6 Perennials with Beautiful Fall Foliage

Celebrate the fall season with perennials that develop stunning fall foliage at season's end.


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Hosta
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Hosta

    Though we tend to think of hostas for adding easy color to shade gardens in spring and summer, they can also play a starring roll in fall. Many selections show lovely shades of gold and buff before frost and can be great companions for other fall-interest shade plants.

    Name: Hosta selections

    Growing Conditions: Part to full shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 feet tall or more, depending on variety

    Zones: 3-8

    Native to North America: No

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Bloody Geranium

    Don't let the plant's gory-sounding name scare you; it earned its moniker from the glowing red colors the foliage develops in autumn. It's pretty in spring and summer, too, when it offers pink, purple, or white flowers.

    Name: Geranium sanguineum

    Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 1 foot tall

    Zones: 4-8

    Native to North America: No

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Ferns

    A number of different ferns turn shades of red, orange, gold, and tan in fall. Their lacy texture is a great contrast to bolder shrubs and trees with bright autumn shades. Some of the best selections for fall include sensitive fern, ostrich fern, and royal fern.

    Name: Depends on selection

    Growing Conditions: Shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 feet tall, depending on variety

    Zones: 2-10, depending on variety

    Native to North America: Depends on variety

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Switchgrass

    One of our favorite grasses, switchgrass puts on a fine fall show. For outstanding red fall color look for selections such as 'Shenandoah' and 'Rotstrahlbusch'. Others, such as 'Heavy Metal' are great for adding a touch of gold to the autumn landscape.

    Name: Panicum virgatum

    Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 feet or more

    Zones: 5-9

    Native to North America: Yes

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Bluestar

    Bluestar is a tough perennial that offers lots of lots of benefits: It has attractive blue flowers, golden fall foliage, is drought tolerant, and is avoided by hungry critters. Let it light up your landscape in autumn.

    Name: Amsonia tabernaemontana

    Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and well-drained soil

    Size: To 2 feet tall

    Zones: 3-9

    Native to North America: Yes

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Peony

    In years with good growing conditions, peonies can offer wonderful, glowing shades of color to the garden. However, they're not the most reliable plants for a fall display; many varieties suffer from leaf spot and may need to be cut down at summer's end.

    Name: Paeonia selections

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 feet tall

    Zones: 3-8

    Native to North America: No

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