The Best Fall Garden Plants For Southern Texas
Everyone is always raving about the best parts of fall — the leaves, the fashion, the pumpkin spice everything — but here at Plants for All Seasons, the thing we’re the most hyped about is our gorgeous assortment of Houston fall plants. One of our many favorite things about Southern living is having super mild autumns and winters, so the gardening season doesn’t have to end for us like it does for our neighbors up North. That being said, not all plants are suited to cooler temperatures, so we’ve compiled this list of the best fall annuals, fall herbs and vegetables, and fall-blooming perennials for your garden. Put on your Chelsea boots and roll up the sleeves to that chunky knit cardigan—it’s time to start fall gardening! Alexa, play “Fallen Leaves!”
We’re kinda obsessed with annuals because even though you have to replant them each year, it gives you so much freedom to experiment with different color palettes and textures. After a summer full of bright, exotic tropical annuals in electric shades of pink and orange, now we can cool it down a bit with some rich jewel toned flowers, or amp up the golden glow of the changing leaves by complementing them with a garden full of warm, fiery shades. Your options are limitless, and it’s so satisfying to plan and execute a fabulous design scheme that’s all your own. Step aside Joanna Gaines—there’s a new designer in town about to make a fall garden so spectacular, the HGTV producers will be handing out TV show contracts like Halloween candy!
Snapdragons: These tall, colorful stalks of flowers are actually considered tender perennials, so if we have a super mild winter, they make it straight through until late Spring. If we experience wintery weather, an insulated frost blanket will protect them. We love the vibrant array of colors for fall—they complement the warm fall foliage so perfectly, and they’re total hummingbird magnets!
Lobelia: If you’re as hopelessly in love with jewel tones as we are, you’ve gotta plant some lobelia. The deep indigo blossoms are seriously swoon-worthy and so easy to grow. Containers, rock gardens, pond borders, wherever—this hardy plant will thrive beautifully, so long as it gets lots of water.
Pansies: For a flowering annual that’s super low-maintenance, look no further than these beauties! There is nothing prettier than a mass planting of these winter gems. Pansies come in so many different colors and can complement any landscape.
Sweet Peas: You can either transplant some sweet peas directly into the ground for fall blooms or direct seed them for an early spring bloom. Their seeds are pretty hard, so scratching them up a bit before planting them will help them to soak up more water and germinate quicker. The floral aroma of sweet peas is so intoxicating, we recommend cutting a few early in the morning after their flowers have opened, but the sun hasn’t yet dried them out. Pop them in some vases around your house, and their delicate scent will be oh-so-dreamy.
On the flipside, perennials provide some benefits that annuals don’t. Their consistent re-growth allows for less labor in the garden for years to come, so if you have some fall favorites that you don’t mind seeing year after year, it’s definitely worth planting some. Here’s just a handful of our very favorite fall plants in Houston:
Blue Plumbagos: These drought-tolerant flowers put on quite the spectacle, transitioning from blue to deep violet as the season progresses. So long as they get full to partial sun, these gorgeous fall bloomers are low-maintenance and easy to please.
Chrysanthemums: Would it even be a fall garden without this quintessential fall blooming flower? With so many varieties to choose from, you’ll never grow tired of this autumn staple. Full sun, regular watering, and some occasional deadheading will help keep these bad boys looking as fresh as ever.
Autumn Joy Sedum: For a reliable groundcover that fills up all the gaps in your landscape design, opt for autumn joy sedum. This flowering succulent has lime green foliage and dusty pink clusters of blossoms that transition to a warmer coppery tone as the season progresses. The seed heads that appear in late fall and winter are also a favorable snack among some of our local birds, so some visitors may fly into your garden over the holidays!
If you haven’t started edible gardening yet, seriously, what are you waiting for? Now is the perfect time to grow all kinds of different tasty veggies and herbs, and there’s nothing more satisfying than eating a meal made with ingredients you grew yourself. The cold winter months often have us reaching for heavy comfort foods, but just one bite of fresh, garden-grown produce can have some impressive restorative (and immune-boosting!) powers.
Broccoli: This veggie is very cold hardy, so you should be able to grow it all winter long. If we happen to have an unexpected cold spell and some frost hits, toss a blanket or tarp on your broccoli overnight so it doesn’t sustain too much damage. Buying a starter plant will save you tons of waiting time, so you can get started on cooking up some tasty broccoli cheese soup or beef and broccoli stir fry for those chilly nights at home.
Lettuce Greens: Even if you’re not huge on salads, there are so many things you can make with lettuce greens. Blend them into smoothies, or cook up some spinach and make a pan of spanakopita, and you’ve got an instant vitamin boost that will give you Popeye levels of energy. Lettuce greens keep growing continually, so you can graze on them throughout the season. You can grow them in your garden bed, but if you pop them into containers, you’ll have the ability to bring them inside overnight in case it gets nippy outside.
Radishes: If you’re an impatient gardener, or if you’ve got kids who want to get in on the fun, you’ll definitely want to grow some radishes. They mature so quickly (sometimes within a single month!) so you can keep planting and replanting over and over again. They add a spicy kick to salads, and they’re pretty delicious when they’re pickled. Hot tip: pickled radishes and fried chicken are a match made in heaven.
Cilantro: This culinary herb tends to bolt in hot weather, so growing it during the cooler months is a good idea. It develops pretty quickly, and its spilling habit makes it a pretty addition along the edges of a container arrangement.
Rosemary: A hardy perennial herb, this savory spice is tough as nails, so a little cold weather won’t bring it down. There’s an endless list of recipes that require rosemary, so you’ll never run out of ways to use it. If you want to experiment with something a little different than the standard rosemary potatoes and roast chicken, try making a sweet rosemary glaze for baked goods. That fragrant, salty-sweet combo is irresistible.
Want to start growing your own fall garden in Houston? Visit our garden center, and we’ll gladly get you set up with everything you need to transform your yard into a picturesque, autumnal paradise!