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Early Fall Flowers

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November 1, 2014
After a hot summer I always feel more refreshed with the cooler fall temperatures. Some of our summer flowering plants feel the same way too. Zinnia are always a fall favorite for me and the fall performance of Profusion and Zahara are always a treat. Many times the cutting type of zinnia are ignored in the fall. But who can ignore the presence of Inca zinnia. Inca is a cactus-flowered zinnia having spectacular vivid blaze orange flowers. The fully double flowers are held on long stems perfect for cutting and are up to 4 inches across. A great verbena that has burst upon the garden scene is the Enduro series, which are vigorous and trialing. There are several colors which include hot pink, Dark purple and blue. But what I think is the best characteristic is the increased cold hardiness, tolerating low teens in trials. In south Mississippi you could plant these in the fall and expect them to over winter. Woodcreek gomphrena produces flowers from early summer to frost in the fall. I like the flowers because they are clover-like, everlasting, and straw-like in texture. The flower heads are actually bracts, which are leaves resembling petals. The real flowers are inconspicuous and are only noticeable when the yellow stamens poke out. Woodcreek flower colors range from purple, delicious cherry and lilac. Gomphrena are easy to grow plants that have relatively few pest problems. The strong garden performance of Gomphrena is exemplified by having Fireworks chosen as Mississippi Medallion plant in 2010. Enjoy a few weeks of extended summer color before planting those fall and winter annuals. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

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