6 Perennials to Plant for Gorgeous Fall Foliage
When your flowers begin fading and lose their petals, these six plants will fill your garden with vivid color that mirrors the changing tree leaves overhead.
Typically a popular choice for bringing easy color to shade gardens in spring and summer, hostas can also play a major role in the fall. Not only do they complement other cool weather shade plants well, many varieties boast gorgeous gold color before the first frost.
Hostas thrive in part to full shade, are hardy in Zones 3-8, and prefer well-drained soil. They can get up to about 6 feet tall, depending on the variety.
2. Bloody Geranium
A perfect match for Halloween time, the bloody geranium got its name from the vibrant red hues the foliage provides in autumn. But rest assured — it’s very pretty in the spring and summer as well, offering purple, pink or white flowers.
Hardy in Zones 4-8, bloody geraniums prefer full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil. They grow to about 12 inches tall.
There are quite a few different ferns that turn magnificent shades of red, orange, gold and tan in the autumn. What really sets them apart, however, is their lacy texture. It creates a nice contrast with bolder trees and shrubs with bright fall shades. A few of the best fern selections for fall color include ostrich fern, royal fern, and sensitive fern.
Depending on the variety, ferns can grow to 6 feet tall, and are hardy in Zones 2-10. They do best in shade and moist, well-drained soil.
If you’re looking to add interest to your garden year-round, a good ornamental grass that puts on a colorful fall show is switchgrass. Selections such as ‘Rotstrahlbush’ and ‘Shenandoah’ provide incredible red hues in the fall, while others, like ‘Heavy Metal’ will bring a touch of gold to your autumn landscape.
Switchgrass, hardy in Zones 5-9, thrives in well-drained soil and full sun to part shade. It grows to 6 feet or more.
A resilient perennial, Bluestar has a lot going for it: It features pretty blue flowers and golden fall foliage, is tolerant of drought, and is repellent to scavenging critters. It most certainly will light up your landscape in the fall.
Bluestar peaks out at about 2 feet tall, and is another one that prefers full sun to part shade and well-drained soil. It is hardy in Zones 3-9.
Although not the most reliable plants for an autumn display (many varieties are affected by leaf spot and may require cutting down at summer’s end), peonies can bring incredible, glowing shades of color to your fall garden in years with good growing conditions.
Peonies are hardy in Zones 3-8. They thrive on full sun and well-drained soil, and can grow to be 3 feet tall.