September 13, 2011

6 Great Perennials and Shrubs for Fall

Posted by Kristin

Featured on Mass Appeal

Now that September is here, us ladies at PEC are officially starting to think about pulling out snugly sweaters, making big pots of warming soup, and in one word "nesting". But with my mind always stuck halfway between the indoors and outdoors, I'm also thinking about fall gardening- one of my favorite times to be outside.  One of the reasons I love it so much is because of the color and texture of plants this time of year: flaming reds, deep scarlets, bright yellows, and brilliant oranges are seen all around (at least here in New England) and there are an innumerable amount of shrubs and perennials that offer quite a show. Here are some of my favorites.

Perennials


Sedum

photo from gatewaygardens.com
Sedum is a drought-tolerant, tough-as-nails perennial that requires little in the way of regular maitenance. There are a number of varieties, some with bright green foliage (such as the "Autumn Joy" Sedum above) and others with burgundy leaves. Sedum blooms in late summer through the fall and makes a great cut and dried flower. It ranges in height( up to 24") and typically spreads around 18" across.


New England Aster

photo from abnativeplants.com


photo from raingardennetwork.com
New England Asters are the show-stoppers of fall with their bright colors (pink, purple, and violet-blue). They stand 18-36" high and usually for a clump 18-24" wide. They are native to New England (did ya read the name?) and are fantastic for attracting butterflies. They bloom in early fall and are fairly low maintenance.


Hellenium

photo from GeographBot/Wikemedia Commons
Hellenium is a perennial that really stands out in the garden. Its a tall one, up to 36", and comes in a variety of colors. Its also native to New England and aside from occasional staking, is content on its own. Hellenium blooms from mid-summer through the fall and looks great in the back of a garden bed.



Shrubs

Oakleaf Hydrangea

photo from huntersville.org

photo from finegardening.com
Oakleaf Hydrangea is one of my favorite shrubs because it just keeps on giving all year long. It starts out with white-conical shaped flowers spread over bright green, oak-leaf shaped foliage. The flowers eventually fade to a soft pink (as shown above) and dry nicely on the stem. This shrub really pulls out all the stops in the fall when it's leaves turn a deep scarlet.  It can range from 6-10' high and has a similar spread so make sure to plant it where there's plenty of space available.


Viburnum

photo from finegardening.com

photo from duke.edu

photo from finegardening.com
Viburnums are another shrub native to New England and there are a number of varieties, ranging from 8-15' in height with a similar spread. Best planted at the back of the garden border or in a spot with ample space, they offer fragrant, lacy white flowers in spring and deep red foliage in the fall, often with fruits that turn a blueish black.

Common Witchhazel

photo from wemoss.com

photo from acornfarms.com
Witchhazel is another native New England shrub and is known for its bright yellow fall foliage. Its also unique in that it flowers in the fall and up to as late as December, depending on the climate. It is often found as an understory species and gets up to 15' high and wide.



With so many fall-interest perennials and shrubs to choose from, its a great time of year to scope out new plants for your garden.  Its also a good time to score some killer deals at local garden centers and nurseries. Wanting to avoid having to over-winter their nursery stock, they often significantly mark down plants this time of year. With the cooler temperatures and the threat of drought mostly gone, perennials,shrubs, and trees also appreciate being planted at this forgiving time of year. So get out there and start plant shopping already!

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