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We've had a lot of queries this fall as to when is the ideal time to plant varied items as well as which plants go best together. Note that anything we have out for sale now is appropriate to plant at this time of year - we are careful to grow and sell with the season in mind to ensure planting success. Managers Sara and Betsy put together some of their favorite perennials and shrubs for fall color and texture as a guide for those of you looking for inspiration!

1. Sunny Pollinator Garden Design by Betsy

All of the above items in the design are detailed below (note that most of these are still potted, so you are not seeing them at their mature size and spacing).


'Ruby Falls' Redbud

Beautifully weeping and has great purple tones that make it unique this time of year. Its lavender-pink blooms in the early spring are show stopping too.

Photo courtesy

Eastern Ninebark

The 'Red Baron' Ninebark would have looked lovely with the Ruby Falls, but I chose the straight species because ours are already densely branched. The cardinals and song sparrows were all over mine this year, using the good cover as a lookout spot before returning to their nests.

Photo courtesy Carolina Nature

'Lewis' Mock Orange - (Currently out of stock but in photo due to prior planting)

Photo courtesy Oregon State University


Willowleaf Sunflower 'Autumn Gold'

Love this one so much! Loaded with blooms and buds, and Fall is its time! It's perfect paired with the Agastache.

Photo courtesy

'Blue Fortune' Agastache

We planted a large patch of it last fall, and it's been blooming like this ever since the spring! Not a native, but a huge draw for all kinds of pollinators. The honey bees were the most active this morning, but I've had plenty of swallowtails, skippers, bumblebees and even hummingbird moths on mine at home.

Photo courtesy Walters Gardens.

Autumn Sage 'Arctic Blaze Purple'

This one is a tender perennial - meaning if we have a harsh winter, it might not come back.

I had a 50% survival rate with mine last year. This is a great one for color and texture that's loved by hummingbirds.

Northern Sea Oats Grass

What's not to love about this one! Beautiful nodding seed heads, and it can get some nice fall color on it too. Outstanding for erosion control if that's a concern. It does reseed relatively vigorously, so don't plant if you don't want it to spread and/or aren't wanting to weed out the seedlings.

Fountain Grass 'Cayenne'

I love the texture on this one and how the purple undertones play against the Agastache. This one isn't self fertile so it shouldn't take more space than you give it.

Photo courtesy Emerald Coast Growers

Appalachian Mountain Mint

Mountain Mint is probably one of my favorite things, and the pollinator activity in my garden is off the charts thanks to this stuff. I picked the Appalachian variety for the front of this particular grouping because it is a little lower to the ground and doesn't spread as quickly as the other varieties. It also has a gorgeous bloom and smells amazing.

Photo courtesy American Beauties Natives

Coreopsis 'Golden Stardust' & 'Uptick Red'

These are both perfect for sun and dry soil. They're some of my favorites for fall flowers even though they bloom all summer too. They work really well in beds with other tall yellows like the sunflowers and goldenrods to play off of purples and greens.

2. Perennials for Shade/Part-Shade Gardens or Pots by Sara

These plants were chosen to add bright colors to a shady garden and can even be used in a combo pot for fall season!

All of the above items in the design are detailed below (note that these are still potted, so you are not seeing them at their mature size and spacing).

'Brigadoon' St. Johns Wort

Bright chartreuse green, yellow, orange foliage brightens a shady spot, sprawling habit is perfect along borders or overhanging the edges of combo pots.

'Obsidian' Heuchera

Heuchera comes in many different leaf colors for a diverse amount of options; this deep purple allows bright accent colors to pop, while the clumping habit fills in gaps. It will act as the "filler" in a combo planter.

'Samurai' Toad Lily

A favorite shade-loving, fall blooming perennial due to the uniquely shaped, jewel toned blooms.

'All Gold' Japanese Forest Grass

A shade-loving, clumping grass with chartreuse colors that really pops!

Photo courtesy

Autumn Fern

Copper colored fronds add both color and texture. The upright habit could act as a "thriller" in a fall combination planter.

'Dodd's Variegated' Doghobble

Mounding evergreen with arching stems and variegated leaves, especially noticeable on new growth with hints of coral, white and light green. White blooms in early spring hang from the stems like chains.

Photo courtesy

'Valley Valentine' Pieris/Japanese Andromeda

An upright, evergreen shrub for the back of a garden reaching up to 5-7' at maturity, similar blooms to Doghobble, but pink/red in color.

Photo courtesy Oregon State University

3. Sun-loving Native Shrubs by Sara

Many customers are taking advantage of this time of year to plant trees and shrubs in their gardens. Shrubs are the foundation and "bones" of the garden, so if you're planning a new bed, it's important to focus on shrubs first and fill in your design with perennials after. We often hear from customers: "I have a blank slate in a mostly sunny location, and I'd like to fill it with high-impact native shrubs that are low maintenance." Here is a list of some favorites available this fall season with notes on their adaptability to different growing conditions.

All of the above items in the design are detailed below (note that these are still potted, so you are not seeing them at their mature size and spacing).

American Witchhazel

This large shrub/small tree is worth the space it can take up! Yellow fall foliage and yellow blooms in October/December provide a beautiful display and fragrance. Full sun/part shade. Can also act as a specimen in a winter garden or along a woodland edge.

Photo courtesy

'Red Baron' Ninebark

Burgundy leaves add interest, white blooms in May-July attract bees and butterflies, nutlets (fruit) provide food for birds. An easy to manage shrub in any landscape, can be cut back in winter to keep a tidy appearance from year to year or let it grow into a dense shrub to allow habitat for birds. Full sun, but can appreciate part shade in the hotter southeast.

'Winter Red' Winterberry

Provides a bounty of red berries for birds, stunning in winter after this deciduous holly loses its leaves. Full sun/part-shade, works great in low lying or wet areas. Will need a male Winterberry partner ('Southern Gentleman') in order to produce berries.

Photo courtesy

'Troja Black' Georgia Bush Honeysuckle

New growth emerges dark burgundy for a contrast of foliage colors. Yellow blooms are similar in appearance to honeysuckle, while also fragrant, nectar rich and enjoyed by bees and butterflies during the long bloom period in summer. Songbirds enjoy fruit in fall! Full sun/part shade, drought tolerant.

Photo courtesy

'Sunburst' St Johns Wort

Dense mounding shrub with blue-green foliage. "Puffy" yellow summertime blooms attract bees and butterflies. Full sun, drought tolerant.

'Lady in Black' Calico Aster

'Calico' due to the variation of colors as blooms mature. This perennial is always "buzzing" with native bees this time of year!

Little Bluestem Grass

Larval host plant to various butterflies and moths, excellent food for birds in fall and winter, plus stripes of blue, purples, reds in the fall make this plant highly ornamental, too!

Photo courtesy Hoffman Nursery

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