By Chris Fifo, Darwin Perennials
Photographs courtesy of Darwin Perennials
Late summer and fall perennials have been gaining in popularity with home gardeners over the past few years. What a treat to have fresh-flowering plants to complement your fall décor! I think the perfect timing for thinking about freshening up your yard is back-to-school time. A change of seasons and a change of routines deserves a change of scenery.
With the kids back to school, there is more time – not necessarily for gardening, but for decorating. Decorating with perennial color! Perennials can be the perfect complement to fall garden mums and, in my opinion, offer a better value to a gardener due to the duration of color and weather tolerance.
A key thing to consider when choosing the right perennials for fall is this: They have to be simple to maintain! Just coming off a busy spring planting season and a complicated summer maintenance regime is not a very attractive motivation to garden yet again.
Fortunately, I have taken the fear and complication out of fall perennials for you. Here are several varieties that offer long bloom times, easy care, and the colors you’ll love for the season.
Coreopsis: This is at the top of my no-brainer fall plants list. Specifically our Coreopsis Uptick series, which comes in five colors – including a new Red for the coming year. It has a great daisy-like shape and those yellow tones fit right in with autumn color.
Salvia: Second on my list is S. nemorosa. The Salvia Rose Marvel in particular absolutely glows in your yard for drive-by color. It’s a bee magnet, too – a great way to feed pollinators as they make stores for the winter months.
Achillea: The New Vintage series offers bold colors that fade to softer shades and not browns, making a much better use of your time than trying to clear away dead branching. It also holds a tidy habit that doesn’t flop over – important if seasonal rains hit.
Nepeta: Here’s another class of perennial you can find in the fall that is attractive to bees and wildlife. The blues and purples of the Prelude series can punch up the color in a mixed container, or plant it in the ground for full landscape potential in the second year.
Echinacea: Compact and mid-size coneflowers also come in the gorgeous colors of the fall season with red, pink, cream, and gold that complement the changing leaves. Perfect for decoration with green kale, mums, millets and other accent items like stalks, haybales and pumpkins. The Echinacea Sombrero series is one to watch for at your local garden center.
With these five perennials, you can easily build a colorful planter or small accent garden that will befriend your classic mums and welcome in the fall decorating season.
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