Plants for Fall Color

Gardener’s Corner | Questions and Answers with Local Experts 

By Dan Songster, 2012 September

This column is a regular newsletter feature offering chapter members and local experts a chance to briefly share information on many things related to gardening with natives. This Issue’s question was What natives do you grow for fall color?

Christiane Shannon – “Fall color in my garden is only provided by the Epilobiums (California fuchsias, E. californica var. cana and var. ‘Catalina’). They can be a bit invasive but they are easily controlled and more than make up for the trouble by blooming profusely in the fall. The hummingbirds enjoy them greatly at that time of year.”

Ron Vanderhoff – “The shiny green leaves of some of the Berberis species, B. aquifolium, B. pinnata, and B. repens, become accented with a bright scarlet color when the temperatures drop in fall.”

Orchid Black – “I have high expectations for my newly planted (half native) Roger’s Red grapevine to engulf and inflame my trellised cinderblock wall with its brilliant fall colors.”

Dori Ito – “California fuchsia (Epilobium canum) brightens my back yard with brilliant red trumpet flowers in late summer and fall.”

Thea Gavin – “For seasonal leaf color I have several native grape vines climbing on fences and trellises. (Or almost-native—Vitis californica “Roger’s Red” has now been declared a hybrid. I still love its flaming red leaf-change.)

Leon Baginski – “I like California fuchsia for reds but if you want spectacular large yellows, nothing beats Hooker’s evening primrose. It is a bit unpredictable, but usually I can get blooms to continue into August if the plant is in a cooler part of the yard with some shade. It can be a bit invasive, but is pretty easy to control.”

Rama Nayeri –
“My choice is torn between the Cleveland Sage and the Red Monkey Flower. On one hand I love the flowers of the Cleveland Sage combined with the smell.  On the other hand I love how the Red Monkey Flower changes from coral to red.”

Sarah Jayne – “Western Sycamore provides plenty of fall color and as the golden leaves fall, they reveal the intricate pattern of its branches. My small garden is a western sycamore.

Dan Songster – “I love all the buckwheats in the fall as the flowers turn to rust, but over the last couple of years I have been particularly smitten with the Conejo buckwheat (Eriogonum crocatum). The flowers, sitting on the silver leaves, turn from their spring chartreuse to a rich chocolate by September. After all, brown is a color too!”

[A bit unruly for most gardens, Golden Bush adds abundant sparklets of yellow to nature’s fall landscapes. The Ed.]


Post A Comment