What’s one thing Texas homeowners take pride in? Along with our homes, we take great satisfaction in the trees, garden beds and other landscaping that add something special and beautiful to our property. Attractive landscaping adds curb appeal and increases property value, and it makes spending time outdoors that much more enjoyable.
If you’re a newcomer to the state, you might not realize gardening in Texas isn’t just for springtime. With a little know-how and planning, you can, indeed, enjoy fresh, colorful blooms almost any time of year.
Wondering What Flowers to Plant in the Fall in Texas?
Green thumbs in many parts of Texas enjoy a climate that allows for beautiful gardens throughout the year. Fortunately, there are several varieties of flowering plants that Texas gardeners love for their ability to thrive throughout the cooler, wetter seasons.
Fall Flowers in Texas
The start of school and fall activities usually bring with them cooler temperatures, which is a good excuse to work in your yard and garden. Take stock of your plants and see which ones may have withered in the Texas summer sun and will need to be replaced. Fall is also a good time to determine where you might want to start a new flower bed. Getting your flowers started early in the season can help them become established before winter weather arrives.
After you determine where you want your flowers to go and how many you’ll need, the next step is to decide which types of flowers would work best for your yard. Read on to learn more about flowers which are well-suited to Texas and under what conditions they will thrive.
Also known as blue-bottles and bachelor’s buttons, these plants can add a pretty pop of blue to your garden from autumn through winter and into spring. Cornflowers do well in full sun, spaced two or three feet apart in your garden bed or planter.
Late September is a good time for sowing cornflower seeds outdoors. You can also sow them indoors about a month before you plan to plant them outside, sowing a quarter-inch deep, three to four seeds per pot, and then snipping off all but the strongest plants. When your seedlings have reached between two and four inches tall, they’re ready to be transplanted them to your outdoor garden.
Asters make a wonderful border plant for a fall or winter Texas garden. These flowers, which look like pretty purple daisies, thrive in rocky or sandy soil, and they like full sun or partial shade best.
Plant asters in late summer for blooms in the fall, spacing them about one-and-a-half to two feet apart. Be careful not to overwater; if you see that they’re wilting, give them a spray, but let the soil dry out between waterings.
These flowers are special because they do well in both hotter and cooler weather. You can start petunias from seeds in late winter, for outdoor planting in the spring, but you can also plant them outdoors in September for lovely autumn blooms.
While most petunias prefer full sun, not all varieties of petunias are the same. Certain varieties require sandy, well-drained soil, while others need to stay very moist; make sure you know which variety you’re planting in order to plan accordingly.
While bluebonnets won’t bloom in the fall or winter, the fall season is perfect for planting bluebonnet seeds in your garden. Keep weeding your flower beds through the winter to give the bluebonnets a good chance to grow. By March or April, you’ll have a gorgeous display of this popular and beloved state flower of Texas.
The Best Texas Garden Flowers for Your Yard
Perhaps you were planning to start a new garden in the spring and are ready to get started now. Maybe you want to add a small flower bed to your existing landscape. Below are some other plants you might want to consider adding to your outdoor spaces during the fall months.
A flower you’ll see as the centerpiece of enormous Homecoming corsages here in Texas comes in all the typical fall colors. These can be planted in full sun in your flower bed to produce gorgeous flowers throughout the fall season. They produce their best flowers after their first year in the ground, so be patient with them. After planting chrysanthemums in the fall, keep them trimmed throughout the following year, pruning them to a rounded shape and snipping off any flower buds that form. Once the next August rolls around, stop trimming the flower buds. By October, you should have a garden full of gorgeous blooms.
This perennial vine does well all over Texas, but especially in the central part of the state. Native to Mexico, coral vine is a hardy grower; plant seeds or transplant a root tuber from another location, and just a handful of months later, you’ll have a mass of vines and delicate flowers. Some consider the plant invasive since it can grow rapidly and if left unchecked crowds out native species. Coral vines display their lovely, lacy tendrils of flowers in early to mid-fall, and flowers can range from white to pink to a dark rose hue.
Coral vines grow best with a trellis, arbor or fence to climb; they can also send out their curly little shoots to climb a brick or stone wall. Don’t worry when this plant dies back with the first frost, and don’t be afraid to cut it back vigorously. Come spring, it will begin its new growth cycle quickly and heartily.
Drought tolerant, coral vines thrive in partial or full sun, which makes them a perfect choice for central and south Texas gardens.
Mexican bush sage
This plant’s gorgeous, lavender-hued flowers are the perfect choice for a more natural-looking garden. Fans of xeriscaping often choose this perennial for their garden designs, and it’s a great plant to share with friends, as it’s easily grown from stem cuttings.
Mexican bush sage flowers from the end of summer until the first frost. If this plant experiences frost damage, you can cut it down to six inches tall and cover it with mulch, and it will return vigorously in the spring.
Since Mexican bush sage can grow to four or five feet across and in height, be sure to give it room in your garden. It often looks best placed at the back of a bed, as a gorgeous lavender backdrop to shorter plants in front. Be sure to prune in summer to keep it from getting too bushy by fall.
Though technically edible, many gardeners adore ornamental kale purely for its aesthetic appeal—and it really is gorgeous, with its lacy-edged leaves in green, pink and purple hues. This plant is also called ornamental cabbage due to its appearance (the variety with leaves that have smooth edges looks quite a bit like a head of cabbage).
These plants do wonderfully in mild winters, such as those experienced in the eastern part of the state. Ornamental kale makes an attractive choice whether for flower beds, garden borders or in decorative planters and grows best in full sun, spaced about a foot apart.
Also called Sweet William, dianthus is a wonderful option for gardeners who need flowers that grow well in cooler temperatures. Dianthus flowers come in many shades of red, pink and white, and are best planted in an area that is shady in the afternoons. Morning sun is fine, especially since this plant is prone to fungus; sunlight helps protect against this disease.
Dianthus needs to be watered regularly, but not overwatered. Deadheading—pinching or snipping off any dead flowers just above the first set of healthy leaves—can help to encourage the growth of new blooms.
These are a pretty and traditional addition to a winter garden, and they’re wonderfully easy to grow, at least in the cooler months. Since they don’t weather Texas heat well, pansies are better here as an annual than a perennial. Pansy seeds can be sown indoors in early fall in a soilless germinating mixture, about an eighth of an inch deep. When kept dark and moistened regularly with a spray bottle or mister, germination should occur within two to three weeks.
Once the little shoots emerge, the plants can be moved to a cool, bright area to continue growing. When the seedlings have grown two sets of leaves, they’re ready to be transplanted to a sunny location outdoors, preferably in November. Space them about six to ten inches apart for best results.
These annuals do well in mildly chilly weather, but they die off in summer heat. They’re best planted in November in full or partial sun. Deadheading snapdragons throughout their blooming season will encourage new buds to grow and keep their flowers fresh and vibrant.
These small, pretty plants don’t deal well with frost, which makes them best suited for milder winters like those in the southern part of the state. Sweet alyssum produces small clusters of white, yellow, pink and purple blooms through October. They perform best in sandy, rocky or well-drained soil, and prefer full sun or partial shade.
Preventing Powdery Mildew in Your Garden
Spacing out the plants in your garden isn’t only an issue of aesthetics, or of giving the plants room to mature. Spacing them out also increases air circulation between plants and around their leaves, which is helpful in the dampness of the fall season in Texas, when ongoing rain and moderately cool temperatures can lead to a fungus called powdery mildew.
This fungus affects a variety of different plants, and it’s pretty easy to identify. You’ll find white, powdery spots on the leaves and stems of plants that have become infected with the disease. If the disease progresses, these powdery spots will grow in size, weakening the plant, leaching its nutrients and interfering with its ability to produce flowers. Keeping your plants pruned can also help increase air circulation and decrease the likelihood of fungal diseases setting in.
Trust Your Lawn To The Experts at ABC
ABC Home & Commercial Services has been caring for yards across Texas for decades. Whether it’s help with mowing, fertilization, landscaping or tree care, you can trust our pros to advise you on how to keep your outdoor spaces looking great.