Autumn Colour In Your Garden

The Ontario countryside in the fall is a spectacularly colourful landscape that we all admire and enjoy. Many of us make special trips to view the brilliant colours of Maples and waysides adorned with Goldenrod and Asters. But where is the colour in our own garden?

In planning our gardens, we very logically begin at the beginning. Spring flowering bulbs are followed by the early flowering shrubs such as Flowering Almond, Japanese Cherries and others. We realize that these flower only for a short time and look for other shrubs and trees for continuing colour throughout the summer: Deutzia, Mock Orange, Weigela and of course, Roses.

Soon, our garden space is fully planted and only in September do we realize that we have neglected to include the late flowering shrubs and those with brilliant fall foliage. Burning Bush (Euonymus alatas) is one popular shrub that is widely used but there are many more that can enhance your garden in the fall and extend your season of colour to the fullest.

Sugar Maple


Red Maple




  • Sugar Maple, Acer saccharum – orange and red
  • Red Maple, Acer rubrum – red
  • Other Maples – yellow, orange and red
  • Red Oak, Quercus rubra – red
  • Pin Oak, Q. palustris – red
  • Katsura, Cercidiphylum – orange-red
  • Ash, Fraxinus – mainly yellow
  • Mountain Ash, Sorbus – orange, red, yellow
  • Ginkgo, Ginkgo bilobam – yellow
  • Larch, Larix – yellow
  • Dawn Redwood, Metasequoia – golden


  • Wayfaring Tree, Viburnum lantana – purple/bronze
  • Arrowwood, V. dentatum – orange/red
  • Serviceberry, Amelanchier- yellow/orange
  • Smoketree, Cotinus – orange/red
  • Sumac, Rhus – purple/red
  • Blueberry, Vaccinium – orange
  • Dogwood, Cornus – reds and orange
  • Burning Bush, Euonymus alatas – red
  • Spindle tree, E. europaea – red
  • Amur Maple, Acer ginnala – red
  • Hedge Maple, A. campestris – yellow


Boston Ivy


Virginia Creeper



Boston Ivy and Virginia Creeper (Engelman’s Ivy) are highly colourful in fall. Virginia Creeper bears a heavy crop of black berries. Bittersweet Vine has colourful seed coverings. The threeparted orange husk opens to reveal bright orange and red fruit. Only the female plant bears fruit and must be planted together with a male plant for pollination.


  • Coralberry, Symphoricarpos – purple/pink
  • Snowberry, S. albus – white
  • Cotoneaster, Cotoneaster – red
  • Firethorn, Pyracantha – orange/red
  • Holly, Ilex – red
  • Winterberry, I. verticillata – red
  • Cranberry, Viburnum – red
  • Redleaf Rose, Rosa glauca – red


  • Bluebeard, Caryopteris – blue
  • Butterfly Bush, Buddleia – purple, blue, pink, white
  • PeeGee Hydrangea, Hydrangea – white/pink
  • Witch Hazel, Hamamelis – yellow


  • Sneezewort, Achillea ptarmica – white
  • Yarrow, A. taygetea – yellow
  • Monkshood, Aconitum – blue
  • Japanese Anemone, Anemone japonica – pink/white
  • Mugwort, Artemisia lactiflora – white
  • Italian Aster, Aster amellus – blue, purple
  • New England Aster, A. novae-angliae – purple, pink, white
  • New York Aster, A. novi-belgii – violet (The Feast Day of St. Michael is September 29, and these asters are also called Michaelmas Daisy).
  • Boltonia, B. asteroids – white
  • Carpathian Harebell, Campanula carpatica – blue
  • Chrysanthemum, C. x morifolium – yellow (Garden Chrysanthemums come in a wide variety of colours and shapes).
  • Coreopsis (flowering since June, will still be flowering in Sept.)
  • Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea – purple
  • Globe Thistle, Echinops – blue
  • Gallardia, G. x grandiflora (still flowering since June) – red and yellow
  • Sneezeweed, Helenium autumnale – bronze, yellow
  • Sunflower, Helianthus x multiflorus & H. decapetalus – yellow
  • Heliopsis, Heliopsis – yellow
  • Coralbells, Heuchera (still flowering since May) – red, pink, white
  • Rose Mallow, Hibiscus moscheutos – red, pink, white
  • Hosta Honeybellsí -blue
  • Hosta Royal Standardí (fragrant) – white
  • Lamium, L. maculatum – lilac
  • Gay Feather (Blazing Star), Liatrus spp. – lilac, purple, white
  • Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalis- scarlet
  • Blue Cardinal Fl.,L. siphilitica – blue
  • Catmint, Nepeta spp. – blue
  • Giant Sundrop, Oenothera missourensis – yellow
  • Phlox, Phlox paniculata (flowering since July) – pink, white
  • False Dragonhead (Obedient Plant), Physostegia . – white, pink, purple
  • Balloon Flower, Platycodon – blue, white
  • Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia – yellow
  • Sedum Autumn Joy, Sedum spectabile – pink, mauve
  • Greek Mallow, Sidalcea – pink
  • Goldenrod, Solidago – yellow

The fall flowering Goldenrod above is maligned and ignored by Canadian gardeners, no doubt because it grows wild everywhere and is perhaps considered a weed. In Britain, where it is less common, Goldenrod is highly valued.

The plants listed will let you take advantage of the change of season and keep your garden interesting and colourful until the heavy frosts and first snow of winter.

Cranberry Cotoneaster


Sedum Spectabile


Aster Frikartii



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