Updated: Dec 30, 2022
What are the top plants to have in your garden for fall color? Here are my top ten picks to plant or enjoy! The frost may have hit most of the country, but this guide will help you plan for next year as you plant in the spring. When you imbibe in the majesty of the foliage and flowers of the fall this year, dream of next year's garden as this year's goes to sleep.
Hailing from Asia, the Chrysanthemum is the royal flower of Japan. Does any other flower signify the arrival of fall more when we see them in our local grocery and gardening centers? Chrysanthemums have been bred in a variety of colors although in many cultures they symbolize death I think it's just not fall without a few pots of mums. With proper care mums can become a perennial in your garden.
2- Japanese Asters
Japanese Asters are reminiscent of small daisies and chrysanthemums and offer a multitude of hardy blossoms in a wide range of colors. Asters are easy to grow, love sun and can be grown in the ground or a container. They bloom from mid summer until frost.
3- Maples and Japanese Maples
The star of the fall has got to be the maple from the small Japanese Maples to giant Sugar Maples and October Glory cultivars. Maples grace the fall with bright yellow to bright orange and scarlet. What tree offers the gardener more variety of size, sillohette, fall palette and leaf texture than this amazing plant?
4- Cone Flower
Purple Cone Flower, or Echinacea is a prolifically flowering perennial that draws bees to the garden along with a profusion of color and blooms from mid summer to frost. These flowers are a native of the American prairie and a very drought resistant. They are a favorite in my garden as they require little care.
The national flower of Mexico, dahlia are the star of the late summer and early autumn garden. These flowers feature huge blossoms in an array of colors. What other flower offers more gigantic blooms in such an array of hues? Dinner plate Dalia flowers can grow up to 1 foot wide!
No other tree offers the bright lemon yellow color of a ginko along with a unique leaf shape, unlike any other tree. The ginko is thought to be one of the oldest plant species on earth. Interestingly ginkos have both male and female trees instead of both sex organs being found on the same plant.
Grasses vary in so many ways but in the fall their beautiful seed heads grace the garden and fields with textural and sculptural forms. Ornamental grasses are a wonderful way to add texture to any garden and many are drought tolerant. Sizes and color are greatly varied in the grass family allowing them to find a home in any garden design.
The small yet prolific flowers of cosmos bloom into late fall providing color to the garden and a profusion of flowers. These flowers which are annuals in most areas thrive in full sun.
9- Oak Leaf Hydrangea
This is one of my favorite plants. The leaves are extravagant from spring to late fall appearing to be a huge oak leaf, hence the name. The white flower spikes grace the plant and remain into winter offering sculptural elegance long after frost. Oak leaf hydrangea thrive in partly sunny to shady conditions and are great naturalizers.
What other flower epitomizes the natural banks and fields of the Eastern United States in the fall? Considered by many to be a weed, golden rod offers a profusion of yellow fall color before the leaves begin to change and are excellent as cut flowers gathered from the wild.