October's Plant of the Month
A very popular plant for late season color is the fall mum, also called “Garden mums” or “Hardy mums”. Fall mums were once known as Chrysanthemums, but taxonomists have recently changed their botanical name to Dendranthema grandiflora. They are available in a wide selection of colors, flower types, shapes and sizes.
Fall mums should be planted in the spring. but most are sold at our area garden centers in October. If planted in the fall, many of these plants won’t make it through the winter here because they are near or at their flowering stage, and won't grow roots to sustain themselves through the winter. However, since they are so inexpensive, after they have served their decorative purposes for you, plop them into the ground, mulch well, and see how they do. If they make it through the winter, they will please you for years to come as low maintenance, easy to grow plants that are drought resistant and generally free of insect and disease pests.
October To-Dos in the Garden
- October is a great month for planting in our area.
- Plant or transplant peonies this month.
- Plant pansies and decorative kale now for winter color.
- You can still seed fescue and bluegrass in early October.
- Dig and store summer bulbs like gladioli, dahlia and caladium before frost
- In late October, plant spring flowering bulbs like daffodil, tulip, crocus and hyacinth, but keep in mind that in our climate, many of the bulbs planted in fall will only make it through one or two seasons and are best treated as annuals. Crocus tommasinianus or "Tommies" are said to be the best crocus for the South and the most rodent-resistant.
- Plant lettuce, green onions, carrots, radishes, and most leafy greens inside a cold frame. If you don't have a fall vegetable garden, plant cover crops like annual rye, barley and wheat; or till in organic matter like tree leaves now.
- Take soil samples from your plant beds and vegetable garden for testing.