Choosing flowers for November Planting in SC

Charleston, SC

Hey everyone. I am interested in planting some flowers at my new house in Charleston, SC. I am one of those people who likes to see some immediate results, but I am also very interested in planting some bulbs. (My mom has tulips and daffodils in her yard that always look nice when they come up!) Is it too late to plant bulbs? We have been having some interesting temperature ranges the last month or so, varying from low 70s to 50s. I meant to start planting early this season but time got away from me. One of the main areas I would be interested in putting some color would be in the bed around my mailbox (which gets full sun)- it is currently just dirt. The other areas would be in various flower beds along the side of the house, and then at my back fence I have a large bed. Most of which get partial sun. The large bed at the back fence is just set off by pavers though and I have a young curious lab that likes to run through it occasionally. Anything for back there that might stand up to him some? Mainly, I have no idea what to plant in these virtually bare beds - I am looking for any suggestions you might have for things to plant now for some color this winter and bulbs that might survive for spring! Thanks!

Bella Vista, AR(Zone 6b)

Not too late for bulbs! I plant them here in Alabama through December and they do great. Just make sure you plant them deep enough and they get water if you are suffering from the drought. Bulbs always look good en masse.

Pansies are real colorful right now through the winter months but they won't last when it gets real warm. I also think kale looks really nice for the winter months.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

I would think it just a bit late to get a long season with pansies now, however, it may be just possible to maybe set some out in tubs for a short display, but if I were you, I would give the winter flowers a miss for this year and concentrate on getting things ready for spring colour, if you like autumn flowering shrubs to fill in any larger planting areas, you can also get these plants in pots which can be planted ready for next year as they will be well established by then and give you a better show, but concentrate on getting your soil ready for the planting so you dont go buy plants and have them sitting in pots too long, once the soil is ready you can plant things right away.
Autumn is the best of all the seasons for planting up all beds as the soil is still warm, yet not baking hot, that means the roots dont dry out and cause the plants distress so quick as does the warm late spring/summer months, the night air is normally cooler now too.
You can plant any spring flowering bulbs RIGHT now but no later, but dig the soil, add some manure/compost to it so that the bulbs can feed off this and it helps to keep some moisture into the soil, plant all bulbs about 3 times the size of the bulbs, so if a Tulip bulb is 2 inches from root end to growing tip, it needs to be 6 inches underground, same with tiny bulbs, if you were to plant Crocus/snowdrops, and the bulb is say 1/4 inch in size, then it gets planted 3/4 inch underground, you can also plant summer flowering bulbs right now too if you can get them, like lily etc, this gives the bulbs time to use up food for energy to help development of flowers, dont cut off the dying foliage from your bulbs as this needs to die back into the bulbs for next years energy/flowers, once it turns yellow/brown or dries, then remove it. You dont have to stick to just Daf's, Tulips etc for spring flowers, there are loads of other bulbs which will delight you such as winter Anemone, Trillium's, Fritillaria, that stand tall and hang their flower heads early spring in Orange, yellow and the smaller Snake head ones too, I love the tall ones, when I was a child, I asked my Grandmother why they drooped their flowers, she told me that they were the only Easter flowers in the garden where Jesus tomb was where he was buried, and when they saw him laid to rest, they hung their heads in shame, I believed that for years, but they are beautiful, not a great smell, but wonderful colours for springtime, some bulbs like a bit of shade, so do a soil test and get a book on bulbs and spring plants/shrubs from the library to keep you right, be a shame to spend money and find the flowers dont perform as you want. Shrubs are good too, like Witch Hazel, Holly give berries for birds and are evergreen, anything that will give winter/spring colour mixed in with summer flowering things will give you colour for all year, Rhododendrons are wonderful for spring colour as are Azaleas etc, so long as you have an acidic soil. hope this helps you with some ideas to get your thinking cap on, then you will get some ideas yourself from around your neighbourhood as you walk/drive past them. good luck. WeeNel.

Georgetown, SC(Zone 8a)

CU500: You may be disappointed if you plant tulips. They tend act like annuals down here. But, in general, you can plant bulbs now. You might want to post your question over on the Carolina Gardening forum. There are quite a few folks in the Charleston area over there. :)

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