by Beth Cook, Mammoth Cave Transplants:
This time of year your summer flowers are beginning to head south and you are ready for something fresh and colorful for the fall. Pansies and Violas will give you just that! They are a cool-weather favorite with all of their colorful “faces”. You can plant these in the ground now and will be able to enjoy them two seasons. Pansies and violas can handle the cold temps of winter and will hang around through spring.
Planting these now in the warm soil allows them to establish roots to survive the winter. So ideally, plant your pansies where they'll get some shade now, but lots of sun when the trees soon lose their leaves and the weather cools. Then they'll get the benefit of that cooling shade when those trees leaf out again in Spring and the weather warms up. Remember, they love SUN, but DON'T like heat. Keep your soil moist. Remember to water regularly. You can add mulch around them to keep the soil temperature more consistent and to hold in moisture.
Other cooler weather flowers you can also plant in the fall are dianthus and snapdragons. These however cannot handle the really cold temps as well as the pansies and violas. Violas are the hardiest of the four plants. The dianthus and snapdragons however, can survive a mild winter or they can come back for seed in the spring.
You can’t go wrong with Pansies and violas in the fall. You get two seasons from them instead of just one! They provide that pop of color through the fall and the first color in the spring.