Plant Reviews Uncategorized

Fall Foliage Perennials

When we think of fall color, we almost always think about trees and shrubs. However, there are a number of great perennials who strut their stuff in a whole new way when the temperatures drop.

Wild Geranium, also goes by the awful common name of “Bloody Cranesbill” (Geranium sanguineum) which clearly no one thought through the mental imagery when naming this lovely perennial.  It’s lovely with just hints of red foliage color during the growing season but it transforms in the Fall with screaming red color- a total knock out!

'Bloody Cranesbill' (Geranium sanguineum) in full fall color

Amsonia is a rather tepid garden plant providing some demure blue flowers in spring then non-descript summer green foliage. However, the vivid yellow hue of the foliage in fall is a can’t miss event.

Amsonia hubrechtii- Photo credit: Melanie Blandford, The Baltimore Sun

Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) is a waterwise groundcover perennial with abundant cobalt blue flowers and foliage which colors up to a vivid burgundy-red in the fall.  If you can find the cultivar ‘My Love’ you’ll get vivid yellow foliage from spring until fall AND the trademark cobalt blue flowers.

The rather shocking color combination of red/blue provided by Plumbago.

Sedums can provide interesting color and foliage year-round depending upon the variety. I’m honestly not sure if the sedum below is the cultivar ‘Autumn Joy’ (Sedum ‘Herbstfreude’) or ‘Matrona’ (Sedum ‘Matrona’) but either way, it’s gorgeous!

Flowers are now a bronze color and the foliage is vivid yellow on this aptly named Sedum 'Autunm Joy'

Another view of Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

Our native plants can put on a pretty good show too! One of my favorites is Sulphur Buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum) which boasts a burgundy fall color that one-ups the other plants by retaining that burgundy foliage all winter long as an evergreen perennial.

Frost is no match for the determined burgundy-bronze leaves of Sulphur Buckwheat

And then there is the very dependable and amazing Sundancer Daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis). This guy didn’t get the memo that Fall is ALMOST gone.  Nope.  Every year he’ll keep blooming well into November/December.  Last year I enjoyed their cheerful yellow daisy selves poking out of a pile of snow!

Sundancer Daisies continue to bloom as though winter will never arrive.

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