Fall: Much More than Mums


 Butterfly Bush

When most people think about fall, they usually picture the bright yellow, red or orange mums that we all use to decorate our yards.  There is, however, a lot more to fall than just mums.


Mums are a great go-to for a fall blooming perennial.  Though there are lots of beautiful perennials that save their blooms for fall.  One of the most popular is autumn joy sedum. These flowers give you a unique foliage to look at all summer long and then vibrant color for the fall.  Plant these where they will get a lot of sun, and they'll bloom for you throughout the late summer and fall.

Rudbeckia: There are many varieties of rudbeckia out there you can choose to plant, but our favorite is the traditional black eyed Susan, the golden yellow flowers with the dark brown centers.  They bloom throughout the summer, but their beautiful color compliments the turning trees.

Joe Pye Weed:  This native plant not only attracts butterflies to your yard, but adds height and color to your garden.  The flower heads are large, domed or flat-topped clusters of small purplish tubular disk flowers.  It blooms from July through September, giving you late summer to fall color.

Asters: There are many varieties of asters available to plant in your garden, ranging from compact to six foot tall giants.  Whichever type of aster you plant, however, the bright pinks, purples, lavenders and whites will add splashes of color to your garden.  Find a sunny spot for these and enjoy the bright blooms.

Sweet Autumn Clematis: This climbing vine produces loads of beautiful white blossoms all over the dark green, leathery foliage.  The flowers are star-shaped and fragrant, and the vine is very easy to grow.

Hardy Hibiscus: Not to be mistaken with the tropical hibiscus that cannot survive our winters, this perennial arrives late each year, starting to sprout in late May or early June. They generally start to bloom in August and continue through the fall.  They have large blooms that can be as large as a dinner plate and generally last only a day or two, but with many buds, you are rarely left without a bloom.

Goldenrod: Goldenrods are very common wildflowers throughout North America.  While many people think these cause their allergies to go wild, it is actually ragweed which blooms at the same time.  Goldenrod vary in height, growing as tall as six feet and have bright yellow flowers that are clustered on long stalks.  These attract loads of insects, from bees to butterflies.

Butterfly Bush:  These beautiful perennials bloom midsummer to fall in a variety of colors that include blue, pink, red, violet, yellow and white.  These shrubs grow between five to ten feet tall and wide, depending on the variety.  They are low maintenance, good for cut flowers, and, of course, attracting butterflies.

Helenium: Native to North America, these striking flowers are in the daisy family and come in bright shades of orange and yellow.  The flowers bloom in the late summer and attract butterflies in droves.

While using those perennials in your garden will keep color alive into the next season, fall is a great time to plant perennials as well.  With the rest of the plant going dormant during the winter, the roots get a chance to really establish themselves without having to worry about getting water to the leaves and flowers of the plants.  Generally, it is best to get your perennials all planted in your yard by mid-October, so they have some time to establish themselves.  If you plant them a little bit later, be sure to protect their base with mulch for the winter. 

Just because the days are growing shorter and the air is getting cooler does not mean that your garden is done.  With these great perennials, your garden will continue to thrive well into the season.


Christian Goers