October 1, 2017
Fall Interest Perennials for the Garden
Fall is here! Days are getting shorter and nights cooler… there’s still plenty of gardening to do! Extend vibrant colors and textures well into autumn with fall interest perennials.
When we think fall… mums come to mind. Visit Bucks Country Gardens to discover so much more! We have a huge palette of flowering perennials, grasses, and ferns to choose from. Plus, many of the perennials you enjoyed in the spring and summer develop striking fall color.
Layering Fall Interest Perennials
Layering your perennials is great way to showcase, spring through fall. It is also great if you are not able to stake plants! Plant the tall fall bloomers in the back of your perennial border where they can grow as they like and be supported by the smaller plants in front. The other plants blooming earlier in the season will distract from the fall bloomer’s foliage until it is ready to bloom. With a little bit of planning your perennial beds will be full of color through the seasons.
If your garden design does not lend itself to layering different plants, stake individual plants or do some periodic pruning. Pruning during the growing season makes plants stockier, more self-supporting and cause them to bloom a week or more later than with no attention. Before you start cutting, you will want to research your plant, not all of them take well to pruning. If they do benefit from pruning, then begin cutting the plants back in the spring when they reach about 6 to 8 inches. Pruning causes them to branch out and set more flower buds. Keep pruning every 3 to 4 weeks, until about July 4. After that you can allow them to grow on their own for the rest of the summer. A few perennials that respond well to pruning are: Asters, Agastache, and Coreopsis.
Using Fall Interest Perennials as Focal Points
Fall perennials can also be used as focal points in the garden. They can be massed together for a dramatic burst of color or one can be planted as a specimen. Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is an excellent choice for a fairly large perennial that can really hold its own and put on a show.
Plant fall perennials now and enjoy your garden longer. There is still time for plants to get established before the winter comes. The cooler weather is easier on us as we plant and easier on the plants. Stop by Bucks Country Gardens and meet some of our wonderful fall perennials. The following is a list of perennials, grasses and some ferns we have available that will keep your garden colorful well into fall.
Must Have Fall Interest Perennials
Anemone x hybrida (Japanese anemone) bright blooms dance over rich green foliage.
Agastache (Mexican Mint) blooms summer into fall; pollinator mecca.
Aster novae-angliae (New England Aster) has prolific blooms; prune for a more compact plant.
Coreopsis (Tickseed) re-blooms late summer with pruning; light and airy plant; does well in the front of borders.
Chelone (Turtlehead) attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds; tall spires of pink flowers fill out the back of the perennial border.
Echinacea (Coneflower) many new colors and bloom shapes; look for reds/white/purple; finches love the seed.
Eupatorium maculatum (Joe Pye Weed) likes a wet spot; butterfly magnet.
Eupatorium rugosum ‘Chocolate’ (White Snakeroot) has purplish brown foliage; fluffy white blooms September thru October.
Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ (Spurges) has multi-color foliage; bonus exotic early summer bloom; texture.
Helenium has daisy-like blooms; drought tolerant.
Heuchera/Heucherella is mainly grown for colored foliage; holds color through the fall; great in containers.
Lirope muscari (Lilly Turf) makes great grass-like ground cover; spires of blue blooms in late summer into the fall.
Nipponanthemum nipponicum (Nippon or Montauk Daisy) late blooms; prune for compact plant.
Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) has light blue blooms summer into fall; re-blooms best with pruning; drought tolerant.
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Plumbago) is great groundcover; rich blue blooms well into fall; foliage turns bronze at summer’s end.
Sedum ‘Angelina’ has great texture; foliage bronzes after frost; plant it and forget it (almost).
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ flowers are loved by butterflies; maintains its structure into the winter garden.
Stachys (Lamb’s Ears) maintains beautiful silver color and soft texture.
Woods Aster fall blooms in purple, blue and pink; prune in summer for compact plant (let it grow from July 4 on into fall).
Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susan) is loved by butterflies and gold finches (for the seeds); partner these yellow flowers with Echinacea.
Clematis paniculata (Fall Clematis) is an excellent option for a vine with fall color; profuse bloomer; white flowers.
Hackonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ (Japanese Forest Grass) maintains yellow leaves into late fall.
Miscanthus sinensis (Maidenhair grass) has light airy plumes that turn tan by late fall and persist through the winter.
Panicum ‘Shanendoa’ (Switch Grass) is a perennial grass with red foliage throughout; airy blooms.
Pennisetum alopecuroides (Hamlen) is a perennial grass with arching blooms that look like little foxtails; red variety popular in fall containers is not hardy in this area.
Dryopteris erythrosora (Autumn Fern) has dark green leaves with bronze and orange coloring; semi-evergreen.
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern) has dark green fronds one to two feet high and wide; evergreen leaves are great winter interest.
I can’t resist… here are a few shrubs that are worthy of your attention this fall:
Abelia is a bloomer and looks better once the temperatures come down a bit.
Dwarf Fothergilla has spring blooms that serve pollinators; stellar fall foliage.
Witchhazel has an Interesting small bloom in the very early spring; fall foliage rivals any maple tree.
Ann Buckwalter | Greenhouse Assistant