Short days and crisp nights transform leadplant (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, Zones 6-9) into a scarlet canvas that echoes the fiery autumn landscape above it. This groundcover's startling blue flowers sparkle above its blushing leaves.
Purple-leaf smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria, Zones 5-8) is well-known for clouds of long-lasting frothy flower plumes, but it also shines for its fall foliage. Variety 'Velvet Cloak' has purple-pink blooms and deep red fall color. 'Royal Purple' starts with red spring foliage that turns purple by summer, then transforms into a magnificent display of red, orange, and yellow in autumn. Dwarf Fothergilla gardenii 'Mount Airy' (Zones 5-9) is another fall foliage superstar. The foliage turns apricot, crimson, and gold.
For jewellike fall blooms, plant clusters of Colchicum bulbs, also known as autumn crocus, among shrubs. Colchicum flowers appear like magic in early to midautumn, long after their spring foliage has gone dormant. Flowers range from pure white to pink, blue, and rosy purple, depending on the variety, and are larger than spring-blooming crocus. Colchicum autumnale 'Alboplenum' has plush white blooms that resemble water lilies, and Colchicum 'The Giant' features 10- to 12-inch- tall violet flowers.
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