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4 Colorful Foliage Plants That Will Brighten Up Your Fall Garden

Four Must-Have Plants for a Vibrant Garden All Year Long

Scenic flower garden with a variety of flowers and shrubs in the daylight.

Summer may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean your garden has to lose its vitality with the changing seasons. With just a little research and strategic planning, your garden can bloom with vibrant colors all year long. If you are looking to give your neighbors a little garden envy this fall, keep reading for a list of perennials and grasses that burst with color - even throughout the chillier months.

Asters and Mums

Asters and mums, both members of the Asteraceae family, are some of the most popular plants to grow during the autumn months to add an extra pop of color. If you’re worried about your lack of a green thumb, have no fear – hardy mums are incredibly easy perennials to grow and keep alive. They come in fabulous fall colors such as yellow, bronze, red, white, orange, burgundy, and pink. They are typically hardy in zones 5-9, meaning Illinois residents are in-luck. Keep in mind that they do require a bit of maintenance, and trimming them a few times during the summer makes for a gorgeous fall display. Make sure you differentiate between hardy and florist mums. Florist mums are annuals, garden and hardy varieties are not.

As for asters, they are usually available in white, pink, and lavender-blue shades, and are hardy in zones 4-8.

Hardiness is defined as a plant’s ability to survive under more difficult conditions. Click here to find out your plant hardiness zone.

Coral Bells

Heuchera, or Coral Bells, are grown at large for their gorgeous fall foliage. Unlike other plant species, Coral Bells start to become more vibrant once temperatures cool down, becoming their best selves during the colder months. They perform in both sun and shade and usually survive best in zones 5-9, but some do well in zone 4 as well. You can expect your Coral Bells to reach around 6-16 inches tall, and 12-36 inches wide, with flower spikes reaching between one and three feet tall.


For flowers that offer vibrant color and bloom well into autumn, look no further than perennial Hibiscus. Colors range in a variety of hues, and some even come in attractive multicolor shades. You can expect these blooms to be around 6-8 inches across, with the plant growing up to 4-5 feet in both height and width. Faring well under high temperatures, these flowers do well in zones 4-9 and prefer to stay in moist soil. For the even colder months, you can overwinter your hibiscus and bring the potted plant inside your home. The best practices are to keep them under bright light and expose them to warm temperatures/direct sunlight.

Ornamental Grasses

An extra touch of fall color can be added by planting native grasses. Not only are they a good source of foliage for late summer and fall, but they also provide a pop of interest during the winter months. Switchgrass thrives in many conditions, making it an ideal addition for those in unpredictable climates, but is best served in soil that isn’t too rich.

To learn more about how to keep your garden vibrant during the fall and winter months, Proven Winners provides incredible resources for those in all stages of their gardening journey. No matter your skill level, turning your garden into a personal paradise is well within reach.


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