Fall planting guide

From dramatic seasonal containers to gorgeous autumn grasses, here's everything you need to plant this season

Top plants for your fall garden

Our picks for the very best bulbs, greens, trees, and more to set out now for a vibrant garden come spring

Fall-color trees
Photo by Thomas J. Story

Fall-color trees

Of all the deciduous trees out there, we’re especially smitten with those whose leaves turn vivid fall hues, from rich red and gold to fiery orange and deep burgundy. At nurseries in early autumn, you can see them sporting their true fall colors before you buy. Our picks range from a dwarf container-size tree (Japanese maple) to a whopper that needs space to show it off best (ginkgo).

Japanese maple. Choices include ‘Shaina’ (5 ft. tall; red foliage) and ‘Sango Kaku’ (25 ft. tall; yellow leaves).

Gingko. Fan-shaped leaves of this shapely tree (to 35 ft. tall or more) turn brilliant buttery yellow.

Chinese pistache (pictured). A good patio tree; 30 to 60 ft. tall, with luminous leaflets of orange and yellow to scarlet in fall.

Redbud. Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ grows 25 to 35 ft. tall; autumn leaves are yellow to red.

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