As the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler the season of fall color begins. When a client asks for plants for a dramatic fall color display I often turn to plants native to North Carolina and other parts of the South East. There are many plants native to this area that offer superb fall color in addition to their wildlife benefits.
Nyssa sylvatica – Black Gum
A mid sized to large shade tree, Black Gums have spectacular orange red fall color. They also produce a deep blue fruit which is a great source of nutrition for birds. Consider using a Black Gum where you would use an Oak of a Maple.
Itea virginica – Virginia Sweetspire
Virginia Sweetspire is a mid sized summer blooming shrub with scarlet fall color. A great nectar source for birds and butterflies this plant grows in sun and partial shade and will tolerate wet soil. Virginia Sweetspire is a great alternative to the Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus) which can be overused and invasive.
Trees and shrubs aren’t the only plants that can shine in the fall – Amsonia hubrectii is a perennial native to the Southern US which produces long lasting bright yellow foliage each fall. Consider using Amsonia in place of other fine textured perennials or grasses.
When designing a planting for optimal fall color display, think about including an evergreen backdrop. One evergreen native plant is the Carolina Laurel, which has a broad glossy leaf perfect to show off the hot colors of fall. Carolina Laurel is a great alternative to the similarly sized English Laurels or Skip Laurels.
Native plants with fantastic fall color make a great addition to any garden. Need help designing a fall color display for your property? Contact Bright Leaf Landscaping at 919-475-1015 or fill out our online contact form. Design and installation are our expertise, and we are always happy to meet with new clients to discuss potential projects!