Fall Crops: More Than Mums

‘Field of Dreams’ corn features cream- and pink-striped variegation on the foliage, and never fails to catch consumer attention. Its height and foliage texture combine well with wallflowers and ornamental cabbage.

In the fall there is a fresh crispness in the air, enticing gardeners everywhere to spruce up their gardens, patios and porches. Summertime hinted of an improvement in the marketplace and, as the days start to get shorter, we are witnessing the beginnings of the housing market making a steady (and in some places very impressive) comeback.
The modern American homeowner is again ready to dig in, excited to celebrate everything she has worked so hard to get and eager to share her success with friends. So let’s give her something new and exciting to work with!

In addition to the autumn bread-and-butter crop, chrysanthemums, there are many products that should be promoted this fall in order to maintain and contribute to the momentum we are experiencing. The assortment is expanding from the reliable mum to the more interesting and varied. Wallflower, calendula, kale, ornamental corn, millet, grasses and chili peppers are just a few options.

Wallflowers Are The New Fallflower
Wallflowers are gaining in popularity. Floranova is promoting its new wallflower, ‘Sugar Rush,’ with the tagline, “Wallflower is indeed the new Fallflower.” Varieties such as ‘Sugar Rush’ provide a full range of rich fall colors to complement pansies and violas. Perfect for sales in everything from packs to combination planters, the multiple basal branching and impressive vigor of wallflowers create an eye-catching display from fall through spring. Wallflowers make a statement when used in the landscape in large color blocks and are equally effective when used alongside pansies and violas in combinations.

For growers, wallflowers offer an extremely quick turnaround. ‘Sugar Rush’ requires no vernalization and can be produced from an early fall sowing in as little as nine weeks. Now is the perfect time to introduce America to the new and improved staple of the English garden.

Leafy Greens Add Fall Color
Flowering kale is a faithful bread winner and is enjoyed throughout the cooler months in most of the country. Varieties like ‘Glamour,’ ‘Kamome,’ ‘Nagoya’ and ‘Peacock’ provide bright colors and interesting leaf formations. In addition to ornamental kale, there are also some interesting edible kales, mustards and lettuces that can add variety to fall plantings.

‘Broad-Leaf Red Giant’ mustard looks great in the landscape, and purple ‘Mizuna’ works well in mixed containers. In addition to the multitude of edible brassicas and lettuces, certain herbs can stand in as fall ornamentals, too. Until frost sets in, bronze fennel can be used to add height to the flower garden, and its feathery, scented fronds add texture in the landscape.

Use Grains For Their Fruits And Foliage
Corn, sorghum and millet are more traditional fall foliage accompaniments, providing height, as well as color. Corn and millet can be used to extend the fall purchasing calendar not only through Halloween, but also to get a second sale at Thanksgiving, cashing in on the notion of harvest and abundance.

While these varieties are traditionally valued for their color, some types are also edible. ‘Field of Dreams’ corn is a flashy addition. A bright rainbow of stripy colors from burgundy to gold can be coaxed from this variety easily by withholding nutrients and an application or two of PGR. Petite Indian ear corn is perfect for popping, adding an edible component, which is increasingly desired by consumers.

‘Purple Majesty’ millet is a favorite used to add dark dramatic hues of burgundy and purple to landscapes and containers. Tufts of grain evoke autumn and the feeling of good old-fashioned harvest time. For darker bronze and purple accents, ‘Princess Caroline’ is tried-and-true and hard to surpass when aiming for a satisfied home gardener.

Takii has really outstanding ornamental grasses that are very hardy and perfect for fall sales. While elegant and beautiful for the majority of the year, at Halloween, the spiraling erratic strands are reminiscent of something the Bride of Frankenstein herself would cultivate! There are so many grasses to use in a range of height, textures and colors. One can always be found to complement any fall mixed container or landscape installment.

Don’t Forget Peppers, Pansies And Pot Marigolds
Calendula (pot marigold) is another option that is often overshadowed by mums. It thrives in the fall and offers the perfect autumn pallete of yellow, gold and orange. It has a sweet herbaceous scent that some compare to candy corn. Calendula excels in the landscape as well as in pots and has long been coveted for its medicinal qualities, spicy leaves and edible flowers. There are many reasons that it should be an easily promotable substitute for or companion to the mum.

In many parts of the country, fall is the season ornamental peppers really kick in and put on a show. In addition to being edible, the assortment available today offers wonderfully colored fruit that fits in perfectly with the Halloween theme. Dwarf and basket types make fantastic components to spooky combinations.

Look for black, red, orange and purple fruit that drips over the sides of containers, or candy-colored fruit displayed on top of the foliage, emulating a bowl of delectable (but hot!) treats. There are many great varieties of peppers just asking to be the centerpiece of autumn holiday combinations. At Floranova, we like to pair ours with near-black trailing pansies and novelty violas.

Let’s Extend Our Sales Season
This season, alongside mums, let’s make way for a few new crops to inspire the consumer. When the homeowner purchases a plant and incorporates it into her decorating scheme, everyone gets the press, thanks to social media. Everyone wants something new and different, and providing consumers with interesting new options benefits the entire industry. GG

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...

October 17, 2017

14 New Shrubs With Fringe Benefits

What’s popular with shrubs? Consumers want varieties that will give them more return on their investment, in terms of long-lasting blooms and multi-season appeal that lasts from spring until fall and at times stretches into the winter months. Here are 14 new varieties of shrubs and sub-shrubs to consider for your product mix in 2018.

Read More

October 14, 2017

PlantPeddler Hosting Poinsettia Variety Day in December

The event will feature side-by-side comparisons of more than 100 commercial and pre-released varieties from seven breeders.

Read More

October 10, 2017

Coastal Callas Is a Dream Fulfilled for Founder Adrian Espinoza

Adrian Espinoza and his family founded Rancho Espinoza Inc. and Coastal Callas in California seven years ago with a mission and purpose to provide consistent quality and reliable supply of calla lilies to the marketplace.

Read More
Latest Stories

October 17, 2017

14 New Shrubs With Fringe Benefits

What’s popular with shrubs? Consumers want varieties that will give them more return on their investment, in terms of long-lasting blooms and multi-season appeal that lasts from spring until fall and at times stretches into the winter months. Here are 14 new varieties of shrubs and sub-shrubs to consider for your product mix in 2018.

Read More

October 14, 2017

PlantPeddler Hosting Poinsettia Variety Day in December

The event will feature side-by-side comparisons of more than 100 commercial and pre-released varieties from seven breeders.

Read More

October 10, 2017

Coastal Callas Is a Dream Fulfilled for Founder Adrian …

Adrian Espinoza and his family founded Rancho Espinoza Inc. and Coastal Callas in California seven years ago with a mission and purpose to provide consistent quality and reliable supply of calla lilies to the marketplace.

Read More
Azalea Encore Autumn Bonfire

October 4, 2017

Big Changes on the Horizon for Woody Ornamentals

The future looks bright for the woody ornamentals market, with exciting new varieties in the pipeline that will offer greater disease resistance, cold hardiness, bloom capacity, and more.

Read More

October 3, 2017

25 New Blooming Potted Plants for Luxury Sales

Consider these new blooming potted plant varieties that offer full blooms, unique foliage, and a touch of extravagance and easy maintenance for time-strapped customers who want to pamper themselves.

Read More
Hydrangea 'Berry White' (Bailey Nurseries)

October 2, 2017

Woody Ornamentals Market Set for Growth

The woody ornamentals market is looking up. Now, out-of-the box thinking about product offerings and consumer education will keep things moving in the right direction.

Read More

September 27, 2017

New Mum Intros From California Spring Trials 2017

For fall gardening product selection, you can't go wrong with offering mums. Here are a few of the new introductions that we saw at California Spring Trials 2017 that will be making their retail debut in 2018.

Read More
Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer BloomStruck’ (Bailey Nurseries)

September 26, 2017

Bailey Nurseries Enhances Product Development Program, …

Plant Introductions, which Bailey purchased almost three years ago, is being rebranded as Bailey Innovations, an entity that will breed and trial new varieties in Georgia.

Read More
Green Fuse Lupine Staircase Pink

September 24, 2017

How to Effectively Grow Staircase Lupine

The Staircase Lupine series, part of Green Fuse Botanicals’ First Light Perennials collection, has the potential to put on a great display with solid and bicolor hues.

Read More
Terra Nova 2018 Catalog

September 23, 2017

Terra Nova Nurseries’ Latest Plant Catalog is Now Avail…

The new 2017-2018 plant catalog, which features hundreds of varieties, series, and collections from Terra Nova Nurseries, pays homage to the company’s 25th anniversary.

Read More
Armitage GWA Buffalo Tour 5

September 21, 2017

Tour of Buffalo Gardens Reveals Hidden Gems And Communi…

This past August, Allan Armitage joined the Association for Garden Communicators on a tour of Buffalo. It was a reminder that that we can make a difference in neighborhoods, in cities, and in people’s lives.

Read More
Suntory Grandessa argyranthemum - feature

September 18, 2017

Breeders Open Availability for Unrooted Cuttings; Here&…

With new avenues for buying young plants for vegetative production, growers should have an easier time finding availability and receiving shipments of unrooted cuttings for the coming seasons.

Read More
Ball, Tagawa Succulents Partnership

September 14, 2017

Ball Seed to Partner With Tagawa Greenhouses on New Suc…

The new program includes in-demand retail products that are popular with younger shoppers, allowing growers to easily build a comprehensive succulent program and stay on-trend in the marketplace.

Read More
Strait-Laced Elderberry

September 10, 2017

Check Out the Top Varieties On Display at Farwest 2017

A panel of plant experts, along with show attendees, selected their favorite offerings during the Farwest 2017 New Varieties Showcase.

Read More

September 5, 2017

Hort Couture Announces New Propagation and Broker Partn…

The new grower-propagator partners are deeply vested in the independent garden center channel with propagation expertise, as well as finished production focused on the independent grower.

Read More
Helianthus Sunfinity (Syngenta Flowers)

September 3, 2017

Growing Tips for Helianthus Sunflower ‘Sunfinity…

This annual sunflower is a profuse bloomer with strong branching that produces multiple flowers per plant from spring to fall.

Read More
Ball Seed Field Day 2017

September 2, 2017

Highlights from Ball Seed’s Annual Field Day and Landsc…

Attendees of the one-day event had the opportunity to see new plants in up-close-and-personal trials, and engage with speakers and product experts.

Read More
Bidens Popstar (Kientzler)

August 31, 2017

Allan Armitage: Why I’ve Become a Fan of Bidens

The rather boring plant with mundane daisy-yellow flowers has morphed into a vigorous plant carrying colorful flowers that seems to be comfortable in most of the country.

Read More