Refresh garden borders with these stunning easy-care blooms
Lauren Dunec Hoang
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Fall planting strategy
When summer flower beds begin looking tired, refresh borders with late-season blooms for a stunning fall flower display. Perennials planted in fall will grow strong root systems in the cooler, wetter months ahead and be ready to really take off next spring. We’ve selected eight of our favorites, picked for their low-water needs and easy-care growing habits. The delicious berry and gold-toned color palette will work just as well in fall as it will when the plants re-bloom in the garden next spring.
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Digiplexis ‘Illumination Flame’
This exciting cross between common foxglove (Digitalis) and shrubby Isoplexis, a native of the Canary Islands, brings a plant that takes the best qualities of each parent. Dramatic bloom spikes reach up to 36” high and bloom continuously from June to October. Plant in full sun in costal areas to part shade in inland. Moderate to low water needs.
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Rudbeckia ‘Prairie Sun’
The most cheerful blooms imaginable top this hardworking perennial. Plants grow in clumps 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide and produce tough, slightly scratchy deep green leaves. The sunny blossoms make great cut flowers and frequent harvest encourages re-blooming from summer until the first frost. Low to moderate water needs.
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Echinacea ‘PowWow Wild Berry’ (Coneflower)
A late summer favorite for color, Echinacea (a.k.a. coneflowers) form dozens of daisy-like blooms with spiny orange centers. ‘PowWow Wild Berry’ has particularly deep raspberry colored petals and re-blooms abundantly through late fall. Plants reach 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide and thrive planted in full sun with low to moderate water.
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Salvia ‘Sierra de San Antonio’
The slender stems of this sage are flecked with pale yellow and pink flowers that are adored by hummingbirds and butterflies. Plant in full sun and prune before new growth appears in spring. The blooms make a nice addition to garden borders and in mixed containers. Plants reach 2 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. Moderate to low water needs.
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Echinacea ‘Aloha’ (Coneflower)
Butter-yellow petals set these Echinacea (coneflowers) apart from other varieties. The daisy-like blooms open yellow and then age to pale cream on long stems reaching 32 inches high. Plants thrive planted in full sun with moderate water. Once established, these tough perennials can get by on little water.
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Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’
The blooms of this low-water succulent provide rich late-season color. Flower spikes form above fleshy, grey-green leaves and blossoms change color from dusty pink to deep copper in fall. Grows 1 to 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide in full sun or part shade. Grows well in containers.
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Achillea ‘Moonshine’ (Yarrow)
Blankets of yellow flowers top this easy-care perennial from spring to fall. The flat flower heads form a landing platform for bees and butterflies to collect pollen. ‘Moonshine’ reaches 2 feet tall and wide with flowers held above finely divided grey leaves. Low water once established.
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Salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’
This bushy perennial grows about 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide and thrives planted in full sun. Place it at the back of the border where the 6 inch long flower spikes with tubular blooms can arch above lower bedding plants. Moderate water needs.