As temperatures begin to fall from the over-bearing 100s to the pleasant 80s, gardeners begin to go back outdoors. The lower temperatures and fall rains provide the perfect circumstances to add flowering plants and colorful leaves into the Texas landscape. Using spots of color create a warm and welcoming look that feeds the eyes and the spirit.
Texas is a big state that includes hardiness zones 6 through 11. So, one size does not fit all when it comes to adding fall color. However, there are many plants that work well in fall plantings throughout most of the state. The residents living in south Texas, where freezes are unlikely, can plant a wider variety than those Texans living in zones 6 through 8.
What to Plant to Add Fall Color to Texas Landscapes
Traditionally Texans begin adding fall color to the landscape in early September expecting the colorful plants to last until the first freeze of the season. Texans living north of a line from Houston to San Antonio should expect their first freeze by December 1, with those in the Texas Panhandle often having freezing temperatures by November 1.
If a Texas landscape already has a variety of colors and textures in its perennial shrubs and trees, then add spots of color to accent those established features. Work within the color palette to select complementary colors. And, as tempting as it might be, do not overdo color—too much color is like wearing too much makeup.
Adding color to a Texas landscape may include transplanting into established beds or adding flowers in strategically placed pots by the front door or near the patio. Here are some plants that provide colorful accents to your landscape:
- Celosia Plumosa – feathery flowers in yellow, pink, red and maroon
- Sweet potato vines – light yellow-green in color, grow quickly
- Mexican heather – small white or purple flowers, small medium-green leaves
- Coleus – showy bright colors on large leaves, can be grown from cuttings or transplants
- Dusty miller – grey-green to almost white deeply indented leaves, striking in a landscape and may be cut for arranging.
- Moss roses – requires full sun, flowers constantly with yellow, orange or pink blossoms. Low growing with some spread.
- Mums – showy flowers available in many colors and sizes. Most nursery plants are sold when they are blooming or just ready to bloom. Blooms last for a short time. Works well in containers and may survive early frosts.
Caring for Texas Landscape Plants in the Fall
Prepare soil with organic matter and a light dusting of fertilizer. Water the plants when they are first put into the ground and later only when the plants have dried out. Many places in Texas have abundant rainfall in the fall and additional watering may not be needed.
To prolong the growing season, a landscape gardener may choose to protect the flowering plants from early frost and freezing conditions with a sheet or row cover cloth.
The fall in Texas is a lovely time of the year. Temperatures are pleasant and many areas enjoy rainfall that encourages plant growth and colorful blooms. Sitting on the porch or patio and looking out at the abundance of color and texture in your fall landscape enhances the spirit and makes up for the end-of-summer dry, boring vistas.