While some novice gardeners tend to view autumn as the end of the growing season, those who are more experienced understand that this is an important time, when there is still plenty to do in the garden – especially if you have a polytunnel. One commonly asked question is: which flowers should you grow during autumn? The answer is longer than you might imagine. Autumn is the time to plant a range of flowering bulbs. It is also a good time to plant bare root roses and other bare-root perennials.
Autumn is the time to plant a range of bulbs which will flower throughout the following year. Spring bulbs such as snowdrops, bluebells, daffodils, crocus and hyacinths should be planted ideally before the end of September. Summer flowering bulbs such as lilies, alliums and crocosmia should be planted in September or October, and tulips are best planted in October or November.
Autumn Planted Perennials
One of the most popular flowering plants to turn your attention to at this time of the year is the rose. There are a staggering number of different roses to choose from, and many of them will do well when planting in the autumn as bare-root plants. Roses are one of the perennial flowering plants that do well when planted as bare-root specimens during the dormant period – November through to March. Other perennials that do well when planted bare-root in late autumn include:
- Hardy geranium
- Bearded Iris
Flower Seeds to Sow in Autumn
You may be surprised to learn that you can also sow a range of flower seeds in the autumn for next summer. Sowing the seeds of hardy annuals now will allow you to enjoy impressively early flowering displays next year. In early autumn you can consider sowing:
- Pot Marigold (Calendula officinales)
- Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)
- Larkspur (Consolida)
- Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascena)
- Honesty (Lunaria annua)
- A range of poppies including the opium poppy, Shirley poppy and ladybird poppy.
With the protection of a polytunnel, and perhaps extra protection in the form of mini polytunnels, cloches or horticultural fleece, you could also consider sowing:
- California poppy
- Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’
- Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila menziesii)
- Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus)
- Toadflax (Linaria moroccana)
Autumn Bedding Plants
Of course, none of the options above will give you an immediate effect and if you want to inject some colour into your autumn garden right away then you might wish to consider purchasing some bedding plants, to enjoy autumn flowers with immediate effect. Good autumn bedding plants include:
- Cyclamen persicum
- Hardy plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides)
- Winter pansies
- Stock ‘Autumn Fragrance’
As you can see, there are plenty of flowers that you should plant during the autumn. Which flowers do you grow during autumn? Let us know in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.