What's In Bloom

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Sources for "What's in Bloom: Bloom Highlights" listings include the Chicago Botanic Garden's staff and database, as well as the publications and records of other botanic gardens, institutions, and the scientific community.

Autumn Frost Squash

Autumn Frost Squash

This new winter squash produces uniquely ribbed, round fruit that ripen to dark tan with a frosted overlay. The fruit is similar in taste to a butternut squash, with superior flavor and long storage quality. It is best planted in the ground to allow for maximum growth and increased yields.

2021 – Ball Horticultural featured plants @ Chicago Botanic Garden

Firecracker Plant

VERMILLIONAIRE® Firecracker Plant

Firecracker plants, also called false heather or cigar flower, are floriferous, bushy perennials, native to tropical America. They produce clusters of tiny, narrow tubular flowers. VERMILLIONAIRE® Firecracker Plant has vermillion (red-orange) flowers with green tips and dark red stamens. The pistils and stamens protrude from the flowers, which have six lobes. Hummingbirds enjoy the nectar. Firecracker plants like heat and sun, but need to be kept moist and given fertilizer every few weeks to keep the flowers going. They can be grown in a summer garden and are sometimes offered as a florist plant.

Floribunda Rose

LILLI MARLEEN® floribunda rose (Rosa 'Korlima') is a vibrant red rose with lightly fragrant, cupped, semidouble flowers. Established plants can be expected to reach 2½ feet in height and 2 feet in width if grown in full sun and moderately fertile soil with adequate moisture. This is an older cultivar that is, unfortunately, susceptible to diseases and very thorny. It's particularly important to plant Rosa 'Korlima' in a landscape position with good air movement to reduce the amount of pesticides that have to be sprayed to control diseases.

Grapeberry Red Mum

Grapeberry Red Garden Mum

These garden mums have large, 2 inch-wide, brilliant, sangria-red colored flowers. They have excellent rain tolerance and long lasting blooms that hold their color well in hot weather. Late blooming into fall, they tolerate a light frost. Expect a mounded growth habit as they grow to 14-20 inches in height and up to 36 inches across. These mums are good for beds and containers.

2021 – Ball Horticultural featured plants @ Chicago Botanic Garden

October Skies Aromatic Aster

Symphyotrichum oblongifolium 'October Skies', or aromatic aster, was selected for the Chicago Botanic Garden's plantings because of its intense lavender-blue color, and because it does not spread as aggressively (by rhizomes) as the species. The 1-inch blooms flower freely throughout September and October, and are magnets for butterflies and bees still seeking nectar and pollen at the end of the blooming season. The leaves are fragrant when crushed, and the small, ripe seeds are beloved by goldfinches and other small, seed-eating birds. Newly planted plants may need protection from rabbits until established, but otherwise this cultivar is insect- and pest-resistant.

(The old name for this plant was Aster oblongifolius 'October Skies'.)

Plumberry Purple Decorative Mum

Purpleberry Purple Garden Mum

This new garden mum variety has deep regal-purple flowers that really stand out in the fall. It has a superb, mounded growth habit, excellent rain tolerance and long-lasting blooms. Late-blooming into the fall, it tolerates a light frost. It grows 14-20 inches tall and is good for beds and containers.

2021 – Ball Horticultural featured plants @ Chicago Botanic Garden

Prairie Glow Brown-eyed Susan

Burnt orange-red petals are tipped in yellow on this native cultivar whose seeds are favored by songbirds in the fall. Burgundy stems on this cultivar are distinctive and contrast nicely with the green leaves and colorful flowers. The stems sway in the breeze, adding another component to the fall landscape.