Top 5 Plants for Fall Gardens

By Mary H. Dyer | November 19, 2016
by Mary H. Dyer
November 19, 2016

Nothing may be prettier than a spectacular spring or summer garden filled with abundant color, but did you know there are many attractive or colorful plants that can adorn the garden in autumn as well? Here are our top 5 plants for fall gardens.

1. Chrysanthemums – Familiar to most gardeners as mums, chrysanthemums are hardy, versatile plants that add bright color for six to eight weeks in late summer and autumn. Members of the Asteraceae family, chrysanthemums are available in a number of sizes and shapes, in colors that include white, yellow, red and purple. Plant mums in fertile, well-drained soil, then water carefully at the base of the plant to prevent mildew. Mums needs five to six hours of sunlight.

2. Nemesia – Native to South Africa, nemesia is a charming, sweetly scented annual plant that looks its best during the cooler temperatures of spring and fall. Although the plant traditionally produces blooms of pastel pink and white, newer cultivars are available in vivid reds and oranges. Bi-colors are also available. Plant nemesia in rich, moist, well-drained soil and full or partial sun.

3. Oakleaf hydrangea – This old-fashioned shrub produces beauty year round, from dramatic, white flowers in spring and summer and attractive foliage that turns intense shades of burgundy, orange and red in autumn. During the winter, the peeling bark provides textural interest. One of the few hydrangeas native to the United States, oakleaf hydrangea thrives in morning sun and afternoon shade, especially in hot climates. Well-drained soil is critical.

4. Beautyberry – Also known as American beautyberry, this deciduous shrub is appropriately named for its vivid purple or white berries that appear in autumn and last until after the leaves have fallen from the shrub. Although beautyberry is gorgeous in fall, the shrub adds beauty to the landscape for most of the year, beginning with attractive foliage and pinkish-lavender blooms in spring. A drought-tolerant, low-maintenance plant, beautyberry is a great selection for light shade.

5. Flameleaf sumac – This showy American native, also known as prairie flameleaf sumac, is considered either a large shrub or a small tree. The nectar-rich, creamy white blooms attract bumblebees and butterflies to the garden in spring and a riot of color in fall with clusters of bright red berries and foliage in shades of purple, red and orange. Flameleaf sumac grows in nearly any type of soil and thrives in full sun or part shade. Once established, it requires very little supplemental irrigation.

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