Ah, autumn…the season of apple cider and cozy sweaters. As temperatures cool and days shorten, it’s time to pick apples and enjoy fabulous fall colors. But maple trees aren’t the only brilliant displays for your landscape. Many perennials offer fantastic fall foliage, too!
Why Choose Perennials for Fall Foliage?
Most gardeners choose plants based on bloom power! They add perennials that offer a long season of interest is always a smart decision. As flowers fade, lovely leaves with pretty patterns, colors, and variegation create a garden filled with depth and texture. This will ensure that your beds and borders continue to provide interest and enjoyment— even without flowers.
Some perennials, like Heuchera ‘Steel City’ with its stunning blue-green foliage with dark red-purple underside, offer a great foliage display all year long. Indeed, many perennials are known more for their fantastic foliage than their blooms. Buddleja ‘Butterfly Gold’ is a garden standout known for its striking, variegated yellow, white and green foliage as well as its purple flower spikes.
However, many beautiful blooming plants also produce foliage that changes color with the seasons. As a result, these pretty, ever-evolving plants add fall interest along pathways, in mixed beds, and containers. Adding fall color at ground level creates extra autumn foliage enjoyment.
Perennials Picks for Great Fall Foliage
If you want to add endless interest to your garden, consider adding these plants to your landscape:
Crane’s Bill (Geranium)
For a perfect pairing of beautiful, long-lasting blooms and gorgeous foliage, perennial Crane’s Bill is a terrific choice. The star among hardy geraniums is, of course, the ever-popular Geranium Rozanne®. Large, 2-1/2 inch saucer-shaped, violet-blue flowers with white centers bloom from late spring until first frost. The mounded, slightly marbled, deep green foliage turns reddish brown in autumn, providing added interest to borders, beds, and containers. Rozanne works beautifully as a ground cover, with other perennials in mixed borders, or as a “spiller” in container gardens. In addition, the long-bloom period—combined with the pretty autumn-hued foliage makes Rozanne an ideal choice for continuous garden interest.
Rozanne isn’t alone in the gorgeous fall foliage category: Geranium ‘Hexham Velvet’ changes with the seasons, too. This lovely geranium sports upturned, velvety, satin pink flowers and marbled-green foliage that flushes red once autumn arrives! ‘Hexham Velvet’ is a perfect addition to borders, beds and containers, and best of all: bees and other pollinators love her!
If pink is your preference, you’ll adore Geranium ‘Blushing Turtle’. Beautiful soft pink, 1-inch flowers with intricate veins of bolder, more vivid pink appear from June through frost. The rich, maple-leaf foliage changes into autumn hues as temperatures dip, creating a pretty complement to the pink blooms.
If you’re a Geranium Rozanne fan, you need to take a look at Geranium Azure Rush®! Commonly known as “Rozanne’s Smaller Daughter,” Azure Rush® shares the same great traits of its famous parent ‘Rozanne’ but with light-blue, 2.5-inch flowers and a more mounding habit, Azure Rush® produces beautiful blooms from May until frost. The fragrant green foliage provides an excellent boost of color for fall gardens!
Many hardy geraniums offer excellent ongoing blooms along with pretty fall foliage. However, some perennials start with an early show of flowers. Afterwards, they continue to star in the garden due to outstanding foliage color.
Euphorbia ‘Bonfire’ provides lovely, multi-season interest. Charming chartreuse-gold flowers emerge in spring.
The green spring foliage quickly turns a rich maroon red–and smolders with multi-season garden interest. These bushy, leafy plants add terrific color in the autumn garden.
If you’re looking to add fall color to a large area, try Bergenia ‘Bressingham Ruby’. This popular weed-smothering groundcover blooms with bold spikes of deep rose-red flowers in spring, thriving in sun or partial shade. The glossy green spring and summer foliage becomes rich, ruby-bronze in late autumn. Subsequently, they add seasonal hues and continued interest to gardens.
Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium)
For rich, show-stopping foliage in the fall garden, try Polemonium Brise d’ Anjou. Like most Jacob’s Ladders, the foliage is highly decorative, neat, uniform, and symmetrical. Brise d’Anjou sports elegant, vibrant, creamily variegated foliage, sure to brighten shady garden spots. Creamy-edged, fern-like foliage on bushy clumps. Bonus of violet-blue flowers from late spring to early summer. You’ll love this perennial for all its attributes—pretty blooms, neat presentation, and great foliage!
Many flowers fade in autumn’s waning daylight. However, your garden can continue to produce terrific color and interest with the addition of fantastic fall foliage perennials. Add a few pumpkins and a scarecrow or two, and your garden is ready for fall!
If you’re not able to go garden shopping locally, there are also options for buying online. Click here to see a list of online suppliers of Geranium Rozanne and Friends® varieties!
For more gardening inspiration, be sure to join Rozanne’s Inner Circle!