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Try something a little different and plant China aster. It's an easy-to-grow annual that's unbeatable for cutting. Its large, 3- to 5-inch, flowers are often mistaken for asters or mums and come in a gorgeous array of pinks, purples, reds, and whites with interesting flower forms, including quill-like petals.
Plant established seedlings outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. It blooms best for most gardeners in spring and fall, though gardeners in cool-summer areas can enjoy it all summer. It needs rich, well-drained soil and moderate water. Fertilize regularly. Deadheading doesn't encourage more blooms in China aster.
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Exciting new selections with incredible foliage patterns have put coralbells on the map. Previously enjoyed mainly for their spires of dainty reddish flowers, coralbells are now grown as much for the unusual mottling and veining of different-color leaves. The low clumps of long-stemmed evergreen or semi-evergreen lobed foliage make coralbells fine groundcover plants. They enjoy humus-rich, moisture-retaining soil. Beware of heaving in areas with very cold winters.
For a spectacular show during cool weather, plant marguerite daisy. Often confused with Shasta daisy, marguerite is more mounded and shrubby. Different types also come in pink with a bloom that more resembles purple coneflower.Marguerite daisy's hallmark is that it loves cool weather -- and blooms best in most areas in spring and fall, though it will continue to bloom through the summer in mild-summer areas. Even when it's not in bloom, the dark green, finely cut foliage looks good against just about any light-color flower.
Like so many grasses, fountaingrass is spectacular when backlit by the rising or setting sun. Named for its especially graceful spray of foliage, fountaingrass also sends out beautiful, fuzzy flower plumes in late summer. The white, pink, or red plumes (depending on variety) continue into fall and bring a loose, informal look to plantings. This plant self-seeds freely, sometimes to the point of becoming invasive.