Adding Color To The Fall Landsape

Although fall is usually associated with beautiful crimson, orange, and yellow leaves, sometimes, as the weather cools, days shorten, and leaves turn brown and fall off. . .our own landscapes can look dull.

There are, however, a lot of options to create a very beautiful late season landscape! And fall is a great time to buy and plant.  You can find some great deals, and you have the benefit of knowing exactly what that plant looks like in the fall--if it has beautiful foliage, or berries, or even flowers.

Fall Foliage

Of course the first thing most people associate with the fall landscape are colorful leaves.  From shrubs to trees, bright crimson, orange, and yellow foliage are a hallmark of the season. 

Landscape plants popular for their fall foliage include Japanese maples (Acer palmatum), burning bush (Euonymus), and smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria).  But did you know that there are also a number of edible plants that work very well as part of an overall landscape design AND have beautiful fall foliage?  Some of these include the blueberry bush (Vaccinium spp), Swiss chard, and (if you live in zone 7 and up) the pomegranate shrub (Punica granatum).  

Be aware, though, that sometimes different varieties of a plant can, well, vary, in terms of fall leaf color.  That's why it's a great idea to shop for these in the fall, when you can see exactly what you're getting!

Fall Flowers

Coneflowers (Echinacea), hardy mums, and fall blooming crocus all produce flowers well into fall, and can add a lovely pop of color to your landscape.  

And, if you're interested in a tree that blooms late in the season, consider Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana).  It has beautiful foliage, and late into fall (and even winter, depending on your zone) it produces yellow flowers.

Fall Berries and Colorful Stems

Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), a plant native to parts of the United States, produces abundant, lovely purple berries that also provide food for bird.  Or, you might want to try some type of viburnum, most varieties of which produce berries that provide fall interest.

And, I think that plants with really distinct or colorful stems and trunks are worth considering, because even fall (and winter) has stripped away all the leaves, you still have something pretty to look at.   Red twig dogwood (Cornus spp) may be the best known in this category, but the blueberry shrub, which has red stems, is also worth considering.

Now, a quick word of warning: some plants can be invasive in some parts of the United States!  So do your research before you put something new in your landscape.  You can check the USDA's noxious weed database (searchable by state or plant name) if you're unsure! 

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Linda KelsoComment