Written by David S.
It is summer, but now is the time to think ahead to fall landscaping. If you want to dazzle the neighbors with beautiful fall colors, then keep reading. Inside, we discuss a list of plants that are fall favorites because of their showy nature. Some fall foliage is so colorful it is as though you have painted the landscape. So what’s your favorite color? Chances are there is a tree, shrub, or fall flower that you will love.
Best Fall Plants
1. Hydrangea — is an excellent plant for your yard. They bloom from summer through fall, and as we approach autumn, their beautifully green leaves begin to turn pink and maroon. Hydrangea is a deciduous plant and will lose its leaves for winter.
2. Japanese Maples — Maples tend to be understory trees, which means they are better at adapting to cold than handling blazing heat. The tree can reach 30-feet in height, and its fall display is full of rich reds, oranges, and a touch of yellow. It is a spectacular sight.
3. Gingkoes — If you want to add a tall shade tree to your yard but not lose the winter sun, then a Gingko is a good choice. When fully grown, Gingkoes can reach 90-feet in height. Like a big tree, the Gingko shines in fall. The beautiful greenery turns a vivid yellow that is almost blindingly bright. Gingkoes are good to zone 9, and they grow 13-24″ per year.
4. Punica granatum — pomegranate trees offer a fantastic fall display. Not only do you get these beautiful early summer blooms and potentially fruit, but you also get a rich palette of color from pomegranates. They offer vivid oranges, reds, and yellows in the fall. Depending on the variety you buy, the summer blooms may be a lovely orange-red, creamy white, or beautiful peach. They come in dwarf varieties, too, making them ideal for containers, hedgerows, or as a standout centerpiece.
5. Chrysanthemum — come is such an array of colors that you can paint the landscape in color. Mums make lovely cut flowers and, because they bloom late in the season, are perfect for fall color. Mums are divided into blooming cycles, and early blooming mums may begin to put on a show as early as the middle of July. The later blooming mums may produce flowers into October. The range of colors available is incredible. You can find mums in pots at Green Thumb Nursery, or you can plant seeds. Mums take about 16 weeks to go from seedling to flowering adult. So, plan early for beautiful mums in the fall.
6. Asters — are beautiful daisy-like blooms with vivid yellow centers and contrasting petals. The range of colors available for asters is astonishing. Asters, like mums, make lovely cut flowers, so be sure to grow extra plants for cutting.
7. Sunflowers: Most sunflower varieties will bloom into the fall in Southern California. The giant sunflowers take the longest to mature. Sunflowers come in an array of yellows, reds, and gold colors with a choice of textures too. The medium Teddy Bear Sunflowers are soft and fluffy, while the wild sunflowers offer small flowers on a bushy shrub that can be covered in blooms. Sunflowers are easy to grow and will handle the full sun of Southern California.
Creating Beautiful Fall Vistas
Many of these plants, except some trees, will do just fine in containers, beds, or the centerpiece of a bed. Hydrangeas do well in the ground or a pot, and you can surround that pot with mums, asters, sunflowers, and other late-blooming flowering plants. Clumps of sunflowers near the back of the hydrangea will help make the beautiful fall leaves of the hydrangea pop with color. The vivid green of the sunflower leaves will push the fall colors of the hydrangea forward. Consider adding rich pastel colors of mums or asters to the foreground. The purples and pinks will showcase the hydrangea.
Medium to large-sized pots filled with fall flowering plants is another design option. Mums, asters, more miniature sunflowers, bush sunflowers, such as the beautiful Mexican sunflower, are ideal for medium to large pots or containers. Mix the colors or keep them static. The rich bronzes and golds of the mums with the purples, pinks, and white of the asters can be a striking mix. Mexican sunflowers are a vividly rich red/orange, and they contrast well with the mums and asters. There are even small gourds that will trail out of the pots. The Jack-be-Littles are a perfect example of small gourds in beautiful oranges.
The potential for creating fall beauty from living plants is fantastic. The color palette is rich and diverse, and the plants range from 90-foot trees to flowering plants under a foot tall. Some products that will help you succeed in creating fall vistas include beautiful pots. Ceramic pots that are stoneware will last for years, while earthenware pots, which are low-fire pots, can split or flake in the cold. Green Thumb Nursery offers a vast selection of pots in various colors, patterns, and textures.
Potting soils that hold water and allow excess moisture to drain are ideal for the warmer summer weather in Southern California. FoxFarm makes a range of soils that are wonderful for potted plants in warm weather. Black Gold also has some excellent products that will hold water but not remain soggy. Be sure to check out the entire range of potting soils that we carry.
If you are growing hydrangea, consider testing the soil pH to control the bloom color for next spring. Be sure to stop by our five Southern California locations and talk with our plant experts. Our plant pros are there to help answer your questions, point you to the right products, and offer plant care advice. These are the folks that care for all the plants here. When it comes to building fall color, our plant experts can help.
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