September signals the start of a new season for our gardens. Most flowers have reached their peak and are finished blooming. Evenings get cooler and plants begin to die from the changing weather conditions. There are a few long-lasting flowers as well as late bloomers that flourish well into the early days of fall. Add a few of these plants to your garden in the spring to ensure you'll have flowers until the first frost of the year.
Found in almost any color but black and brown, the petunia (Petunia x hybrida) is a popular bedding flower that is in bloom well into the last weeks of September. Petunias grow between 6 and 12 inches tall and will spread about 1 to 3 feet. Plant flowers in full sun to partial shade and in soil that is well-drained. Water plants regularly and cut them back a bit if they seem to be getting leggy. The petunia has large, funnel-shaped flowers that are about 2 to 4 inches wide. Foliage is light to medium green. Plant your petunias in hanging baskets, window boxes or in your garden and enjoy them until the first frost of the year.
The tuberose is one of the most popular commercially grown cut flowers on the market due to its appealing, strong fragrance. You can grow your own tuberose flowers by planting bulbs in early spring. Place bulbs in pots if you live in a northern climate; plant them in gardens near patios if you're in a warmer zone. Grow tuberoses in rich, well-drained soil and water plants regularly. Place tuberose plants in areas that are fully exposed to the sun. Plants will reach 2 to 3 feet in height and spread 2 to 2 1/2 feet. The white funnel-shaped flower grows in rows along a green spike that can reach 30 inches in length in late summer. Foliage is green and grasslike. Tuberose blooms during the last part of August and lasts until late September.
New England Aster
The New England aster (Aster novae-angliae) blooms from August to late September, adding a dash of color to the end-of-summer gardens. These flowers have a bright, royal purple flower that shows nicely against their light green foliage. Asters grow to be 18 to 24 inches tall and spread 2 to 3 feet in width. Plant asters in full sun and water them regularly. The New England aster adapts to most soil types but does best in well-drained soil. These vibrantly colored little flowers are good choices for borders and edging plants; they will attract beautiful butterflies to your garden throughout the late summer and early fall months.
Known as periwinkle or Madagascar periwinkle, Vinca (Catharanthus roseus) blooms from June and is still going strong during September. These small, delicate-looking flowers are best used as groundcovers, as edging plants and in containers. They grow to heights between 6 and 18 inches and spread to widths of 6 to 18 inches. Plant vinca in full sun to partial shade and give the plants regular waterings. Vinca prefer well-drained sandy loam soil but thrive in most soil types. Flowers are rosy pink or red and have mauve-colored throats. Foliage is petite and medium green. Some varieties of the vinca make good houseplants.