August is a great time to plant flowers that will bloom in the fall. The hot days of summer are starting to wane, making it more comfortable to work outdoors. The soil is still warm from the summer sun, which encourages good root growth in new plantings. And plants put in now have time to become established before cold weather arrives. Here are some of the best flowers and plants to grow in August for gorgeous fall displays:
Hardy chrysanthemums, commonly called mums, are classic fall-blooming flowers. They come in a wide range of colors including red, orange, yellow, white, pink, burgundy, and more. When planted in August, mums will produce a profusion of colorful blooms by mid-September that last well into fall. Stagger planting a selection of mums with different bloom times for the longest-lasting display. Plant mums in full sun and well-draining soil. Pinch back the tips periodically until mid-August to encourage bushier growth and more flower buds.
Asters are daisy-like perennials that bloom prolifically in late summer and fall. They are available in many colors like purple, pink, red, white, and blue. Plant asters in full sun with average soil. Deadhead spent blooms to extend flowering. Some recommended asters for August planting are: Wood’s pink aster, Victoria asters, New England asters, and aromatic asters.
Ornamental Kale and Cabbage
These cool weather-loving plants produce stunning rosettes of foliage in shades of white, pink, purple, and green that last well into winter. Plant them in August for gorgeous color as temperatures cool. Good frost tolerance allows them to withstand cold fall temperatures. Plant ornamental cabbage and kale in full sun with well-drained soil. Fertilize occasionally for best growth.
Snapdragons are a popular cottage garden flower that blooms in cool weather. Plant them in August for charming spikes of colorful blooms that last until frost. Good cutting flowers. Plant in full sun to partial shade in average garden soil. Pinch back spent blooms to encourage more flowering. Protect from severe frost.
Violas and Pansies
Violas and pansies are ideal for fall and winter colors. Plant them in August so they can get established before the cooler weather when they really shine. Their cheery blooms come in a rainbow of colors and patterns. Plant in full sun to partial shade in fertile, well-drained soil. Water regularly for best performance. Pansies and violas will bloom until hard frost.
For unusual fall colors, try ornamental peppers. They produce petite peppers in a rainbow of colors like purple, orange, yellow, red, and lime green. Plant in containers or borders in full sun and warm soil for best production. Bring containers indoors before frost for extended enjoyment of their colorful fruit.
Sedums and Succulents
Sedums and succulents like aloes, echeveria, and sempervivums thrive in the cooler fall temperatures and less watering needs. Their interesting foliage and textures make great additions to fall containers and gardens. Plant them in well-drained soil and full sun. Drought tolerant once established. Attractive into winter.
Many popular fall-blooming bulbs are planted in autumn, but some can go in the ground in August for earlier blooms. Some options include gladiolus, bearded iris rhizomes, colchicum bulbs, and fall-planted lily bulbs. Prepare the soil well and plant as directed on the packaging for spring-like blooms in the fall garden.
Cheery sunflowers are easy to grow and bloom prolifically at summer’s end. Sow seeds directly in the garden in August. Choose short-season varieties that will bloom and mature before frost. Great for cut flowers. Plant in full sun and average soil. Provide support for tall varieties.
Showy dahlia tubers can be planted in August for late summer and fall blooms. Fertile, well-drained soil is best. Water during dry periods for lush growth. Stake tall plants. Grow dahlias in full sun to partial shade. Disbud for largest blooms. Dig up tubers after frost for winter storage indoors.
Salvia produces spikes of colorful flowers in late summer and fall on bushy plants. Good choices for August planting include Salvia nemorosa and Salvia guaranitica. Plant in full sun and well-draining soil. Shear back spent flower spikes to encourage reblooming. Bring containerized salvias indoors over winter.
Hardy hibiscus produces huge, colorful, tropical-looking flowers in late summer into fall. Plant root balls or container-grown plants in August so they have time to get established before bloom time. Grow in full sun with consistent moisture. Mulch roots to protect from winter cold.
Russian sage is a chic, low-maintenance perennial that blooms prolifically in late summer with airy sprays of lavender-blue flowers. Fragrant silvery foliage is attractive all season. Plant new plants and divisions in August. Grows best in full sun and dry, well-drained soil. Cut back in spring to maintain shape.
While most flowering plants bloom in spring and summer, there are many options for fall flowering to extend the garden’s season. By planning and planting some of the top-performing fall-bloomers in August, you can create splashes of colorful blooms to usher in the fall season. With a selection of mums, asters, hardy hibiscus, ornamental grasses, Russian sage, and other late bloomers, your garden will remain lively and beautiful even as summer fades into autumn.