Fall-Flowering Favorites

Here are a few more fall-flowering favorites, as well as choices for beautiful autumn foliage, berries, and seeds.

Flowers

• Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida, Zones 4 to 9). Perennial; masses of golden flowers.
• Boltonia (Boltonia asteroides, Zones 4 to 9). Perennial; tall stems of pink to white flowers.
• Goldenrod (Solidago spp., Zones 5 to 9; hardiness varies by cultivar). Perennial; deadhead to prevent self-sowing.
• New York aster (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii, Zones 4 to 8). Perennial; flowers are shades of red, pink, white, violet, and blue.
• Resurrection lily (Lycoris squamigera, Zones 6 to 11) Hardy bulb; spring foliage goes dormant in summer; pink flowers bloom in fall.
• Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale, Zones 4 to 8). Perennial; yellow, orange, and bronze flowers.
• Toad lily (Tricyrtis hirta, Zones 4 to 9). Perennial; stems lined with purple-spotted flowers.

Foliage

• Blue star flower (Amsonia hubrechtii, Zones 5 to 9). Perennial; narrow leaves turn bright yellow.
• Bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora, Zones 5 to 9). Shrub; yellow fall color.
• Common witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana, Zones 3 to 8). Shrub; yellow fall foliage and flowers.
• Dwarf fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii, Zones 5 to 9). Shrub; red, orange, and yellow fall color; white spring flowers.
• Japanese barberry* (Berberis thunbergii, Zones 5 to 8). Shrub; orange and red fall color.
• Redvein enkianthus (Enkianthus campanulatus, Zones 5 to 8). Shrub; orange-yellow to red fall color; bell-shaped flowers in spring.
• Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Zones 3 to 9). Woody vine; red fall color.

Berries

• American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens, Zones 3 to 8). Woody vine; needs male and female plant for orange berries.
• Blackberry lily (Belamcanda chinensis, Zones 5 to 9). Perennial; seeds look like blackberries.
• Flowering crabapple (Malus spp., Zones 3 to 8; hardiness varies by cultivar). Tree; white to pink spring flowers; holds fruit for wildlife.
• Purple beautyberry* (Callicarpa dichotoma, Zones 6 to 8). Shrub; bright-purple fruit; pink summer flowers.
• Scarlet firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea, Zones 6 to 9). Shrub; bright orange-red berries.
• Smooth sumac (Rhus glabra, Zones 2 to 8). Shrub; yellow to red fall color; on female plants, clusters of crimson fruit into winter.
• Winterberry (Ilex verticillata, Zones 5 to 8). Shrub; requires male and female plants for bright red fruit.

Seed structures

• Clematis (Clematis cultivars, Zones 3 to 9; hardiness varies by cultivar). Vine; fuzzy seed heads; various colors of flowers in summer.
• Eulalia grass (Miscanthus sinensis, Zones 4 to 9). Perennial grass; graceful seed heads last most of the winter.
• Money plant* (Lunaria annua, Zones 5 to 9). Biennial; paper-white seed pods; purple or white flowers.
• Plains false indigo (Baptisia australis, Zones 3 to 9). Perennial; black seedpods; indigo-blue summer flowers.
• Sea holly (Eryngium spp., Zones 3 to 10; hardiness varies by cultivar). Perennial; spiky, blue-gray bracts remain after blue summer flowers fade.

*These plants may be invasive in your area. Check with your local county extension service or state Department of Natural Resources.

Plants for a Narrow Garden

Turn a narrow space into a spectacular sight with these top picks for tight spots.

Columnar plants are great in a narrow garden—they don’t take up much width. More columnar cultivars become available each year. Some tall, narrow favourites include:

  • Leland cypress (x Cupressocyparis leylandii): Particularly effective for bold vertical accents reaching well into the air; grows to 15 feet wide and 100 feet tall, but can be sheared and kept narrow if desired; Zones 6 to 9.
  •  Columnar juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Skyrocket’): Stays quite narrow; grows to 2 feet wide and 15 feet tall; Zones 3 to 7.
  • Irish yew (Taxus ‘Fastigiata’): Grows 4 to 8 feet wide and 15 to 30 feet tall; Zones 5 to 7.
  • Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii ‘Helmond Pillar’): Grows 2 feet wide and 5 feet tall; Zones 4 to 7.
  • Japanese holly (Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’): Grows 1 foot wide and 6 feet tall; Zones 5 to 8.

Ornamental grasses, particularly the genus Miscanthus with its graceful habit, work well in narrow sites.

Vines and creeping plants that climb upward on a structure, such as wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’, Zones 5 to 9), add a vertical element to narrow sites.

Plants that form a narrow base and overhead canopy when you remove their lower branches work well for narrow spaces. Try panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Kyushu’ and ‘Tardiva’, Zones 4 to 8) and crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica ‘Natchez’, Zones 7 to 9).

Liriope, hosta, and yucca are easy-care perennials that stay neat and tidy in a contained space. Low creepers, such as yellow-flowered Waldsteinia ternata (Zones 3 to 8) and checkerberry (Gaultheria procumbens, Zones 3 to 8) help fill the lowest level of the garden.