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Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm' withstands the elements right into fall
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Lise Servant)
Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm'

Here are some suggestions for herbaceous perennials you can include in your garden, to enjoy their spectacular fall foliage.

Latin name (common name) Colours
Aquilegia canadensis (Canada columbine) Dark purple
Bergenia (Bergenia) Bronze
Epimedium (Epimedium) Bronze, yellow, red
Geranium dalmaticum (Dalmatian cranesbill) Bright red
Iris sibirica (Siberian iris) Yellow
Physalis alkekengi (Chinese lantern) Yellow
Platycodon (Balloon flower) Striking translucent yellow
Polygonum affine (Knotweed) Red
Sedum kamschaticum (Stonecrop) Orange-red
Sempervivum (Hens and chicks) Purplish to red

Perennials to plant with conifers

While trees and shrubs don their fall colours, conifers stay green all year round, although some of them take on purplish hues in colder weather – some cyprus (Chamaecyparis thyoides 'Heather Burn', for example) and junipers (Juniperus horizontalis 'Wiltonii' and Juniperus horizontalis 'Plumosa').

These conifers make a good contrasting backdrop for plants with grey, silver or pale yellowish-green foliage that persists until the fall.

Latin name (common name) Colours
Artemisia stellariana (Dusty Miller) Silvery green foliage
Aurinia saxatilis (Basket of gold) Grey foliage
Cerastium tomentosum (Snow in summer) Silver foliage
Veronica incana (Silver speedwell) Grey foliage    


No garden would be complete without a few flowers that can withstand the elements right into fall. Here are a few essentials:

Latin name (common name) Colours
Aconitum carmichaelli (Monkshood) Amethyst flowers
Anemone japonica (Japanese anemone) White to pink flowers, depending on the variety
Aster spp. and cultivars (Aster) Pink, red, pale blue or purplish-blue flowers, depending on the variety
Chrysanthemum weyrichii Pink daisy-like flowerheads with yellow disks
Colchicum automnale (Autumn crocus) Lilac flowers
Elsholtzia stauntonii (Mint shrub) Purplish-pink flowers
Gentiana sino-ornata (Autumn gentian) Bright blue flowers with dark blue and greenish-yellow stripes
Hylotelephium 'Autumn Joy' (Stonecrop) Dark salmon-pink flowers
Physostegia virginiana (Obedient plant) Pink or mauve flowers
Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm' (Black-eyed Susan) Yellow flowers with brown to black cones


Based on an article by René Giguère and Robert Mineau in Quatre-Temps magazine, Vol. 23, No.1.

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