Five Plants for Fall with Mike Darcy

October 1, 2018

The first day of autumn has come and gone and so we are officially into the fall season. In my own garden, there is still much color in foliage and flowers and below is a list of five plants that are looking very good. It is difficult to select only five, as there are many others that could be on this list and perhaps that will be in another blog.

All of these photos have been taken recently.

Anemone Japonica
Generally referred to as Japanese Anemones, these hardy perennial plants reliably appear in late summer and begin to bloom in early fall. Most are white but there are some with flowers in various shades of pink. Japanese Anemones are excellent plants to mix in a perennial flower bed where there are other plants that would provide flowers earlier in the season. Give them some protection from the hot afternoon sun.

Coleus Primarily planted for their leaf color, there is a huge array of colors to chose from. Coleus are annuals and planted in the spring after danger of frost is over. They make excellent container plants and can provide wonderful leaf color all summer. Coleus bloom with small flowers which I pinch off so the plant will continue to send energy into the leaves and not the flower. The photo shown is from a garden that I visited in August where the Coleus is mixed with sweet potato vine.

Often referred to as Elephant’s Ear due to the shape of the large leaves. The photo is from a Colocasia called ‘Black Magic’ which has magnificent large black leaves that make a tremendous foliage statement in the garden. Plant the tubers in the spring or purchase plants already started. This is fast growing and is excellent for container planting I treat my plants as annuals although the tubers can be saved over the winter if stored with protection in a garage or basement.

Salvia ‘Windwalker Royal Red’
No list of mine would be complete without mention of a Salvia and this is a new one for me. My three plants grew vigorously all summer, and I actually pruned them in mid-July because they were getting too tall. The blood-red flowers did not appear until August but they were worth waiting for.

Lespedeza thunbergii ‘Gibraltar’ (Japanese Bush Clover)
I think this is one of the best autumn flowering shrubs in my garden. I treat it as an herbaceous perennial, meaning that I cut it to the ground in the late fall. My plant receives lots of hot sun and very little supplemental summer water. It is fast growing, reaching eight feet with arching stems that cascade like a fountain. I have my plant in a wrought iron structure to contain it and to keep it more upright. It is beginning to come into bloom with plumes of purple flowers. Due to the late flowering season and the height of the plant, I would suggest putting this at the back of a flower bed.

As I mentioned earlier, there are many more plants to chose from, but this is a start. Enjoy!

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