By Susan Martin for Proven Winners Photos are courtesy of Proven Winners
Fall is an ideal time to work outdoors--conditions are ripe for planting and the crisp, clear air is invigorating. Plant a bounty of beauty this fall with season-extending annuals, perennials and shrubs from Proven Winners.
Purple fountain grass is an absolute classic for fall landscapes and containers. But did you know that it has two variegated siblings? ‘Fireworks’ is a pinky-red variegated sport with a fiery glow. It is a bit more restrained than the species and bears the same showy purple plumes. ‘Sky Rocket’ is a vigorous green and white variegated sport with light purple plumes. All three last long into fall, providing winter interest and food for birds until the heavy snow falls.
Nemesias are classic annuals for fall plantings as they are exceptionally cold tolerant. Their warm toned, plentiful blooms make them ideal for fall-themed baskets, containers, and in-ground plantings. The star of the series is Sunsatia Blood Orange, a new introduction for Spring 2016. Its fiery red-orange blossoms appear right up until frost.
If it’s fall, you might be thinking about planting pansies for some fall color. Paired with fall mums and grasses, they liven up landscapes and containers right up through the first couple of frosts. Anytime Pansiolas are unique in that they were selected to be both cold and heat tolerant, so you can plant them right now even if the late summer heat hasn’t yet subsided in your region. Available in six eye-catching colors.
GRACEFUL GRASSES® Toffee TwistCarex flagellifera
You’ll often find Toffee Twist Carex included in combination containers for fall because its wispy, copper colored foliage is an ideal complement for rich reds, purples and golds. Its upright fountain-like habit provides an interesting textural contrast to mounding mums and fall bedding annuals. Used en masse or as a specimen, Toffee Twist will stand out wherever it is planted and will retain its visual interest right through winter.
Thanks to new varieties that can tolerate cold temperatures better, Superbells can now be included in both your spring and fall combination containers. Superbells are available in a staggering array of vibrant colors, many of which fit easily into the richer, earthy toned combinations that are popular in the cooler fall months. Their trailing habit makes them ideal candidates as spillers in hanging baskets and upright containers.
If you’re looking for a more high-end look for your window boxes, deck planters and landscapes, try a mix of fall-toned coral bells. They pair very well with ornamental grasses and have the added advantage of being perennial in zones 4-9. Dolce Heucheras are versatile plants for sun or shade that provide year-round interest with their evergreen to semi-evergreen foliage.
If you are looking for perennial grasses that will grow and mature over many years to come, try our Prairie Winds series. This group of perennial grasses includes manageable 3-4’ tall varieties that bloom in late summer to early fall and develop attractive fall color. They all need full sun to thrive and are deer resistant. ‘Cheyenne Sky’ and ‘Apache Rose’ Panicum are super hardy in zones 4-9 but ‘Desert Plains’ Pennisetum prefers zones 5-9.
Bees, butterflies and gardeners delight in the late summer and fall flowers of upright Sedums. They are a breeze to grow in full sun and aren’t too choosy about sandy or clay soils. This year, try something different than the standard ‘Autumn Joy’ types. All three of the Rock ‘n Grow Sedums offer something unique, from the citron yellow flowers of ‘Lemonjade’ to the purple foliage of ‘Maestro’ and the solid dome of blooms on ‘Pure Joy’. All are hardy in zones 3-9.
Viburnums are essential flowering shrubs for foundation plantings, living screens and the back of the border. Red Balloon is an exceptionally showy selection that produces a heavy crop of bright red berries in fall which are preceded by white flowers in spring. Its fruiting is enhanced by planting it near V. ‘Mohican’ or V. rhytidophylloides ‘Alleghany’. Red Balloon forms a well-branched, upright rounded, 6-8’ tall shrub with rugose green, deciduous foliage. It is hardy in zones 4-8.
Why are panicle hydrangeas so popular? Because they are one of the easiest kinds of hydrangeas to grow, bloom reliably every year, and aren’t fussy about soil pH. Dwarf cultivars are excellent in containers while larger specimens are showoffs in the landscape when used as focal points and hedges. Each cultivar offers something special, from the pomegranate pink flowers of Fire Light to the outstanding bloom power of ‘Limelight’ and the crowd favorite Pinky Winky which never disappoints with its huge, two-toned plumes. All are hardy in zones 3-8.
Though they are attractive shrubs in the spring and summer landscape, it’s what happens in late fall and winter that really counts for Winterberries. Berry Heavy bears dense masses of extra large, shiny red berries that persist long after its leaves have fallen. Berry Heavy Gold is equally attractive with bright gold fruits. Winterberry will create visual impact wherever it is planted, but it is especially striking when planted en masse. The Berry Heavy series grows 6-8’ tall and is hardy in zones 3-9.
Contributor Bio: Susan Martin is a lifelong gardener and perennial specialist with 17 years of experience in the Horticulture Industry. She is a native of Michigan where she has been gardening since the age of four in both sandy and clay soils in zones 4-6.