15 Fall Plants to Spruce Up Your Garden With

15 Fall Plants to Spruce Up Your Garden With

Gardening
Decoration and Design
Outdoor and Gardening
By Dikran Seferian October 19, 2021

The fall season marks the period when many summer flowers begin to wither, giving the stage to the fall varieties. Most plants that grow in the autumn have the advantage of being able to handle a little frost. Not only are fall plants more cold-resistant, but some of them are also even perennials, which means you'll be able to enjoy them the following year as well. Moreover, they're no less beautiful than their summer counterparts, especially with the captivating array of colors they're available in. Getting familiar with some autumn flora will allow you to make the most formidable additions to your fall garden

1. Beautyberries

The name doesn’t lie, because these berries are beautiful. Also known as callicarpa Americana, the beautyberry is a native plant that bears bright purple berries during the fall season. If you choose to add this plant, expect some little guests in your garden because the berries may attract some birds. Beautyberry plants can grow up to eight feet, making them a unique choice for garden screening or natural hedging. You can even use this lively plant as the focal point of your autumn garden.

Beautyberries are typically low-maintenance plants, only requiring weekly watering and no fertilizing at all. As for pruning, you could cut them back sometime around late winter to allow for denser foliage.

Beautifying Your Garden With Beautyberries

Beautifying Your Garden With Beautyberries

2. Fall Mums

Chrysanthemums, also known as fall mums, are highly symbolic plants. In Asia, they signify life and rebirth; in Europe and America, they represent sympathy and honor, respectively. As the name suggests, fall mums typically bloom during the fall season. The colors of its flowers range from white to yellow, red, orange, and purple. Bicolor varieties also exist.

Due to their shallow roots, you may need to water chrysanthemums on a frequent basis. During their growing period, prune your fall mum plant about an inch from the branch to encourage sturdiness. As for location, there are two varieties to be aware of: garden mums and florist mums. The former are hardier species and can thrive in a garden, while the latter are better off as indoor plants. Ideally, you can plant chrysanthemums in pots, gourds, or even baskets. Since they are rather inexpensive, consider making an assortment of differently-colored fall mums to create stunning contrast.  

Display Your Fall Mums in Multiple Colors

Display Your Fall Mums in Multiple Colors

3. Fall Bulbs

Although fall-blooming varieties exist, fall bulbs are usually planted in the fall and bloom during spring. Due to their blooming season, they are also referred to as spring bulbs. You can sow your bulbs as soon as the ground begins to cool down. Watering them well at first will help the bulbs settle in. After the dormancy, you can expect flowers like tulips and daffodils.

A brilliant planting method for bulbs involves something called lasagna planting. In a large container or a concentrated area or the ground, plant layers of bulbs with interval blooming periods. The end result would be a continuous bloom of flowers.

Apply the Lasagna Planting Method to Have a Continuous Blooming of Bulb Flowers

Apply the Lasagna Planting Method to Have a Continuous Blooming of Bulb Flowers

4. Maple 

You can’t spell autumn without maple — well, figuratively at least. Although this list mainly consists of flowers and shrubbery, maple is too iconic to overlook. Varieties of maple trees include red maple, sugar maple, and Japanese maple. The latter is an ideal choice for an autumn garden centerpiece as you can plant it in a large pot or even as a bonsai tree. The best time to plant maple is mainly the fall season, but you can also plant them in the spring. Irrigate your maple generously at first and on a regular basis afterward.

Setting the Stage with Maple

Setting the Stage with Maple

5. Sumac

If you’re looking to spice up your fall garden (literally), a sumac plant will offer both fragrances as well as brilliant shades of red. Unless you want it to grow into a tree, consider planting your sumac in a container — in which case you may want to water it regularly. While several varieties of sumac are available, the deciduous type will offer those warm autumn colors.

Fun Fact: The fruit of this plant is where the sumac spice naturally comes from. For a refreshing autumn beverage, grind up a few clusters of sumac berries in a bowl of cold water; let sit for ten minutes, strain, add sweetener, and voila! You got yourself a sumac-ade.

Sumac Is a Beautiful and Versatile Fall Plant

Sumac Is a Beautiful and Versatile Fall Plant

6. Russian Sage

One of the easiest fall plants you can go for is the Russian sage. Being a perennial, this plant is incredibly low maintenance. Its silvery-green foliage with purple flowers provides contrast to an otherwise warm-colored setting. The aroma of the Russian sage is known to attract butterflies and even hummingbirds, making it a perfect idea for a fall garden bursting with life.

Plant your autumn sage in a sunny area and water it regularly at first. Once it is well-established, this perennial can even withstand droughts.

Russian Sage Is Known to Attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds

Russian Sage Is Known to Attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds

7. Autumn Joy

Also known as sedum herbstfreude, the autumn joy is another perennial that can do well with low maintenance. Moreover, its bright-colored flowers maintain their beauty even when they dry up in the winter, making the autumn joy an irresistible plant. You can spread joy in your garden by adding a group of sedums. Consider planting them in gravel beds to create a vibrant contrast. 

Autumn Joy Would Be a Low-Maintenance Plant for Your Fall Garden

Autumn Joy Would Be a Low-Maintenance Plant for Your Fall Garden

8. Plume Celosia

This variety of the celosia plant is available in the colors of fall — intense shades of yellow, orange, scarlet, and magenta. Plant your celosia in rich soil, and water moderately. You’ll find that this plant is quite resilient, with stiff blooms that don’t fall off even when dry. For a splash of color and texture, consider adding the plume celosia to a garden bed or edging.

Fun Fact: The name celosia is derived from the Greek word for burning, describing the flame-like shape of the plume celosia’s flower. 

Plume Celosia Is a Unique Flower That Can Grace Your Garden Greenery

Plume Celosia Is a Unique Flower That Can Grace Your Garden Greenery

9. Autumn Fern

The autumn fern, or the Japanese shield fern, is a herbaceous perennial with dramatic foliage that starts out red and gradually transforms to green. This variety of ferns prefers full shade and constant moisture. You may have to water your fern frequently to keep it happy. This plant has the habit of spreading if the conditions are optimal, making it ideal for ground cover. The autumn fern can be a perfect addition to a cottage garden or a rustic, woodland-style backyard.

Autumn Fern Can Be a Great Addition to a Rustic-Themed Backyard

Autumn Fern Can Be a Great Addition to a Rustic-Themed Backyard

10. Rosemary

Rosemary is yet another perennial plant that packs a beautiful aroma and adds texture to an autumn landscape. While you can plant your rosemary in the ground, a better option would be to plant it in a pot so that you can bring it inside for the winter — especially in colder climates. Outside, the rosemary plant prefers full sun and regular watering to maintain its aroma — although you may want to avoid overwatering. Consider placing your indoor rosemary pot on a porch railing or a window sill. Besides being a unique addition to a garden, rosemary is also a common herb you can use in your cooking.

Aromatic Plants, Such as Rosemary, Tend to Please All Senses

Aromatic Plants, Such as Rosemary, Tend to Please All Senses

11. Autumn Crocus

While bearing resemblance to the spring crocus, the autumn crocus is actually a type of lily — whereas its look-alike is a type of iris. An ideal place for an autumn crocus is among taller plants where its fragile stem is protected. In terms of maintenance, these violet blooming plants are incredibly easy to care for; a tad of irrigation in dry conditions is enough to perk these guys up. Consider pairing autumn crocuses with fall mums and asters to create a spectacle of colors.

Autumn Crocus are Great Blooming Plants for Your Autumn Garden

Autumn Crocus are Great Blooming Plants for Your Autumn Garden

12. Sesleria Autumnalis

To add some more green to a mostly red and orange-dominated garden, you could go for the beautifully lush sesleria autumnalis. Also known as autumn moor grass, this plant is drought-resistant and thrives in partial to full sun. Its lush foliage makes the sesleria an ideal choice for complementing assortments of plants.

Fun Fact: The sesleria is named after a prominent 18th-century botanist by the name of Leonardo Sesler.

The Sesleria Autumnalis Is Drought-Resistant (by Lilly M/Wikimedia Commons)

The Sesleria Autumnalis Is Drought-Resistant (by Lilly M/Wikimedia Commons)

13. Aster

You may find a variety of asters that bloom after the warm season, the most common of which are the New York aster and the New England aster. Due to its versatility, you can plant your aster anywhere from rock gardens to borders — as long as it has access to partial sun and well-drained soil. A wonderful idea would be to incorporate this late bloomer in a bed of wildflowers. Asters are also known to attract pollinators so you may welcome a few bees and butterflies. Water a young aster abundantly until it's fully developed, after which you may reduce the watering frequency. 

Asters Are Ideal Flowers for Fall Landscaping

Asters Are Ideal Flowers for Fall Landscaping

14. Cyclamen

If you’re a fan of wildflowers, then you may find interest in cyclamens. The flowers of this late-blooming plant are available in many shades of pink and carry a pleasant aroma. Even without flowers, the cyclamen plant's marbly green foliage is a treat by itself. While the cyclamen is typically fragrant in its natural habitat, that may not be the case with store-bought varieties. Commercially-sold cyclamens are also better off as indoor plants. When buying cyclamen in a pot, choosing ones with unopened buds would allow you to enjoy the entire bloom. A unique way to display your cyclamens would be in a basket placed near a window. If you have pets, make sure to keep an eye out as this plant is toxic to them. 

Be Careful, Cyclamen Wildflowers Could Be Toxic to Your Pets

Be Careful, Cyclamen Wildflowers Could Be Toxic to Your Pets

15. Ornamental Pepper

The ornamental pepper bears fruit continuously throughout summer and fall and is a favorite among plant enthusiasts. As a result, you would witness the peppers going through phases of colors, often several on the same plant; the colors range from red, yellow, purple, and even white and black on some varieties. While the fruit is safe to eat, you probably wouldn't want to either way.

Although the ornamental pepper is mainly an annual, you can grow it as a perennial in climate zones 9 through 11. This relatively versatile plant can also make for an interesting indoor plant, where you could display them in a vertical or hanging garden

While Ornamental Peppers Are Safe to Eat, You Probably Wouldn’t Want To

While Ornamental Peppers Are Safe to Eat, You Probably Wouldn’t Want To

DS

Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian

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