In many areas of the U.S., Labor Day traditionally signals return to school, the start of the football season, and an end to gardening for the year. Mother Nature surely did not schedule it this way.
Here are ten plants (plus an extra) that are blooming in late August thru the coming weeks:
Stonecrops or Sedums (Sedum x spectabile) – ‘Autumn Joy’, ‘Matrona’, ‘Autumn Fire’, ‘Brilliant’, many others.
Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) – S. rugosa ‘Fireworks’, S. sphacelata ‘Golden Fleece’, others.
Toadlilies (Tricyrtis spp.) – catching on with shade gardeners searching for fall bloom.
Fall anemones (Anemone x hybrida) – favorites include ‘Honorine Jolbert’, ‘Queen Charlotte’, ‘September Charm’.
Fall mums (Dendranthemum x grandiflorum) – select old-fashioned perennial types such as ‘Ryan Gainey’, ‘Clara Curtis’, ‘Sheffield Pink’.
Fall sunflowers (Helianthus spp.) – plants grow tall (4 to 7 feet) covered with showy yellow flowers.
Fall blooming asters (Symphyotrichum spp.)- ‘October Skies’, ‘Raydon’s Favorite’, ‘Purple Dome’ are three of the best to try.
Encore azaleas: ‘Autumn Ruby’, ‘Autumn Amethyst’, ‘Autumn Lilac’, and another 16 cultivars are hardy in zone 6. A number of the new Bloomathon™ azalea series are also zone 6 hardy.
Brassicas include the flowering cabbages and kales. For best results, plant mid-August and net plants to fend off cabbage butterflies. You may also spray weekly with Dipel® biological insecticide.
Pansies and violas- autumn is a revival for these cool-loving bedding plants. Change out those tired summer annuals with fresh pansies and violas. Pansies are actually violas. Viola blooms are petite and a rave with gardeners these days. Yes, you need to purchase more violas to fill the garden space. Violas bloom more in frigid January and February than pansies. Maximize winter bloom by completing planting before October 1 in zone 5 and before October 15 in zone 6.
Autumn crocus and colchicum are two bulbs that are planted in the cool fall (by late September in zone 5 and mid-October in zone 6). They will bloom next fall and many years thereafter.