Plants For Your Late Fall Garden

November 13, 2015

Take time to look at the bright side.

The rains have officially returned to the Pacific Northwest, and they’ve brought the overcast days with them. Even though the weather might be a little dreary, I keep reminding myself not to complain; a couple months ago we were experiencing a scorching drought!  If you look around your garden and find yourself mourning summer’s colorful perennials, look at the bright side: we still have beautiful evergreens and (at least some) fall colors on the trees!  If it’s difficult to see the bright side in your garden, here are some beautiful plants that do a great job of adding color to these grey days.


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Obsession Nandina – Photo Credit:

Nandina ‘Seika’ PP21891

Obsession Nandina

Obsession Nandina is a newly developed cultivar from one of our favorite little shrubs, Nandina domestica ‘Gulf Stream.’ Like Gulf Stream, Obsession has bright red new growth that appears in spring, but it holds its color longer, lasting through late fall. Only growing to be about 3’ tall and wide, Obsession stays pretty small for a shrub and has foliage that maintains an upright, structured form. This nandina tolerates moderate shade, but it will have the most color if planted in full sun.



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Camellia sasanqua ‘Kanjiro’ – Photo Credit: Heidi Skievaski

Camellia sasanqua ‘Kanjiro’

Kanjiro Camellia

Not only does Camellia sasanqua ‘Kanjiro’ retain its glossy, dark green leaves all year round, it produces beautiful blooms during the winter months while most of the garden sleeps! The blooms on this camellia are bright pink with distinct yellow stamens, and the contrast they provide with the shrub’s dark foliage really makes them pop in the garden. Growing to be about 10’ tall and wide, this shrub makes a great backdrop for colorful perennials during spring through fall when it is not in bloom.



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Acer palmatum ‘Orangeola’ – Photo Credit: Heidi Skievaski

Acer palmatum ‘Orangeola’

Orangeola Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum ‘Orangeola’ is a small, weeping Japanese maple with colorful, dissected leaves throughout the growing season. This tree’s small, ornamental form makes it a great specimen plant for a garden bed or a container. New spring foliage appears in shades of orange and red, maturing to dark green with hints of burgundy in the summer. This is also when a second wave of red-orange new growth appears, refreshing the tree’s color. In fall, Orangeola’s foliage lights up with even brighter shades of red and orange, as you can see in the above photo that was taken in October. Even though this small tree loses all its leaves before winter, the bare branches are a piece of art by themselves and add an architectural quality to the garden. This plant grows best in an area that is sheltered from winter winds and receives full to partial sun, where it will slowly grow to be 8’ tall and 8’ wide.



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Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ – Photo Credit: G*H Plant List

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’

Morning Light Maiden Grass

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ is an herbaceous ornamental grass with sturdy, upright foliage that billows out at the top, giving it a light and airy, yet structural appearance. It grows best in full to partial sun where this miscanthus gets to be about 5’ tall and 4’ wide. After the previous year’s growth is cut to the ground in February, dark green new growth appears in spring and transitions to light green in summer. This is also when bronze-tinged, silky plumes bloom, making the grass reach about 6’ tall. The plumes’ soft burgundy color helps ‘Morning Light’ complement the rest of the fall foliage that is found throughout the garden. In early winter, the grass goes dormant and becomes a light sandy color.


Hope you find the bright side in your garden!



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