Home Tip Tuesday: Top Flowers for Fall Color in the Garden

Chrysanthemums or Mums are a classic fall annual.

Trees and shrubs ablaze with autumn color are a striking site, but they're only part of what makes the fall landscape beautiful. During each season, layering plants of various heights and sizes is one of the tricks that can bump a pretty enough yard into a pretty spectacular one. When there are plants at different heights, there's always something beautiful for the eye to land on. If you've already planted your trees and shrubs for fall color then include some perennials and annuals that hit their peak of color slightly before or after taller plants to assure your landscape is rich with autumn hues all season long.

Chrysanthemum: Zones 4 - 10
Mums are a classic fall annual that never disappoint. With so many shades of orange, red, rust, gold, purple, green and brown it may be difficult to choose. Find varieties from 1- 3-feet high with diminutive or big bold blossoms. Though not too fussy about soil or light, chrysanthemums do require deadheading several times during the blooming season which can last late into autumn. They can survive almost anywhere, but thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. Mums are typically planted as annuals, but can be transplanted into pots and overwintered indoors if desired.

Helenium: Zones 3 - 9
Helenium or Sneezeweed produces daisy-like flowers at the end of summer and long into fall. Their brilliant colors of red, yellow and gold are perfect for lighting up a dark spot in the perennial garden. Some varieties of Heleium can reach 5-feet tall and require staking. When planted in a clump, these taller cultivars provide the perfect visual intermediary between short flowers and tall shrubs. Helenium is an easy maintenance plant that prefers full sun, average soil and not much else. They do reproduce quickly and need to be divided every 2 or 3 years.

Salvia: Zones 5 - 10
It comes in many colors and sizes, but do consider planting purple salvia as a backdrop to highlight flowers with more classic autumnal hues. Imagine the beauty of deep reds, golds and oranges against the tall purple spikes of a heavy blooming salvia plant. Salvias are drought-, pest- and deer-resistant and can be grown as perennials in many areas with enough mulch to keep roots from freezing. Plant in full to partial sun and water regularly until well established.

Goldenrod: Zones 3 - 10
If you've ever seen a field of wild Goldenrod in the autumn you know what this showy plant can do for your fall garden. Big floppy spikes of gold are great for filling in empty spaces or naturalizing in areas where other plants won't grow. Once established, Goldenrod requires little or no care except a bit of water during the hottest weather and occasional dividing. Varieties reach 2 to 5 feet. 

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