At this time of year we tell ourselves how much we miss our spring and summer flowers. But wait—you can have colorful flowers with awesome leaves in the fall. Succulents offer a variety of leave shapes and color with different flower heads that are very appealing.
A few ideas are provided below for your selection process.
The fall garden will look stunning and bright with colour, form, and structure when you plant any of nature’s overpowering flora listed below. Some might be nostalgic and some might be new for you.
Perennials are the anchors of any flower garden. These profusely blooming plants are little factories for your garden and will bloom now and again every year. They are good in the north and other areas as well.
Chrysanthemums – The hardy mums are sold in the springtime to have all summer to establish themselves in your garden. Purchase a small potted one at your garden centre in the fall colours of yellow, bronze, russet, maroon, and orange. Many folks have been successful with these coming back in the spring when planted in a protected area on the south side of the house and covering them with straw, hay, or grass clippings. Plant immediately and water frequently if you have no rain. Mulch will be too heavy for a small plant throughout the winter that came in a 6-inch pot. Mums and pumpkins greet us like clockwork each year. Hardiness Zones 3-9
Asters – These soft furry blooms nod their heads in hues of white, pink, purple, and sometimes blue. Plant them now for coming back year after year during late August. They will be with you until the frost. These gentle beauties will bloom more and more when you deadhead them—i.e., prune out the dead flowers. You will have huge mounds of flowers after doing this easy task. And, save some seeds for you and your friends to plant in the spring. Hardiness Zones 4-9
Daisies – There are several varieties of daisies in colors of white, pink, purple, and blue. The traditional Shasta Daisy with large white blooms come back year after year. The aster daisy comes in colors and they start blooming in late August until the frost. Shasta daisies are usually purchased in the spring. Check the many varieties at your garden center. The smaller daisies are not true daisies are have smaller blooms. You will have masses of daisies when you deadhead them. The African daises of bright colors and magenta flowers are tropical and will not survive cold temperatures. Hardiness Zones 4-9
Helenium – This gorgeous flowering autumn plant is reappearing in home gardens. They are a member of the sunflower family. They have daisy-like flowers in yellow, orange, and red and some are a russet color of a dark brown with a reddish-orange tinge. They might grow tall requiring stakes. Don’t forget to deadhead. They do well in poorly drained soil and like their tops hot and their roots cool. Hardiness Zones 3-9
Sedum – These are known as stonecrops and are charming and graceful Their leaves are a bluish green, similar to cabbage. They can have a slight purple tinge on the leave and look great with pink and purple flowers. They are short, so plant them to the front of your flowerbed or border. The succulent leaves and flower buds are beautiful in all seasons. They are drought tolerant so plant with similar plants—even with cactus. Creeping sedum are available and can be used as a ground cover. Hardiness Zones 3-11
Solidago (Goldenrod) – Often thought of as a weed, this hybrid is finally looked at in a new light and indeed its blazing color lights up late summer and early fall with its plumes of tiny yellow flowers. It is of the aster family and easy to grow. Hardiness Zones 3-9
Plant Echinacea, a member of the daisy family in purple or white, or both. They are trendy and look great together along a wood fence. A Native American medicine, we now have available a tea from Echinacea for colds.
Desirable, beautiful, and trendy Rudbeckia is in the sunflower family. They are russet coloured and have petals similar to their giant cousin, the sunflower. They are sometimes called black-eyed Susans and coneflowers, but they are not. These plants bloom forever it seems season after season. They have a spreading habit, and just like people, they do not like crowds. So keep them spaced at a distance from other plants.
While your spirit has you in the planting mood now that things have slowed down from summer, it’s the right time to plant asparagus, rhubarb, peonies, and iris for early and mid-spring. If you are new at gardening, limit your fall planting to a few plants to see how they do over the winter. Then try more next fall. Old Man Winter can be fickle and throw some curve balls.
Bushes to Plant in Autumn
Spirea – Sometimes called bridal wreath, its delicate leaves and arching branches with small white flowers that little girls put across the front of their hair, are wonderful in a spring border or in a row where the branches cascade into their glorious beauty. 2-4 feet tall, Hardiness Zones 4-9
Russian Sage – A beautiful sub-bush with wispy wands of lavender-blue flowers on silver looking leaves and stems. A super plant for summer and fall and gets larger and more spreading as years go by. They look good in a row. They do not require a lake of water to survive—they do well in dry soil and need only minimal water. Natural rain makes them happy. It is native to central Asia and does well anywhere. 4-feet tall, spread 1-3-feet, Hardiness Zones 4-8
Rose of Sharon – Looks like a small tree if not kept under control by pruning, and a small tree looks great too. The rose of Sharon is a biblical name and the flowers of white, pink, and dark pink look similar to the hibiscus. The blooms are 5-inches across In fact, its common names are Chinese hibiscus and althea. It is hardy and will live for many years. It is not a rose, and hummingbirds love it. It blooms in late summer and autumn. It sleeps for the winter shedding its leaves, and leafs out again in the spring. It’s gorgeous! 8-12 feet tall, Hardiness Zones 5-8
Mock Orange – The fragrance of the white flower is reminiscent of the orange tree flower, thus its name. The perfume of the flower will last all year in your garden and in your memory forever. It can become a tall lanky and woody bush, so pruning is a must. Plant in the fall for spring and summer flowering. It is very hardy. The fragrance alone will have you planting this bush this fall. Mock means fake, or an imitation of the orange tree because of its heady perfume. 3-20 feet tall, Hardiness Zones 4-8
The best conditions for fall planting are a long, warm fall, followed by a freezing, hard winter—that will help kill those bugs, too. You do not want to have too many freezes and thawings alternating constantly. Be sure your perennials are mulched to keep their winter temperature steady, uniform, and constant. Remember to think big and plant small for the best success. Nature is chaos—nothing is symmetrical, square, round or in rows with identical plants and trees—ever notice? Plant your colors to harmonize, your foliage to have room to spread, and bushes to complement others. Add large stones or rocks, yard art, and anything else of interest to make your garden a happy place for you and the birds.
Ornamental Grasses and Sedges
Ornamental grasses are hardy graceful plumes dancing in the wind, Your garden will have intense interest with low-maintenance grasses. They are available in short, medium, and tall. Decide where you want to plant a specific height in your yard or flower garden.
Fountain Grass – Is a great choice to grow with other perennials with its upright and open mounding appearance and is wonderful in mass plantings. It is a garden favorite and easy to care for with low maintenance. The narrow leaves cascade with a fountain shape. You will have four seasons of interest with this stunning perennial. It is elegant, graceful, and the plumes bring to mind bottlebrushes. 1-3 feet tall, Hardiness Zones 5-9
Plume Grass – Is often called northern pampas grass because of its hardiness. It does well in rich moist soil. With its arching tall stems, this one is the most popular in the ornament grasses. This grass will start with seeds and you can sit back and enjoy the lovely display. There are about 20 species of this grass. 8-12 feet tall, Hardiness Zones 5-9
Maiden Grass – Native to Asia, China, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea, this gorgeous ornamental plant has large long flowers at the tops in a whitish-tan color. It is arching, forming dense clumps of a solid or variegated foliage of a silvery color. There are no distinct insect or disease problems; however, some areas are having problems with blight and mealybugs. Cut to the ground by early springtime for renewed growth. It does not like excessive winter moisture. Maiden grass likes full sun and moist but well drained soil. 5-6 feet tall, Hardiness Zones 5-9
Sedge grasses are not ornamental grasses, yet they look similar. Ornamental grasses need full sun and love it hot and dry. Sedges prefer shade with moist soil and they look great and do well snuck in with the hotas. Like ornamental grass, sedge also has the colorful arching branches with beautiful leaves in radiant yellows. Sedges have three-side stems. They are evergreen in warmer types of weather and semi-evergreen in colder climates. There are many varieties to choose from, so a visit to your garden center would be beneficial to see these marshy plants. 4-feet tall, some types are only 6-12-inches tall, Hardiness Zones 5-8.
Enjoy your fall time preparing for next spring and your work will be much easier then.