A few days ago as I was pulling into the driveway at home I couldn’t help but notice some of the spectacular colors of fall. Sure we’ve all seen the wonderful displays of color on the hillsides as we travel, but today I want to share with you a few plants that I think are noteworthy if you’d like to add some fall color to your landscape. And they are all just as nice during the growing season, just different colors.
Let’s start with Heuchera (Coral Bells), Caramelle.
Heuchera, common name Coral Bells are great plants for the landscape because they are perennial which means the come back every year, but they need very little maintenance. I don’t even cut mine back in the fall, I’ve found that just by leaving them as is they look good all winter, then come spring the new growth emerges and completely engulfs the old growth and the plants look fantastic.
The fall color of ‘Caramel’ Coral Bells is really special. The good news is that the color is nice year found. Spring and summer the color is more orange and less purple.
Next up we have Goshiski Shidare Japanese maple.
This is in the family of Laceleaf Weeping Japanese maples but this one has variegated leafs that look pink in the early spring. The fall color is very striking.
Even with all of this fall color you can still see the variegation in this beautiful tree. The similar brilliant orange tree in the background is a ‘Waterfall Japanese maple. Check it out below.
Waterfall Japanese maple, fall color.
Is that not a spectacular fall color? During the growing season this tree is light green. Let me see if I can find a photo. Here we go.
In less than two weeks along came the snow and transformed my beautiful orange tree into this.
Lion’s Head Japanese Maple.
Lion’s Head Japanese maple is a very interesting tree during the growing season because it’s leaves are dark green, quite small and slightly curled. In the fall they turn to a burnt orange then almost red. This tree has been in our landscape for eight years and still it’s only about 30″ tall and 30″ wide. Truly one of my favorite plants. Tough as nails come winter!
Sango Kaku ‘Coral Bark’ Japanese maple.
Also called ‘Coral Bark’ Japanese maple because of its striking coral or red colored branches that really stand out in a snow covered landscape.
We can’t have a conversation about plants with spectacular fall color without mentioning and showing off a few Burning Bush. Some folks will tell you that Burning Bush is an invasive species and most of the time they are wrong. There are two kinds of Burning Bush. Eunoymus Alatus Compacta which I’ve shown here, also known as Dwarf Burning Bush, even though they can get quite high.
Then there is the old standard Burning Bush, Euonymus Alatus, which has a much more pronounced wing on the bark which actually makes it quite interesting during the winter when the leaves are off. However, this “old fashioned” Burning Bush is on the invasive species list in some states. Some people tell me that the compact variety is as well. I don’t know nor do I understand why.
Guess where I’ve been for the past forty years? On my hands and knees crawling around in the dirt. I’ve mulched under and around thousands of Burning Bush and in all that time I’ve found maybe three that came up as chance seedlings. I wish I could say that for maple trees. My neighbor at the old house, he had a hedge of “old fashioned” Burning Bush around his entire backyard. Was his yard over grown with Burning Bush seedlings? Not at all. I never saw any and he never ever mentioned to me that they were a problem.
So in some places they might be, but here in northern Ohio I just don’t believe it.
I had somebody tell me one time that up in New England at one of the colleges Euonymus Alatus completely took over one of the flower gardens. My first thought?, Was anybody in charge of weeding the flower gardens? Burning bush is a pretty slow grower, it’s not going to take over anything very fast.
So obviously I am not buying into that theory.
Next we have Green Cascade Japanese maple.
Green Cascade is beautiful in the fall and an interesting lighter shade of green during the growing season. Leaf color is a lot like ‘Waterfall’, but the leaf texture is different and the branching habit is very much different. An interesting plant because you won’t see many of them around.
Last but certainly not least.
Orido Nishiki Japanese maple.
This plant is awesome in the fall. I’ll let the photos tell the story.
That my friend is spectacular!