Some Little-Known Plants for Fall Gardens

taba(z5b MO)January 1, 2013

Thanks to ChrisMD on the MidAtlantic Gardening forum for saving this great thread mentioning a range of lesser-known plants for fall color.

* Posted by david_5311 Z 5b/6a SE Mich on Fri, Sep 13, 02 at 8:39

I love fall in the garden, the asters, grasses, goldenrods, boltonias, anemones...all at peak. But along with all these common fall plants there are a couple of treasures, "unsung heroes" that more people should grow.

The first is Caryopteris divaricata. Though related to the common shrubby caryopteris, this is a true herbaceous plant. It looks like a large salvia, maing a 4' mass of foliage all season which stands up straight and holds its place in the garden. Then in the fall, it makes a cloud of these way-cool orchid like flowers. The boss of stamens at the top makes an arch over the flowers, which are much showier than the standard shrubby caryopteris, at least individually. The plant needs to be planted where you can enjoy the flowers up close.

The second plant I just love and rarely see is Chelone lyonii 'Hot Lips'. The turtleheads are all wonderful garden plants, they possess a great quiet beauty and toughness. I also grow C. obliqua which is very nice. But 'Hot lips' has such great foliage, almost a blackish green. Even in this hot dry year, the plant has the presence of a fine shrub throughout the garden season with its pristine dark foliage. And it has been blooming for weeks now.

So do you have an "unsung hero" for the fall garden?

* Posted by: tewk21 z6 NJ on Fri, Sep 13, 02 at 9:21

At this time of year I really relish my cimifuga stand. I have a couple of varieties in a bunch and the profusion of bottlebrushes above the dense black green foliage is striking.

* Posted by: gardenbug Canada zone 5 on Fri, Sep 13, 02 at 9:52

I am enjoying cimicifugas, anemones (white, pink and bright pink), keringeshoma palmata, many grasses, ferns, cyclamen, "naked ladies" also known as colchicums, gaura in pink and white, pink turtlehead, hydrangea Kiushu and that wonderful dark purple ironweed (vernonia). The berries on the Jack in the Pulpits are amazing this year. I am not happy with my weeping caryopteris and need to check out yours David. I wonder if it is hardy up here in USDA 4? Do you have a picture?

* Posted by: Marieluise Zone 4-4b on Fri, Sep 13, 02 at 10:27

I have both Caryopteris Longwood Blue and one other (can't think of name now but has lime green leaves) and they are both blooming. The best ever this year. My Russian Sage has been going strong and so have my two butterfly bushes.

My Kirengsoma unforunately although it has lots of blooms, they are turning brown and falling off. The drought I guess and we did not water very much this year. Pink turtlehead, guara, plumbago and the cone flowers. Plus Chocolate Boneset has flower heads and my Sweet Autumn Clematis might bloom before Christmas!

* Posted by: NancyD 5/6 Rochester, NY on Fri, Sep 13, 02 at 10:49

Thanks for sharing. I'm always looking for...

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