Cool weather calls for cool-season color, and there is no better time to plant than now. Iceland Poppies, Bluebonnets, Aquilegia, Delphiniums, and Cheiranthus make wonderful companions to fall plantings such as cabbages, kales, pansies, violas, parsley, and other cool-season plants.
In autumn, most people don’t think to plant bluebonnets, yet, planting them now is mandatory for the best floral display in spring. It allows the plant to firmly establish a solid root system during its cool-season growth. In nature, bluebonnets set seed after flowering in spring and germinate from late summer rains to emerge in fall.
Bluebonnets along with Iceland Poppies, Aquilegia, and Delphiniums are far underused in fall plantings. These annuals must be planted now for a more impressive show in spring.
Iceland Poppies or, Papaver nudicaule ‘Champagne Bubbles’, showcase satiny, fragrant flowers that bloom for weeks on end in spring and spot color during fall/winter when temperatures are mild. Aquilegia ‘Origami’, or Columbine, is used for unique spring flowers and attractive winter foliage. Unlike the Texas native perennial A. ‘Hinckleyana’, the annual A. ‘Origami’ serves full color. Producing a bundle of bountiful spring flowers on a more compact plant Delphiniums delight the garden from April to May and work well as tall back borders with spectacular color on tall, upright flowers stalks.
Cheiranthus, or Wallflower, are different from the annuals mentioned above, in that, they bloom from October to May. They come close to rivaling pansies for fall, winter, and early spring color. These Wallflowers have a nice fragrance and don’t get as much credit as they deserve.