These graceful, deciduous shrubs will amaze you with their colorful, long-lasting fall berries. ‘Early Amethyst’ purple beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Early Amethyst’) is one of the finest selections, with lilac-colored berries. A white-berried form of purple beautyberry (C. d. albifructus) is also available. American beautyberry (C. americana) has fruit and foliage that are a bit bolder with bright purple berries and coarser leaves. ‘Lactea’ American beautyberry has white berries. These are all medium- to large-size shrubs and work well when planted en masse. They fit nicely along woodland edges. In the Upper South, plants may freeze to the ground but will come back from the roots and bloom and fruit the following year. Tip: Add a few stems to your fall arrangements for a “wow” display.
In the Upper and Middle South, dig up clumps of daylilies, irises, and daisies. When lifted, some will fall apart easily while others may need to be coaxed. A garden fork is perfect for this task. Plant new divisions at their original growing depth, water well, and mulch. Give extras to friends.
Purple Fall Flowers
There are lots of plants that put on a royal show during the crisp days of autumn. Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha) is one of the best with purple spires that butterflies love. ‘Purple Majesty’ salvia is an elegant sage for any garden. Princess flower (Tibouchina urvilleana) is one of the finest tropicals with purple flowers. You can enjoy its beautiful blooms throughout the season. Asters such as ‘Purple Dome’ and ‘Fanny’ produce multitudes of tiny daisy-like flowers. Use these to create a nice contrast to the yellows and oranges that dominate the season.
‘Neon’ pothos has chartreuse leaves that will cheer up any room. Use a blue pot as a contrast to its leaves, or try a white pot for a softer look. It prefers bright, indirect to low light. Care is simple. Let the soil dry slightly between waterings.
September 22 marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. A new garden season lies ahead, one with cooler weather and fewer bugs. Now is the time to begin setting out fall annuals and vegetables, creating container gardens, buying bulbs, and planting shrubs and trees. This is one of the best times to garden in the South, so be sure to get outside, dig in the dirt, and enjoy the days ahead.