Late summer or early fall is a wonderful time for buying annual and perennial flowers.
I spent $10 today and came home with an entire car full of plants. I picked up 17 different varieties of annuals and several annuals can be over-wintered. I also have 6 varieties of perennials and 8 varieties of herbs.
Annual flowers are almost out of season so garden centers offer discount prices. The flowers may be stunted from being in a pot that have prohibited root growth but if the plant looks healthy you can pick up flowers to make new container gardens or add more color to your backyard or gardens areas.
I will take off any bad leaves or broken stems and re-pot the plants into containers. This way I can set the flowers up in an area that is protected form the colder weather I will soon have in my Zone 5 area. I can also move the containers indoors or onto the patio in case of frost in late fall. This will extend my flowers.
One of my favorite annual plants to pick up at a reasonable price at this time of year is the Geranium. I will cut the plant down and start new plants from the cutting from the original plant. Geraniums can also be over-wintered using a brown bad technique or they can be grown indoors.
photo credit: byrdiegyrl
To grow a geranium indoors you need to make sure the plant has “dry feet”, plenty of sun and warmth and soil that is fungal free. I once had a geranium I kept for about 5 years. I would move it outdoors in the summer and back indoors for the winter.
Other plants I try to pick up late in the summer or fall are Dusty Millers, Calendula, Zinnias, Mums and any herb. I also look for perennials to plant for the following year.
Perennials that are bought late in the season may be small if they have been grown in pots the entire season so I put them in a special raised bed garden for plants that need a little tender loving care. This bed is close to the house, has rich soil and a cover for shade or protection from wind or cold nights.
I find that fall container gardens are perfect for plants that are bought late in the season. This about.com link will direct you to ideas for container gardening and plants that will grow well in cooler weather. Fall container gardening ideas and tips.
By buying plants late in the season I have added to my perennial collection and have a beautiful colorful garden well into late fall.