Five Important Crops For Autumn Decor

MainInformally, our Autumn Program starts when we ship our earliest mums but the reality is that autumn is about more than just mums. The last couple of weeks in August amount to a flurry of before-school gardening and end-of-summer landscaping that gets the commercial account cleaned up for the fall holidays.

Important crops for the early days of autumn are not the same as those for October and November. In late August and September, we need crops that lead into the mild Indian summer weather.

There are still warm days ahead, but probably not blistering hot ones. Already the nights are cooling down and the temperature is right for growing many of the popular decorative ornamental and accent plants. Keep in mind, these are not spring plants grown again in the fall. Our autumn colors are different because decor ramps up during this time of the year more than it ever does in spring. Be prepared with plenty of seasonal color to pick up business.


For example, let’s look at Petunias.By this time, many of the commercial accounts need to be freshened, so we have brand new Petunias we’ve grown in the popular fall colors. Sometimes, all that is needed is to repair an existing bed; at other times a brand new color scheme is required to break away from summer. Petunias grow quickly in the fall and they grow well. Here are the varieties we are offering, all in the 4.5-inch pot:

  • ‘Supertunia Raspberry Blast’—pink flowers with deep cerise-violet edges
  • ‘Suncatcher Pink Lemonade’—lemon yellow flowers with pale pink edges
  • ‘Lime Light’—rose-colored trumpet blooms with a lime green border
  • ‘Phantom’—black base color with a distinctive yellow star pattern
  • ‘Vista Bubblegum’—showy large pink flowers


Since foliage color is as important as flower colors, let’s look at Ipomoea. It is particularly suitable for autumn décor, featuring shades of apple green, rustic bronze and dark black. Don’t forget: foliage is an important design tool because the color is always on, even after the dramatic blooms have faded away. Ipomoea also drapes and trails its colors up, down and around various containers, planters, walls and boxes. These plants push colors into places that mere flowers cannot, and they have the ability to cover up prior gardening sins. We have 3 Ipomoea varieties available in the 4.5-inch pot:

  • ‘Marguerite’—lime green to vibrant chartreuse foliage
  • ‘Bright Ideas Lime’—compact with bright lime green leaves
  • ‘Bright Ideas Rusty Red’—tapered, pointed leaves of rusty red and chartreuse with red veining


Autumn also sees strong sales in the ornamental crops, so start early. Don’t wait for the cabbages and kale, get started with September ornamentals like Peppers and Millet. Different Peppers color up at different times; for September, our best is ‘Sangria’, an icicle-style variety that turns a rich purple. Like the popular ‘Chilly Chili’ we offered in the summer, ‘Sangria’ goes through several color changes as it matures. Customers will be pleased with the value this plant has to offer.


Ornamental Millet adds drama with bold flower spikes and stalks; striking foliage shades of purple, burgundy and green are perfect for welcoming fall. Four varieties of Millet are available in the 8-inch pot:

  • ‘Jester’—chartreuse ribbon-like foliage matures from green to burgundy; dramatic purple flower stalks
  • ‘Purple Baron’—green blades quickly mature to deep burgundy-purple; cylindrical purple-brown seed stalks
  • ‘Purple Majesty’—wide, deep purple ribbon-like foliage; cylindrical purple-brown seed stalks
  • ‘Jade Princess’—wide lime green blades; burgundy red flower spikes

Pump up ornamental sales by offering Millet and certain large headed Sunflowers like ‘Firecracker’ that we featured last week. Mix Peppers, Millets and Sunflowers into a center display—it will get fall garden themes moving beyond just mums.