Asked on Sep 18, 2014

Switching over

How do you go from spring/summer flowers to fall? I am slowly getting my front yard the way I want it. The picture shows one corner of my yard (and I've added a few more flowers since then). I have still been buying perennials and planting them (I'm in Indiana). I soon want to put out fall decorations, mums and pumpkins, but I still have lots of annuals in pots on my porch and in my yard that still look good! How do you make the switch over? Do you just leave your springs ones until they start looking bad and just work the mums and fall decor in?
gardening tips fall summer switching over, flowers, gardening
  14 answers
  • Hi Jennifer. I am not your average gardener and for me gardening is about adding plants that I know will compliment each other or grow together. I have my front bed that I extended last spring 2013 that goes from the mailbox all the way up curve into the far left corner of the house. I just keep adding as I find plants. in spring I start with iris and salvia , summer is definitely filled with black eyed susans, coneflowers, salvia is still going, blackberry lilies for height, and end up with tons of Autumn Joy sedum, asters & a few mums to finish out the season, I have now added hydrangeas so hopefully next year i will have a bed full of everything. as for stuff in pots, I leave or condense down spring/summer pots and then put in mums in empty pots. then i would put the mums away in a protected spot until spring and plant them in your bed. I crowd things so if something has a tendency to get heavy and fall over the other plants disguise. I do not follow the rules-i just go for it.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Sep 19, 2014
    I would consign the mums to pots and keep adding perennials to your beds so that you can have something in bloom all season long. In Indiana you should be able to keep things going until at least mid-October. @Sow and Dipity has a great post on keeping containers looking great all season long here:

  • Bea F Bea F on Sep 19, 2014
    My neighbor across the street, she plants using pots. The plants that are out of season she takes them to the back yard. She brings the plants for fall out to the front yard. I enjoy looking across the street, because flowers are always blooming. And look so pretty.

  • Purita White Purita White on Sep 19, 2014
    I say plant whatever is pleasing to your eyes. Just make sure the plants go together. I am sure it will look beautiful whatever you do.

  • Gloria Duy Gloria Duy on Sep 20, 2014
    I live in Illinois, so similar growing conditions. I mostly do perrennials. In my large front bed I have spring blooming flowers in the back, summer in the middle and fall in the front. For summer I also add in a bunch of pink geraniums. Mums and Asters are for fall and mine come back every year for the most part. Just choose some colors that go well together. My spring and summer flowers are mostly pink, yellow and purple, my fall are yellow and purple. I have green plants like hostas mixed in between the flowers. I always have something blooming. In the fall if the summer annuals are still in bloom, like my pink geraniums are now, when the mums are in bloom, I pull them out and put on my back deck in pots. On cool nights I slide them into the porch. I add pumpkins and stuff to the front fall plants and keep the back geraniums going until October.

  • Laura Laskey Laura Laskey on Sep 20, 2014
    I live in Connecticut and I have planted my garden for all seasons. There are bulbs that come up in the spring, then perennials that bloom early summer and late summer, and mums, asters and sedum that bloom in the fall. Mix them all in together and you will always have blooms of one sort or another. BTW - Mums will come back year after year if you plant them in September and give them lots of water. I have to fill in a hole here and there but they come back more often than not.

    • See 3 previous
    • Laura Laskey Laura Laskey on Sep 23, 2014
      @Jennifer Jefferson - make sure you plant them early in the season and give them daily water for a week or two. Mine get west sun in the afternoon.

  • Marilyn Roenneburg Marilyn Roenneburg on Sep 20, 2014
    I live in WI. and I sometimes have accent plants in my whiskey barrel containers that seem to last right up until the first hard frost, so now when the annual flowers are getting a bit spent, I will stick in some fake flowers that have a fallish feel. No one really knows unless the pots freeze before you get them out and then they are stuck in there all winter. :)

  • Patty Patty on Sep 20, 2014
    Most of the mums you buy this time of year will not survive the winter, once in a while you get lucky and a couple will have a good enough root system and will survive for a couple of years. Your best bet is in the spring find the old fashioned perennial mums and plant either in the ground or container and cut it down to 5 or 6 inches and keep cutting it until July 4th, then let it grow and you will have fall blooms, I love to put my pink mums with my black magic elephant ears and my purple sweet potato vine, and purple wondering jew, I will buy a couple yellow mums and put in with them, such a pretty contrast. I don't usually buy annuals for my pots, I buy perennials then the first of Oct. I plant them in my flower beds and plant the mums in the pots with the elephant ears etc. When they for cast the first frost I then dig up my elephant ears and sweet potato vine, etc and bring in for the winter. and the mums still look great.

  • Marilyn Roenneburg Marilyn Roenneburg on Sep 21, 2014
    Thanks Patricia Routt, you just saved me from wasting money on mums. I'll have to remember to get some in the spring. So, do you cut them down to the ground before winter then, or leave them alone until spring, and then cut them back?

  • June Novakowski June Novakowski on Sep 21, 2014
    Well as soon as 2nd week of Sept comes I pull my potted annuals out (even though they look good) and put in a few small mums in the pots in their place...also a fake pumpkin...right after Thanksgiving I dig a hole where I need a plant and replant the mums there.... some do not return but even here in the Chicago burbs I am surprised to see some in the spring & by fall they look great! I forgot to mention, in the spring I purchase an annual called Purple Fountain Grass which I leave in for spring, summer & fall (@ Home Depot for $3.88each)...I plant this toward the back of the pot with my flowering annuals/mums & pumpkin in the front & side ares of the pot...this way they look great from spring planting till Thanksgiving!

  • Patty Patty on Sep 22, 2014
    Marilyn, I have done it both ways, I like to cut them to about 6" from the ground after they finis blooming, just to tidy things up a bit. When you purchase your mums in the spring don't buy any that are blooming or you won't have fall blooms, and if you buy mums with buds cut them off as soon as you get them home so you will have fall blooms. If you will send me your address I will send you the hardiest best mum next spring then in a few yrs. you can share with someone. Just request friend on facebook then I will message you my email address.

  • Pam Andrews Pam Andrews on Sep 22, 2014
    Mums are great for fall. Keep in mind the type of soil they are planted in may change the color. I have never had a mum not come back the next year no matter when it got planted. Of course in live in the South so that makes a huge difference.

  • Martha Martha on Sep 22, 2014
    I've been pinching back the buds on my mums all summer, so now I'll let them bloom, and maybe put in some pansies. I have good luck with mums here, even the potted plant kind. And we can pull up our geraniums, pinch off the leaves, put the plants in a brown paper bag, and store them in the garage till late spring. The other summer flowers get cut back. I'd like to have things in pots to switch around, but the pots would get stolen if out by the street.

  • Jennifer Jefferson Jennifer Jefferson on Sep 23, 2014
    Thanks everyone! I've been busy the past few days and hadn't had time to check back. Thanks for all the suggestions!