After the spring and summer blooms have come to an end many gardens, porches and patios begin to look bleak as we transition into the dormant part of the year. However, there are actually a variety of cool weather plants and evergreen perennials that we have in stock to provide lasting enjoyment throughout the winter! Plant them in the garden or enjoy them in containers and they will bring a spot of green and color when all else is barren in the coming season.
Snapdragons are cool weather plants offered in a multitude of colors that are often overlooked for fall plantings. They like rich, moist, well-drained soil in a sunny location but will tolerate part sun in our climate, in order to help keep them cool. Cold hardy to 18° F they pair well with pansies and can remain in the garden for several years, long after the pansies are gone. Cutting back spent flowers encourages quick rebloom that will continue until temperatures consistently top 80° F. Use tall varieties to provide a strong vertical element in the garden and for cutting. Add a few of the shorter varieties to your container gardens for a pop of color this fall or use them as a border plant in the garden. As an added bonus, they are deer and rabbit resistant!
Pansies are a staple of fall plantings. They are in the Viola family and derived their name from the French word pensée meaning “thought”, and were so named because the flower resembles a human face. These happy little faces now come in over 300 varieties and can provide a much needed touch of color even in the dead of winter. Plants grow well in sun to part-sun in well-draining soils. They are winter hardy in our zone and can survive light freezes and short periods of snow cover. They are the perfect edition to beds or container gardens.
Coral Bells (Heuchera), previously known for their dainty bell-shaped flowers, have become popular with new and expanding selections of beautiful foliage colors and patterns. They are valued as foliage plants, producing leaves in various shades of burgundy, green, caramel and bronze, with variegated and textured varieties. Similar to Heuchera, Tiarella and the hybrid cross of Heucherella, also provide interesting and contrasting foliage. We have a wide selection of all of these evergreen perennials available for fall planting.
Bergenia are clump-forming, evergreen perennials with large leathery leaves and cone-shaped flowers in various shades of pink. For most of the year, the leaves have a glossy green colour, but in cooler climates, they turn red or bronze in the fall. The common name for Bergenia is pigsqueak (due to the sound produced when two leaves are rubbed together). Bergenia are hardy and can grow to 24” tall and wide. They prefer sun but will grow in shady areas as well. While they tolerate most soils, they prefer soils that are moist and humus-rich. Dry soils tend to stunt growth, but can enhance the winter leaf colors.
Ornamental Cabbage, Kale and Mustards come in a variety of green, white, pink and purple combinations. While they are technically edible they are hybridized versions of their culinary counterparts and are not flavorful or tender. They prefer to dry out between watering but will stress if left dry for long periods of time. Plant in fall for color that remains until Spring.
Don’t forget about cold tolerant edibles! Add Swiss Chard to containers or beds for dark green foliage with veins of yellow and red and hardy herbs such as rosemary, sage and thyme. They provide unique variety to container gardens and prove useful in the kitchen through the season and beyond.
All of these plants are perfect for fall/winter container gardens. They tolerate the mild sun of winter and can be pulled out and planted in the shade garden in the spring. Stop in and see our vast selection and take home a container garden today that you’ll enjoy all winter.
Planter shown above with ornamental kale, snapdraggons, pansies and ivy.