Fall in Love with Color


By Linda Wiggen Kraft, Healthy Planet Green & Growing Editor

Oh, the colors of fall. How can our hearts not sing with the brilliance of orange, reds, yellows, purple and other colors? All too often when thinking of garden colors, we think of spring and summer first, but fall colors are the fireworks of a garden. When considering plants think about the colors that may amaze you in the fall along with the colors of spring and summer. 

The fireworks of fall come from the changing of leaf colors. Trees of course give the biggest color explosion. It is always good to plant native oaks. Red Oaks (Quercus rubra)

live up to their name with their blazing reds. They grow large, 50 feet up to 75 feet. Home gardens may not have space for an oak, but lots of smaller trees and shrubs bring fall colors into the landscape. Native Dogwoods (Cornus florida) shine with fall reds and purple leaves. Redbuds (Cersis canadensis) have yellow/orange fall color, but the new Flame Thrower Redbud gives fall colors during the summer with new leaf growth. Autumn Brilliance Service Berry (Amelanchier) shares its blueberry like fruit in the summer and lives up to its name in fall. 

As for shrubs, a favorite is Oak Leaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia). In late fall the large oak shaped leaves turn reds and purples. During summer large cone shaped flower heads starts out white and fade into pinks before turning brown in late fall. Oak leaf hydrangeas range in size from 12’x12’ to 4’x4’ with may in-between sizes. Native Sumacs are another red charmer. There are Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica), Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra) and Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) with their red and orange leaves, a great contrast with the fall yellows of many smaller plants.

Perennials are not often thought of for their fall foliage, but there are some stand outs as bright as shrubs and trees. Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) shows arches of yellow.

Hosta leaves and feathery leafed Bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana) shine yellow.

Bloody geranium (Geranium sanguineum) is named for the fall leaf color, not its magenta flowers. Ground cover Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) has fall red and green leaves that compliment blue flowers. Fall brings out the colors of some grasses including the maroons of Big Bluestems (Andropogon gerardii) and Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium).

There are many more colorful fall garden plants from the largest trees to small perennials. Enjoy and love them all with their autumn colors. Bask in their brightness and bring their colors into your garden and life. 

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer who creates holistic and organic gardens. She is also an artist and creativity workshop leader. Her next Creativity & Mandala workshop is Oct 22nd. Find out more, subscribe to her blog and Instagram at www.CreativityForTheSoul.com, Call her at 314 504-4266.