Amazing Color for the Fall Landscape

Explore 31 ways to turn your fall landscape into a kaleidoscope of color with these spectacular perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees.
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©Image courtesy of Monrovia

©Image courtesy of Proven Winners

©Image courtesy of Monrovia

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Monrovia ©Image courtesy of Monrovia

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Proven Winners ©Image courtesy of Proven Winners

©Image courtesy of Monrovia

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Proven Winners ©Image courtesy of Proven Winners

©Image courtesy of Monrovia

©Image courtesy of Monrovia

©Image courtesy of Monrovia

Within the huge family of Japanese maples, there are tons of possibilities for gorgeous fall foliage color, from lacy-leaf shrubs to statuesque trees.

And when the foliage fireworks end, the beautiful limb structure of the Japanese maple takes center stage.

The beautyberry bush produces long wands of purple berries that often have a metallic sheen, quite a sight for the fall garden. The American beautybush grows 3 to 8 feet high and is reliably hardy in USDA Zones 7 to 11. The Japanese beautybush is 4 to 6 feet tall and wide, hardy in USDA Zones 5 to 8. Both types can be cut back severely in the spring if necessary. The flowers — usually pinkish to white — form on new wood.

Various cultivars of beautyberry offer white to pinkish-lavender berries.

An added plus to good fall color in the landscape is being able to preserve that color for late-season bouquets. The blooms of strawflower come in yellow, orange and red and many variations in between, and the color holds even after drying. Strawflower is an annual or short-lived perennial (in USDA Zones 8 to 11).

The mum family provides an enormous selection of colors for the fall garden. Here, Chrysanthemum x 'Sheffield'.

Goldenrod helps contribute to the riot of perennial color in RMS lark's garden.

In late summer and early fall, goldenrod 'Fireworks' produces cascades of color.

Hydrangeas and variegated euonymous contribute to this colorful fall garden, posted by RMSer coastalgardener.

Fothergilla, a deciduous shrub, offers white flowers in spring and glorious fall color.

A vigorous, easy-to-grow woody vine, sweetautumn clematis smothers a fence with its profusion of fragrant, white blossoms. Posted by RMSer lark

Plant fall-blooming crocus in late summer and you'll enjoy these sweet flowers just four to six weeks later. Thwart squirrels from invading your crocus planting by anchoring chicken wire firmly over the bed.

Related to snapdragons, twinspur (Diaschia)is a cool-weather annual, producing its bright blooms as long as nighttime temperatures stay below 70 or so. In northern climates, that means flowers from spring through fall until the first hard frost. Comes in pink, rose, orange, salmon, cream, white and combos. Perennial in USDA Zone 7 and warmer.

This heat- and drought-tolerant strawflower is a no-brainer: Chrysocephalum 'Flambe' blooms continuously and prolifically from spring through fall.

Chinese pistachio (Pistacia chinensis) is a good choice for brilliant fall color in areas where the sugar maple won't grow. The leaves are slow to appear in the spring but hang on late in the fall, turning a brilliant reddish orange. Used for root stock for the pistachio nut tree (P. vera), Chinese pistachio produces fruits that aren't palatable to humans, but birds like them. Medium-sized tree (to 35 feet tall), drought resistant, USDA Zones 6b to 9.

Use 'Nikko' deutzia for a deep burgundy contrast in your landscape's fall palette. Come spring, a mass of small white flowers covers this deciduous shrub.

Panicle hydrangeas bloom in early summer, starting out white, then transitioning to pink and purplish pink in early fall. The species is a coarse, open shrub with an unkempt appearance, but selections like 'Limelight' have great form, especially in containers.

The colorful foliage of coral bells (Heuchera) adds texture and interest to the spring, summer and fall garden — and winter in warm climates. Here, 'Marmalade' is a blend of deep gold and hot pink. Give heucheras moist, well-drained soil, part to full shade in the South. USDA Zones 4 to 9.

Calibrachoa blooms from summer to fall, until the first hard frost. Pictured here: Superbells Red

A lot of perennial salvias put on their finest show in late summer to fall. Here, Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha), a tender perennial hardy to USDA Zone 8, shows off its footlong spires.

Roses aren't just for summertime. Many roses, like the Knockout series, keep blooming until the first frost.

Witchhazels bloom in the fall or winter, depending on the species. The flowers of the native Hamamelis virginiana appear anytime from October to December and may be mostly lost amid the fall foliage, but you can still enjoy their fragrance.

Ladybugs, though welcome guests in summer gardens, swarm during autumn in some regions of the U.S., looking for a place to overwinter. They often end up in attics and crawl spaces in large numbers. Keep them outside by sealing up any cracks or gaps in your home’s exterior. 

The glorious fall foliage of fullmoon maple (Acer shirasawanum) 'Autumn Moon' isn't this tree's only plus. In spring, the new leaves emerge red before turning the tree's summer color of light green tinged with a slight red-orange blush.

In fall the native sumac adds brilliant reds and oranges to meadows and the edges of woodlands. Here, laceleaf staghorn sumac provides some texture as well, with its finely dissected foliage.

Gardeners living in USDA Zone 9 and warmer have the option of growing this new variegated fountain grass. Each leaf blade of 'Fireworks' has a midrib of burgundy surrounded by margins of hot pink.

Alternanthera 'Purple Knight' produces lush foliage that keeps thriving — through heat and humidity — till frost. This tender perennial (hardy only to USDA Zone 10) is grown like an annual in most of the U.S.

The fluffy, fine-textured foliage of amsonia turns to a dreamy multi-toned golden mass in fall. In spring, light blue flowers appear above the foliage.

To complement the russet tones of sedum and other fall tones, RMSer lark created complementary garden art.

This beautiful no-lawn front yard is ablaze with fall color from a variety of shrubs and perennials. Posted by zsz123

Think of composing your front-yard landscape from the standpoint of multi-seasonal interest. Posted by RMS user 66nick