Perennials Do It Too!

Woodland Sunflower

Woodland Sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus) – I love seeing the green vein skeleton as chlorophyll slowly withdraws from the leaves.

This is the time of year everyone on the eastern part of North America – and anywhere else there’s woods and forests with deciduous trees – goes gaga over fall foliage.  Folks take road trips to the country or the hills wherever they may be to take it all in, and Instagram, blogs and Facebook pages are chock a block with images of gorgeous reds, oranges and yellows.

With all the hullabaloo about the trees and some shrubs (I start drooling when I see some Viburnums in late October)  the changing colours of perennial leaves often go unnoticed.  Maybe this is because, low to the ground, they don’t stand out amongst fallen maple or oak leaves.  Maybe folks are so busy looking out and up at the trees they don’t take the time to look down.  Maybe it’s because a lot of people ‘clean up’ their flower beds – cutting back foliage before it has a chance to display the subtle and oh so temporary slendour that can be just as gasp-worthy as a Staghorn Sumac.  Here are a few examples from my garden.

Solidago

Who could have anticipated Goldenrod (Solidago sp.) leaves would turn such a lovely red… certainly not all of them do; more often than not they just turn brown and wither away but this year quite a few are truly beautiful.  Perhaps it’s a specific variety that is spreading around.

Solomon Seal

Solomon Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) will get even yellower before the leaves finally just fall off, leaving a forest of stalks over winter.

Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida), below left, and Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), below right,  have different shaped flowers and leaves – but both turn a beautiful orange/red, pallida sooner than purpurea.

Sedum spectabile

After the flower heads turn brown and the fleshy leaves dry and fall off, it’s the stalks of Sedum spectabile that turn a glowing rosy pink.

There’s more of course.  Hosta.  Some Geranium.  Siberian Iris.

What are your favourite perennials for fall foliage colour?
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9 thoughts on “Perennials Do It Too!

  1. Sticks of Fire! We do not have many autumn color perennials to choose from, and even sticks of fire will not color until it gets cooler in winter, but it can be pretty cool when it does. We use is something like the redtwig dogwood, although it does not get foliage.
    Your sedum is cool. They get cut down here. I leave mine, but they are not very tall.

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  2. Pingback: WPC: Temporary | Lillie-Put

    • According to the USDA, it’s native all along the eastern half of North America, from Florida to Ontario and Quebec. It spreads via both seed and underground stolen and can be quite aggressive although easy enough to pull where not wanted.

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