Perennials for Fall Color
We usually think of fall color in terms of trees and shrubs. But there are many herbaceous plants that also offer good color in autumn. Here are a few in my garden right now.
Starry Solomon’s Plume (Smilacina stellata) has long-lasting golden yellow foliage. Deep red berries add contrast, though most of the berries are eaten by grouse and other birds. This is a plant that adapts well to part shade and dry, sandy soil.
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ has dark red foliage. I do need to find a better way to deadhead these plants, though, they are looking rather decapitated.
My Asiatic Lilies have yellow foliage – though they also have the decapitated look.
Brown Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba) foliage turns red and maroon. which combine nicely with the round seedheads and the last of the small yellow flowers.
Many hardy geraniums also have good fall color – though this year mine have been unwilling to surrender their chlorophyll to date. I have seen Prairie Baby’s Breath (Euphorbia corollata) with wonderful foliage, sadly I have none in my own garden.
And while we are on the subject of fall color, I have to insert a few pictures of grasses.
My ‘Northwind’ Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is still mostly green, but increasingly it is green striped with a golden tan. And the clouds of “flowers” are really enchanting.
The dangling seeds of Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) are golden brown and fully ripe. Soon they will shatter and fall to earth, there to give rise to seedlings that can be a real pain in the ass. But they are beautiful anyway. The leaves have turned a nice yellow.
‘Carousel’ Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) has now turned almost completely red. It shows up nicely against the still-flowering Calamint (Calamintha nepetoides). I like this new plant so much that I am going to give it two companions in the spring – it seems wrong just to have the one plant all by itself. I’ll have to find new homes for the Pennisetums currently in those spots.
What is your favorite flowering perennial for fall foliage color?