Just because it’s October, that doesn’t mean it’s time to hide the garden tools and call it a year until next spring. This is, of course, the time of year we celebrate the harvest season and pumpkins, gourds, hay stalks and tri-colored corn are all beautiful fall décor for the outside of your home and garden. But, there are also fall-loving plants that will add color to your landscape for weeks to come. Here’s a few fall plants that are perfect now and will come back to delight next year, as well:
1. Chrysanthemums. Best known as mums, chrysanthemums are a fall favorite in New Jersey. Low maintenance and deer resistant (a huge plus!), mums come in variety of colors: white yellow, green, purple, red, orange, pink and bronze and there are also many bi-colored varieties. Mums are considered a perennial and most mums will survive the winter and come back in the spring. Plant them early in the ground to establish a good root system. If planted in a pot, mums won’t last, but, they are a beautiful addition to any landscape. Choose a spot that gets at least six hours of sun per day and has well-drained soil. Trim off last year’s stems when the stems show in the spring.
2. Autumn crocus. Many of us consider crocus a springtime plant, but the vibrant purple crocus, if planted early, will last all fall. Autumn crocus grows in a wide variety of light and shaded areas and require nearly no maintenance. They don’t like a lot of water, but may need some during arid conditions. If you’re planting crocus bulbs now, make sure to get them in before the first frost. Dig a hole twice as deep as your bulb, sprinkle some bone meal as fertilizer and plant with the point of the bulb facing up. Water generously and enjoy your crocuses for many seasons to come.
3. Asters. This New Jersey perennial favorite is so ubiquitous in the fall, it’s almost not fall without them. There are many varieties of asters that are native to New Jersey. Aster season is typically mid-September to mid-October but they will run longer if the weather stays mild. They perk up any garden and they thrive in the shade. Asters make great border plants and will cover themselves with many blooms for weeks at a time. Space Asters one to three feet apart when planting, depending on the type. Another Aster bonus: they attract butterflies to your garden!