We had great success with the Alabama Coleus. They reached a height of 2′ and withstood direct sun once established. They were starting to show cold damage and it was only a matter of time before the colder weather took its toll on them.
The begonias on the other hand had not shown any cold damage as of the 1st week of December. Instead, they were more vibrant and took the cooler nights well.
The other summer annuals were not holding up well. The sweet potato vine, periwinkle and pentas were past their prime. The sweet potato vine and periwinkles actually should have been removed before Thanksgiving. They were showing signs of leaf burn or were limited in flowering.
In went the bulbs. We planted 1000′s of bulbs. Tulips, Hyacinth and Daffodils. Most of the tulips we plant are the single late variety. The later they bloom in the spring, the less likely they will be damaged by early spring bad weather like wind and hail. The Hyacinth and Daffodils can withstand the elements better. This also provides an extended amount of color in the spring.
Over the top of the bulbs, we plant 100′s of flats of pansies. This gives us color during the coldest months before the bulbs break ground. The combination of the pansies and bulbs offer a huge color palette.
In making our plant selections, we use a color scheme taking into account the colors of the pansies and the bulbs as they will all be in bloom later in the spring. Keeping the color choices to a dominate color works best. Its tempting to use a wide range of colors as there are many to pick from but this can create a jumbled look visually and distract from the overall beauty of the plantings.
In the Dallas area, zone 7b – 8, the winter color will last for months with the tulips ending the show with a bang!