Here in Vermont, the leaves on the trees will offer a beautiful show of color for the fall and birds are gathering, making plans to fly south for the winter. You might think this signals the end of the growing season, but, fall is one of the most beautiful times of year in the garden. Though often over looked, there are many perennials that exhibit a full color show in the fall, whether it is through their flowers or foliage. Of course, there are classic perennials such as sedum, asters, and mums which are typically offered this time of year. Ornamental grasses have also gained popularity because they offer something a bit different than standard perennials: strong vertical appeal, late season bloom, winter interest, and are generally just something that not all of the neighbors have in their garden. But have you ever taken the time to notice the fall foliage color of perennials? If you think you have to plant a maple tree in your garden to see red in the fall, think again! There are some perennials whose colors rival even the brightest maple.
Here are some perennials in bloom or re-blooming during the Fall Season: Gaura (Wand Flower), Achillea(Yarrow), Gaillardia (Blanket Flower), Hardy Geranium Phlox p. ‘Orange Perfection’ (Tall Garden Phlox), Ornamental Grasses, Tanacetum (Tansy), Tall Bearded Iris, Salvia (Perennial Salvia), Delphinium, Vinca minor (Myrtle, Periwinkle) Polygonum aubertii (Silver Lace Vine), Nepeta f. ‘Six Hills Giant’ (Catmint) Armeria m. (Common Thrift, Sea Pink), Campanula (Bluebells), Clematis (some reblooming, others with attractive seed heads)
Perennial That Mimick Fall Foliage Colors:
Upright sedums- yellow (Stonecrop), Sedum r. (Blue Spruce Stonecrop), Geranium- range in color from scarlet to purple to orange to yellow (Hardy Geranium, Cranesbill), Schizachyrium scoparium–copper (Little Bluestem), Ornamental Grasses- range in color from purple to red to orange to gold, Amsonia hubrichtii- rich, warm gold (Arkansas Blue Star), Ceratostigma plumbaginoides–deep crimson to purple (Plumbago, Leadwort), Euphorbia- red (Spurge), Geum (Avens), Heuchera s. (Coral Bells), Hibiscus – bright red stems, leafless by now (Hardy Hibiscus), Bergenia- red (Heartleaf Bergenia, Pig Squeak), Hostas- range in color from gold to orange to tan, Heucherella- range in color from red to orange to yellow to purple (Foamy Bells) and Tiarella- range in color from purple to red to yellow (Foamflower)
So the next time you are buying perennials, make sure you check what they might look like in fall. With some careful planning, you can find great perennials like those mentioned above that will create interest during the late growing months.