While the kids look forward to Halloween, Thanksgiving and the holiday season, in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 9 you can enjoy respite from summer sun, cool nights and borders bursting with fall bedding plants. Bedding plants usually form the main component of temporary garden displays in beds and containers, and are replaced once flowering is over to make way for a new design. Some fall-flowering bedding plants in USDA zone 9 perform even after a light frost.
Bedding plant flowers in full sun sites glow in warm fall sunshine. Petunia (Petunia x hybrida) is a perennial that's hardy in USDA zones 9 through 10, but it's almost always treated as a short-term bedding plant. Many flower colors, shapes and patterns are available, and plants bloom prolifically in full sun. Garden verbena (Verbena x hybrida) is another perennial bedding plant for a full sun site that's usually grown as an annual. Hardy in USDA zones 8 through 10, it bears 3-inch clusters of flowers in many colors. Both plants flower through fall and into winter in mild climates.
Shade-tolerant bedding plants provide color where shadows lengthen in fall. Pansy (Viola x wittrockiana) and snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) don't fare well in summer heat, but both flower well in fall in USDA zone 9. Pansy bears cheerful flowers that look a little like smiling faces, in many colors and patterns, and snapdragon has flowers that children love to gently squeeze, opening the "dragon's" mouth. Also available in many colors, snapdragon is usually grown as an annual but is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 11. Pansy is hardy in USDA zones 7 through 10.
Climbing bedding annuals add height and color to fall gardens in USDA zone 9. Morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) flowers June through October, bearing 2 1/2-inch, white-throated, purple trumpet-shaped flowers. This vine grows 6 to 10 feet tall and 3 to 6 feet wide in one season. Another vigorous vine is canary creeper (Tropaeolum peregrinum), which reaches 10 to 15 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide. Bearing bright yellow flowers reminiscent of birds, it flowers summer through fall and grows as a perennial in USDA zones 9 through 10. Morning glory and canary creeper require consistently moist soil to perform their best.
Some bedding plants are perennials that flower the first year after planting, but can also return in following years to give a repeat performance if left in the ground. Garden mum (Chrysanthemum x hybrida) blooms prolifically through fall, bearing yellow-centered daisylike flowers. Hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9, garden mum grows 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. Stonecrop Autumn Joy (Hylotelephium "Herbstfreude") is another reliable bloomer, bearing clusters of tiny flowers that mature from rose-pink, through rose-red, to copper. This perennial grows 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall and wide and is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9.