The last of the flowers are blooming and you might be thinking that it is too late to plant flowers. However, it is the perfect time to plant flower seeds that are hardy in cold temperatures or that require cold stratification. Cold stratification is a fancy way to say that the seeds need a period of cold damp weather to germinate. Check out our Germination Page for more in depth information. Planting seeds in the Fall helps you get a jumpstart on gardening the following year. Seeds will germinate once the soil reaches optimum temperature and you can cut out the need for indoor seed starting and transplanting. Happy fall and happy planting!
Rudbeckia, Chim Chiminee - You can direct sow any of our rudbeckia varieties in the fall to early winter. Chim Chiminee is a really fun variety with a broad range of warm colors from bronze to amber to chocolate brown. Rudbeckia seeds need 30 days of cold stratification so be sure to plant them by January. Plant your seeds about 1/16’ inch deep and space at 3-6 inches. You can thin the seedlings when they emerge and transplant them somewhere else or pot them up.
Poppy, Double Mixed Shirley - If you are in zone 1-7 you can get away with sowing your poppies in late winter to early spring. Warmer climates zone 8 above should plant poppies in the autumn. The ‘Double Mixed Shirley’ poppies are so delightful. Bright pinks, white and reds fluttering gracefully in the wind. Poppies only need about two weeks of cold stratification. Planting them in the fall ensures you can get your seeds planted when the ground is easy to work. Sow poppy seeds lightly onto the soil and gently rake some soil back over top. The seeds are small and need some light to germinate. Mark the row where you planted your seeds. Thin the plants to 6” once they emerge.
Orlaya, White Finch - This lovely filler flower does well when direct seeded in the fall and will bloom the following May. You can sow Orlaya in the spring but you will have to wait awhile for these beauties to bloom. Orlaya needs 7-14 days of cold stratification. It has fairly large seeds for a flower making it very easy to plant. It will germinate when soil temperatures reach 60 degrees. Orlaya can be slow to germinate so be patient!
Columbine, Barlow Mix - This is a gorgeous variety of columbine with frilly double petaled flowers. An absolute joy to have in the garden. Sowing columbine seeds in the fall will allow them to bloom the following year. Columbine needs about 3-4 weeks of cold stratification to germinate. We have had success foregoing the cold stratification period. Direct sow columbine seeds about ⅛ inch deep. Mark your rows and then plants to about 8”. Each plant produces plentiful seeds and they will readily self sow.
Written by Taryn Hunter