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Star Plants for Autumn

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | Oct 25, 2016
Best plants for Autumn

Carrying on from last week’s article where we looked at sprucing up your window boxes and containers with autumn colour I have decided to take a look at some other star plants that are proving very popular with customers looking for autumn and winter colour.

Just yesterday in CountryLife we took delivery of some fantastic Irish grown primroses and based on previous year I highly expect them to be a hit with customers. Primroses are great reliable plant for winter and spring because they flower for long and really require little maintenance. They have been popular since the Victorian era where they were collected in a very competitive manner, similar to how the victorians collected and traded bulbs. Because of their reliability they have never really fallen out of fashion.

Primroses are a popular winter flowerWhen you are looking for primroses in a garden centre there are two main types that you will find on sale, proper primroses and polyanthus primroses. Proper primroses are the traditional ones which are just like the wild varieties and have very short flowers and produce a compact plant. Polyanthus primroses on the other hand have much longer flower stalks and the flowers sit above the leaves. Many gardeners favour the polyanthus primroses, especially as the weather gets milder, as they are less likely to be affected with mould. As the flowers sit above the leaves more air can pass around them and this helps to prevent mould being an issue.

Cyclamen are an other extremely popular flower for winter months because they add such bright vibrant colour to both containers and also flowerbeds when you plant them in large groups. Cyclamen are a very versatile plant and deserve more credit in my eyes for their uses in both the garden and inside to add seasonal colour.

In terms of flowers every gardener will have come across the white, red or pink varieties at some point or another in their gardening lives. Newer varieties however are offering gardeners something a bit different. Some newer varieties come with two tone flowers which offer gardeners pink flowers with white edges or even red flowers with white edges. But while the plants are often bought because of the flowers I find that the leaves add a great amount of interest and texture to a container when the flowers fade away.

Dianthus flowers are another great one to consider for some late season colour.  At the moment we have a good supply of pink, red and raspberry ripple coloured dianthus plants in store and I just find the colours really stand out in a garden during the dull days of winter. I planted some in my own garden last January and they are still flowering at the moment. The most important thing is to keep removing the flowers as soon as they start to fade and to keep up with regularly feeds and the display will last and last.

A Cabbage in the Window

Winter Cabbages or ornamental cabbages are always extremely popular around this time of year to add into window boxes or potted up in containers for around the front door. Their offer great foliage interest during the winter which is something I think many gardeners overlook when they are planting up window boxes. Ornamental cabbages will survive Irish winters very well and in fact look better the colder it gets as the plant’s colour gets more intense the colder the weather gets. I find ornamental cabbages, if planted around now, will last right up until after Christmas. In early January they tend to go to flower and don’t look as attractive. But when this happens they can simply be take out and replaced with violas or some spring bulbs. 

Written by Malachy

Here to help! - remember if you have any questions feel free to pop into one of our garden centres or you can contact us on our Facebook and Twitter pages and email us at: hello@countrylife.ie

Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!

We were shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category.