,cutting back etc.
You guys mentioend a lot of annuals. I have never gotten into them much, but then it dawned on me (a little late this yr) that these would fill in bloom when the perennials are reaching their end, so I am trading for more marigolds, and zinnias etc for next yr. We have had a few scattered light frost, but only in the front yard. My backyard pushes up against the woods on the right and behind, so it takes awhile to hit there.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 7:47AM
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A couple more annuals you might consider are Cosmos and California Poppies. Even after one hard frost and a couple of close ones, mine are still blooming.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 8:39AM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Tammy, you can do both. In the Well Tended Perennial Garden, the author recommends layering your perennials by cutting a third of the plants back by 1/3, another third by 2/3, and leaving the final third as is to continue growing and blooming at the regular time. I just cut some of mine by half and call it done. Meaning, cut half the plant back, usually just enough to remove the flower buds that are trying to open. They'll regrow, perennials will. And you can extend your bloom time. It's the same idea as pinching petunias in early spring.

I know, trying to get a gardener to chop off half your blooms is like pulling teeth. :)

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 9:45AM
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LOL, Token, you sure have that right. Especially when you have waited months to see them bloom again. But I will give that a try next yr.

Tiff I have gotten a few cosmos and poppies from trades and ebay. I dont have any california poppies tho. Do they bloom longer than the other varieties? Are they Annuals?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 10:27AM
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spartangardener(z4 MN)

Perennials: mums, asters, boltonia,sedum, one variety of physostegia, hardy shrub roses, phlox (especially if pinched back), rudbeckia triloba, toad lily, stells d'oro daylilies, coreopsis "moonlight", ornamental grasses, dianthus, sweet autumn clematis

Annuals: alyssum, calendula, cosmos, asters, amaranth, nicotiana, petunias, pansies, snapdragons

Interesting seedheads/dried flowers: hydrangea, baptisia, candylily,

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 2:22PM
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The California Poppies will bloom all summer long. You can even give them a little 'hair cut' mid-summer and they won't skip a beat. I just pulled out a bunch to clean-up a garden and they were all in bloom. They have nice colours too!! Great as an edger.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 3:20PM
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flower_addict88(7A NC)

I dont think anyone has mentioned the annual wax begonia.
I bought a plant of the white/pink green leaved, and the red with the "red" leaved. I planted them May, and they are still blooming great. I think they are wonderful for compact bursts of color, and it is the annual I will be buying next year.


    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 3:40PM
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Never would have thought about begonias.But I havent put much thought into annuals for this bed until this yr.
I guess I need to find some california poppies :)

Token, I did an online search and our local library has "The Well Tended Perennial Garden", and the propagators bible i think you mentioned to someone else. So I am going to check Monday and see about picking these and a few others up.

Spartangardener, I did get some triloba off off a GW member this summer, and planted the physostegia from seed (although late). I also bought a couple of phlox this summer. I will try and root some cuttings of these this spring. The franz Shubert seemed pretty easy to do. But it was another I attempted late.

I also bought a "Ruby Spice" Summersweet the other day clearanced at Lowes. But I think it is another summer bloomer. All these are great ideas. I am taking notes, and will be looking for the seed.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 3:55PM
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I bought a Campanula persicifolia 'Takion Blue' (peach-leafed bellflower). This pic was taken just before October and it looks even better today. That's a June to frost bellflower. Still has new buds coming, too. We've had several frosts and the more tender plants are goners, but these blooms keep holding on. I just love it. I don't know if I'll be able to collect seed this year (I disbudded earlier so I'm trying for seeds before the first serous frost), but I plan getting lots more of this plant through division and/or buying. I have other bellflowers that stopped blooming in July, looked identical. Apparently this 'Takion Blue' was developed to bloom a long time, and they really outdid themselves!


    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 8:20PM
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WOW Deanna! Im with you. Thats gorgeous. I am going to put that on my want list. I have to find seeds for this one.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 10:31PM
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Definitely adding that Bellflower to my list of must-haves!!

Aside from the normal fall plants that start blooming late summer into fall, there are many spring and summer plants that will continue as long as you keep up on removing spent blooms before setting seeds from both annuals and perennials. Also some plants that you cut back by half after there first flush will re-bloom for you...for example: Blue Flax, Lavender, Maltese Cross, Agastache, Hyssopus officinalis, Feverfew, Salvia officinalis and Catmint(Nepeta). Usually I get the Nepeta to re-bloom again for both summer and fall as the comeback is pretty quick after cutting back. Also I've never grown the common Feverfew, but the double flowered 'Flore Pleno' has a very extended bloom season to begin with and cut back after the first flush will reward you again with another extended flush of blooms:)
Here are some August-Sept. pictures in no particular order. I tossed a few in from previous years for Sept-Oct since I didn't get too many fall pictures taken this season. Our first frost normally happens around September 15-18th, but held off this year until September 27th. It wasn't even severe enough to knock back the marigolds or tomatoes (though a few upper leaves were nipped), but did take the Zinnia depending on location. Those in the south-west up against the house were spared :)
October 3rd, 2009....Helianthus maximiliana and Polygonum orientale

October 3rd, 2009 Linaria maroccana (Moroccan Toadflax AKA Baby Snapdragon), a cool season bloomer that when cut back by half will repeat bloom in cooler fall weather)

August 18th Matthiola incana (Stocks) 'Giant Imperial

August 18th, 2009 Snapdragon and Larkspur. These Larkspur were just late bloomers. They are self-sown and it just so happens that some bloom early spring from previous fall seedlings and some hold off until late summer/fall to grow and bloom. The Snaps are deadheaded for continued blooms until about end of August and then left to start setting seed, but with the cooler weather the bloom often is pretty extended before that happens. In fact my 3 and 4 year old plants are just finishing up this week and we've already dropped down to 12-15F for 3 consecutive nights/mornings.

August 18th Venidium fastuosum (African Daisy) and Calendula officinalis var. nana. The Venidium and Calendula continue to bloom until a hard freeze or longer if removing of spent blooms is kept up. I have some younger self-sown plants that are continuing to bloom despite the 12-15F temps they've experienced. Apparently since they came up later in the season they have more energy :)

Again Venidium blooming on November 17th last year...

September 23rd Clarkia amoena (Godetia). I didn't even have to remove spent blooms on these ones. Despite formation of seed pods the plants carried on as if I spent a lot of time fussing with them!

September 23rd Nicotiana alata. Once pods starting forming I did go through and pinch out or snip them off at least 1x weekly. Once I had mostly blooms happening only at the very tops I cut the stems back into the basal foliage and they re-bloomed on the side shoots that followed. Since it was already end of September I also left some plants alone in order to get seeds. All my Nicotiana this year were self-sown.

September 25th last year...Solidago 'Fireworks', African Marigold and Aster laevis

Sept. 8th last year reblooming Maltese Cross and Aster laevis

October 6th last year....Rudbeckia hirta and Aster laevis

October 6th...
Solidago, Gaillardia aristata 'Burgundy', Feverfew 'Flore Pleno', Coreopsis tinctoria and Verbena bonariensis. Notice the ugly Yarrow in the center that gets Powdery Mildew every fall. I've been digging it out of the bed this year and will be working on that particular clump today before the rains come this afternoon. I plan to replace some of those clumps with Shasta Daisy

....another angle, including Rudbeckia, Aster laevis and Petunia bottom right

October 6th...Nasturium 'Empress of India' and dwarf Marigold

August 20th last year...Blue Flax and Scabiosa atropurpurea

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 12:18PM
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vera - gorgeous and those clarkia are stunning!

Thanks for the pics, as always - beautiful


    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 7:57AM
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Vera, thanks for all the stunning pics. I did a search on the Helianthus maximiliana . I thought it looked so pretty. But I read it got from 8-12 feet tall. Does it really get that big? I grew Nicotiana "Only the loney" one yr and loved the fragrance. I have to try it again. I have seen pics of the green one that looks very pretty. Dont know if its as fragrant.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 8:51AM
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Your welcome Carrie :)

I just loved loved that Clarkia/Godetia this year...it just never stopped blooming. They were also self-sown this year...Tiffy (Nicole) if your reading; I hope they will self-sow in your garden too; I just finished getting your Clarkia/Godetia in your package :)


The Max Sunflower would definitely grow that tall, but I cut them back once the hit about 3' (in a rounded fashion...taller in the middle and going shorter as you do the sides, front and back). When they are cut back they only get to about 6' at the tallest point and are much fuller for it; bloom begins the first week in October.

I've been cutting them back since the beginning....the first year I cut them back 2x...once at 12" (just pinched out) and then again at 2.5'. The very first pinch given helps send up lots of new growth at the base so you don't have a tall scrawny gangly 1st year plant...which bloom 1st year BTW. Plants not cut back bloom earlier...like in July.
The plants form tuberous roots and in spring you can tell how many stems will be produced by viewing the small reddish eyes (sorta like looking at peony)growing out of it. The cut back to follow will cause more stems to form from each of those shoots/stems.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 6:11PM
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Vera, completely fantastic post for a new gardner like me. Wow! I've posted on a couple of forums about long-blooming perennials, and your pics really excite me. I'm on the 5/4 border, so I have some winter research to do to see what is good for my area! Thanks so much for the time you put into your post!


    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 10:12PM
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Wow Vera, thanks for the fantastic info. I HAVE to get some seeds for those.
I ordered some Clarkia after seeing your pic. They are beautiful.
I have never pinched or cut back before. But after several informative post about this,I am certainly going to next yr. Same with my clematis Ramona and Henryii. I found out if I deadheaded them I would get another round of bloom. I was so afraid I would miss out on seed. That Ramona is gorgoeus in bloom.Same with my balloon flower. I waited on them to form seed, when I could have deadheaded, and got more bloom and waited on those to seed. Didnt know that till too late tho.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 10:42PM
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My favorite late season flower is blue monkshood (Acontinum carmichaelii) They usually bloom for me in September and October. And the deer don't bother it, when they eat almost everything else. I keep meaning to add some yellow Acontinum lamarkii, but I haven't had any luck germinating seed for it.

Monkshood is especially good if you don't have full sun.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 11:53AM
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kimka, what a coincidence. I have a new flower in my bed that just recently started blooming. One single stem. I thought from the looks of the leaves that it might be an odd looking delphinium. That is ...until I looked up the flower in your post. I think that it actually is an Acontinum carmichaelii. Thanks for the info.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 8:59PM
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I addition to all these beauties, my favorite late bloomers are:
Toad lily
White Snakeroot
Browallia (new this year and I love it)

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 12:35AM
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I hope you ordered Clarkia amoena...often found as Godetia. The Clarkia elegans are a spring plant that are usually spent up by summer.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 10:33AM
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Vera, yes I did order the amoena. I did so after seeing your pic and reading you note about your preference for it. Cant wait to see these in person.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 3:40PM
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