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You Can Grow That! October 2013: Late blooming annuals

  

Red Giant mustard accents snapdragons in the late season garden. Photo courtesy National Garden Bureau

You Can Grow That! in September talked about late-blooming perennials. This month, here’s a sampler of late-blooming, easy-t0-grow annuals, some of which you may already have in your garden. If not, many of these may be available at garden centers.

Snapdragons love the cooler temperatures of fall and have been known to keep blooming into December. Snaps (Antirrhinum majus) come in all sizes and colors and do best in full sun, but tolerate part sun. Even this time of year, you can sow seeds directly in soil in window boxes, pots or a patch in the landscape, according to packet instructions. Garden centers also may have snapdragons in pots this time of year. Snapdragons are great cut flowers, too.

Petunias (Petunia) and million bells (Calibrachoa) may already be growing in your landscape or pots. Cut them back a bit, give them a dose of fertilizer, keep them watered and they will keep blooming for several more weeks. These are quite tolerant of cooler temperatures and can take a frost or two.

Cape daisy (Osteospermum) also should revive as temperatures cool. These plants are stunning in spring and fall, but seem to lose their zip in summer when the temeratures get hot, especially at night. Indiana’s hot weather prevents the plants from resting at night, which diminishes their blooms.

Verbena hybrids seem to be revived by cooler temps, too. These sun-loving and heat tolerant plants will continue blooming for several more weeks.

At garden centers, also look for pots of Swiss chard, mustards and kale for interesting foliage and color. Many of these work well as the centerpiece or thriller in a late-season container for outdoors. If we plan far enough ahead next year, we can grow our own from seed. Look for the seeds in spring and sow them in early August, according to packet instructions.

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