Fall is the best time for planting, as well as, the time to look for some great color and interest in the landscape with the right plant material choices. There are many plant material choices here in the south (I am in zone 7-8) that will really add some punch and color to your landscape. Take a look at my top 10 favorites:
1. Dwarf Burning Bush(Euonymus alata ‘Compacta’) : This large and easy to grow shrub is known for its outstanding scarlet fall color. Grows 6-8’ tall and wide, so give it a little room at the back of the landscape for an eye stopping display this fall.
2. Winter Daphne (Daphne odora) : This shade loving evergreen comes in both green and variegated leaf varieties. Prized for its rosy pink very fragrant flowers in winter and spring. A little pickier about its growing conditions, make sure to put this beauty in a sheltered location, give it plenty of organic soil material and good drainage for it to do its best.
3. Heather (Calluna vulgaris): Small (2’ ht) evergreen shrub prized for its white or pink flowers in winter/early spring and its lower growing habit. Plant in a partly shady area in moist, acidic soil for it to do its best.
4. Hellebores (Helleborus orientalis): Small evergreen perennial for the shade garden. Evergreen leaves form a small 2’ clump. Easy to grow and produces abundant, pendulous clumps of white and pink flowers in the dead of winter! Best if planted at the top of a slope or wall so the pendulous panicles of flowers are best viewed. Easy to grow and trouble free addition to the garden.
5. Coral Bark Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Sangokaku’): Small, deciduous, slow growing tree with brilliant red bark. This color intensifies in winter for an eye catching show in the landscape. Leaves during the year are brilliant green with a slight red border and the fall color is a brilliant yellow.
6. Witch Hazel (Hammamelis vernalis): This easy to grow shrub will easily adapt to full sun or part shade. Showy flowers in winter will be most prolific in full sun. Needs consistent moisture, but good drainage and ample organic soil material for it to perform its best.
7. Nandina (Nandina domestica ‘Gulfstream’): This staple of the southern garden is known for its ability to change color. While an attractive green leaf color (with red new growth) during the growing season, changes to a brilliant burgundy in the fall. Another variety ‘Firepower’ turns brilliant red in the fall. Many of the varieties have showy red, or even white berries in the winter.
8. Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia caplillaris): This hardy perennial is known for its beautiful, billowy pink flower display on 4’ stems.
9. Sasanqua Camellia (Camellia sasanqua): This is another staple evergreen of the southern garden. The sasanqua camellia blooms in the fall/winter for a spectacular display. Try ‘Yuletide’ for brilliant red flowers with a yellow center or ‘Setsugekka’ for white flowers with a yellow display.
10. Beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana): This underused beauty boasts clumps of brilliant purple berries in the fall, which persist throughout the winter.
Try some of these examples in your garden to continue your enjoyment of the landscape throughout the winter!
READ MORE about plants with fall and winter interest at:
About the Author:
Lori Hawkins, RLA, ASLA has been a registered landscape architect and active in the landscape design/build industry for over 25 years. For additional inspiring project pictures, design ideas, or great garden gifts, take a look at these websites:
GARDEN ART AND GIFTS: WWW.TriadGarden.com
DESIGN WORK PORTFOLIO: WWW.HawkinsLA.com