What Perennials To Plant In The Fall In The Mid-South

It’s time to think of perennials, to brighten next year’s garden. Stokesia, blooming frilly sky blue daisies in May and June, is not only easily grown, but lovely and dependable. Veronicas in shades of dark and lighter blue bloom in spikes from May until frost.

The older veronica, ‘Blue Spire,’ has royal blue blooms and grows to 18” inches high. Spicata is lighter blue and not quite so tall. Either is nice to border pink rose beds or yellow daylilies.

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Plant many varieties of dianthus to bloom from early May until frost. The annual dianthus (Chinensis), when planted in fall, blooms the following spring. It may be had from the ‘Wee Willie’ size which is only three inches tall to varieties 12” inches tall.

In the South, these seeds are planted in the open in October. They are hardy and cold does them no damage. Perennial dianthus is planted in fall.

Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) is an old favorite, making huge mounds of blooms and said to last for seven years. Plumeria is hardy pink and spicily fragrant.

Louisiana Phlox

A native phlox known as Louisiana, or ‘Opelousas Blue’ is not only a mass of blooms for six weeks starting in April, but forms dense mats or mounds of rich, dark evergreen foliage. This phlox is good for borders and makes a pastel symphony when grown with stock.

The stock should be planted this month in a flat, then transferred as seedlings to rich soil in peat pots, later spaced out in the garden for thriftier, earlier bloom. Spring sown stock seeds seldom bloom; the hot weather gets them.

Blue salvia (Farinacea) is a perennial that can be grown from seed, but it is best to get plants. It is a lovely silvery-gray plant growing to two feet high, blooming all season with spikes of ultramarine blue flowers. A bed or border staggered with the old ‘George Eiger’ (1912) yellow polyantha rose is delicately lovely.

A Firecracker Floribunda

A floribunda rose introduced by (Jackson and Perkins) named ‘Firecracker,’ although I call it “garden flame.” It is a dazzling blend of red and yellow. It has grown well with good, dark green foliage, blooms in high clusters of eight to 12 three-inch flowers showing coppery tints and amber stamens. Do not plant with pink roses.

When buying bulbs don’t overlook the smaller ones. Scillas (campanulata) are come in white, blue, and lilac-rose, blooming in April with spikes over a foot high. Other April treasures are feather hyacinths (plumosum), 1 2-inch spike of feathery violet-blue blooms, and snowflakes (leucojum) with early masses of six-petalled, green-dotted bells.

Snowflakes will grow in shade and should be planted as early as possible in fall. Milla (triteleia) bulbs will star borders, beds, or path sides with myriads of white or soft blue stars for a long time in spring. Uniflora is white, and violaceae is blue.

Get ground ready to plant larkspur, California poppy, and annual phlox. Pansies, violas, and calendulas do best if planted in beds and then transferred to the garden where desired, preferably on a misty, cloudy day. Be sure camellias, and azaleas are well watered.

44659 by Kitty Simpson