10 Gorgeous Plants For A Vibrant Display Of Autumn Colors
As summer draws to a close and the spectacular flowers and colors of the vernal garden begin to fade, there are still plenty of opportunities to capture the unique beauty of the changing seasons. In spring and summer, deciduous plants are teeming with chlorophyll, which gives the foliage its green color. As the days get […]

As summer draws to a close and the spectacular flowers and colors of the vernal garden begin to fade, there are still plenty of opportunities to capture the unique beauty of the changing seasons.

In spring and summer, deciduous plants are teeming with chlorophyll, which gives the foliage its green color. As the days get shorter, less chlorophyll is produced to expose the hidden hues that were present all the time we just couldn't see them.

These pigments include carotenoids (yellows and oranges) and anthocyanins (reds, blues and purples) which reveal themselves when subjected to less bright and cooler temperatures.

The best gardens are those that have interesting colors, textures, and shapes regardless of the time of year. And the fall garden can be a truly impressive demonstration of transition.

Here are some of the best foliage plants that explode in color, providing a dazzling display from late summer to early winter:

1. Sugar maple

Sugar maple

Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) is a shade tree renowned for its spectacular foliage colors.

Beginning with emerald green in spring and summer, the sugar maple leaves slowly fade to lime green, bright yellow, bright orange, and fireman red, ending their cycle in a deep burgundy.

In addition to its beauty, sugar maple is an excellent source of maple syrup.

When the diameter of the tree trunk is more than 10 inches, it can be typed for your own source of sweet stuff.

Native to central and eastern North America, sugar maple is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 8.

Although sugar maple prefers full sun, it can adapt to partial shade. In forests, sugar maple can reach heights of up to 120 feet, but in residential settings it will typically only grow to 70 feet during its 200 year lifespan.

2. Trembling aspen

Trembling aspen

A tall, slender tree, trembling trembling (Populus tremuloides) is so named because of its habit of shivering and shaking in the breeze.

Growing up to 80 feet when mature, trembling aspen is notable for its smooth, silvery trunk topped by a canopy of rounded, slightly serrated leaves that start out lime green and turn golden yellow in fall.

Hardy in zones 1 through 7, the natural range of trembling aspen stretches from Alaska to the mountains of central Mexico.

It is also fast growing, increasing its height by 24 inches each year. Plant the aspen in full or part in the sun in an area with acidic, loamy soil.

3. Stag's horn sumac

Deer horn sumac

Sumac (Rhus spp.) is a type of small tree or shrub found in temperate regions around the world.

In North America, there are several native sumac species that provide seasonal interest throughout the year.

Notable for its bright, eye-catching foliage in fall, sumac also produces large floral spikes in spring that ripen into colorful clusters of drupes that persist into winter.

These berries like fruits are also a good source of food for local wildlife.

Staghorn sumac (R. typhina) has a fern-like appearance, with feathery leaves arranged pinnately along the stem.

Named for its forked branches that have a velvety, wood-like texture, the foliage of staghorn sumac takes on attractive fall colors, ranging from bright red to orange to burgundy.

Staghorn sumac is hardy in zones 4 through 8.

Other good varieties of fall foliage sumac include fragrant sumac (R. aromatica), smooth sumac (R. glabra), prairie sumac (R. lanceolata), and shiny sumac (R. copallinum).

4. Burning bush

burning bush

When you need a shock of red in your fall landscape, a burning bush (Euonymus atropurpureus) will certainly fit.

Also known as the eastern wahoo, the burning bush is part of the bittersweet family and is native to the Midwest, located as far south as Florida and Texas.

An erect shrub that can reach heights of 20 feet and 25 feet wide, it produces a clump of branches at its base that extend outward to form an irregular crown of elliptical leaves.

Green in the spring and summer, the fiery bush turns a dramatic scarlet red in the fall with hanging fruit clusters - poisonous to us but highly regarded by wild birds.

Requiring full sun to partial shade, the burning bush is hardy in zones 3 through 7.

5. American smoke tree

American smoke tree

American Smoke Tree (Cotinus obovatus) is so named for its floral clusters which, when passed in the middle of summer, turn into fluffy, puffy hairs that appear as puffs of pinkish smoke on its crown.

Often regarded as one of the best native trees for a brilliant fall color, the American Smoke Tree ranges from blue-green leaves to an array of fall hues, including yellow, red, orange and purple.

Reaching a size of 20 to 30 feet tall and wide, the American smoke tree requires full sun and moderate humidity.

It adapts well to many types of soils, but prefers loamy, well-drained and somewhat infertile soils.

Although the natural range of the American smoke tree is the southern United States, it is hardy in the cooler climates of zones 4 through 8.

6. Virginia creeper

Virginia creeper

When you like the look of an ivy-covered facade, Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is a great choice.

Virginia creeper is a fast and vigorous woody vine, with palmate compound leaves made up of 5 serrated leaflets, each about six inches long.

In spring, the leaves are lime green and slowly turn to hunter green in summer, ending in fall with dazzling shades of scarlet and magenta.

It also bears tiny blue-black berries, another valuable food source for birds during the winter.

While Virginia creeper is really easy going - it will grow in virtually any sun condition and soil type - it should be planted in a place where it has room to grow.

Virginia creeper helps keep buildings cooler in the summer by providing some shade on the wall surface.

It attaches to masonry and other vertical surfaces with small suction cup discs, so it won't damage your masonry like other vines that cling to penetrating roots.

Nonetheless, you'll want to trim it annually and keep it away from wiring, shutters, and gutters.

This clinger is native to central and eastern North America and is hardy in zones 3 through 9.

seven. American Beautyberry

American beautyberry

While the fall garden should celebrate the incredible color show of the season, be sure to leave room in your garden beds for interesting shapes and textures.

The American Beauty Berry is an example where its foliage is quite ordinary, but is valued for its large clusters of purple drupes that persist throughout the winter.

The berries are edible, but are quite astringent and should only be eaten in small amounts. They can be used to make jellies and wines, or leave them on the branch to forage for animals.

Providing a nice contrast for your foliage plants, Beauty Berry grows like a loose shrub, measuring only 3 to 6 feet in height and width.

It bears fruit most profusely in full sun and when several are planted together.

American beautyberry is hardy in zones 6 to 10.

8. Blue Star Amsonia

Amsonia blue star

Found growing in the wilderness of the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas, Blue Star Amsonia (Amsonia hubrichtii) is an erect, mountainous plant that produces clusters of ghostly blue star-shaped flowers in spring.

Its soft, airy, needle-shaped foliage is bright green throughout the summer, but turns a flashy golden yellow to burnt orange in fall.

The feathery, bushy growth habit, reaching 3 feet tall, makes a wonderful contrast when planted along walkways or as a backdrop for fall flowers like fall crocus and mums.

The blue star amsonia has a very laid back character, just plant it in full sun in zones 5 to 8.

9. Change the grass

Panicum virgatum

Change the grass (Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah') is a warm-season perennial grass found throughout much of North America east of the Rocky Mountains.

An important plant in the tallgrass prairie ecosystem, switchgrass is also quite ornamental, adding both texture and color to the garden.

Growing in tufts 3 feet tall, its stiff leaves remain upright throughout the season.

The foliage begins as a bluish green with red highlights in the summer, turning into shades of purple, burgundy and wine in the fall. When in bloom, it bears reddish-pink floral panicles that appear to hover above the leaves like a cloud.

Grow the replacement sod in full sun to partial shade, in zones 5 through 9.

ten. Virginie sweetspire

Virginia sweetspirere

Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica 'Henry's Garnet') is a flowering shrub native to the southern United States.

Its rounded habit, wider than it is tall, is made up of numerous arching stems dotted with simple oval leaves.

In May, it explodes in bloom - small, fragrant white flowers in drooping clusters cover the entire plant.

In the fall, Virginia sweetspire slowly fades from green to gold, to orange and finally to a rich crimson red. The specific cultivar, 'Henry's Garnet' has the best candy fall color.

Grown in zones 5 through 9, Virginia sweetspire prefers full sun but adapts to shade.

Plant it in a well-drained but naturally humid place, near streams or low areas.


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There are many high-quality, free guidelines available for healthy eating orgie that give more details on portion size, total calorie consumption, what to eat more of, and what to eat less of to get saine and stay that way.

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