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.
By William C. Welch
Make your garden come alive with plants that attract these elegant winged creatures. Start with a favorite such as butterfly bush with beautiful flowers that both you and the butterflies will enjoy. Try a firebush (Hamelia patens). Although it is native to South Florida, firebush does well in North Florida also, returning each spring after winter freezes to a height of about 5 feet with an almost equal spread. Butterflies also love pentas, peregrinas (Jatropha integerrima), zinnias, cosmos, Cape plumbagos, verbenas, and hibiscus. Add dill, parsley, fennel, citrus, and milkweed (Asclepias sp.) as host plants for butterfly larvae to feed on. Create a place for butterflies to obtain moisture and minerals by sinking a shallow pan in the soil, filling it with coarse sand, and keeping it moist with a soaker hose or drip emitter. Finally, put a flat stone in a spot where they can bask in the sunshine when not visiting your flowers.
• Lawns―If you didn’t feed your grass in August, do it now. For centipede lawns, use a low-nitrogen fertilizer such as Pennington Lawn Winterizer 5-5-25. For St. Augustine and other grasses, use a no-phosphorus fertilizer such as Lesco Professional Turf Fertilizer 15-0-15 or Scotts Lawn Pro Fall Lawn Fertilizer 24-0-10.
North and Central
Central and South
By William C. Welch
Garden mums, asters, and fleabanes can combine to make a striking fall display. Garden mums, such as ‘Ryan’s Pink’, may be selected now and will have time to develop prior to blooming in mid- to late-fall. Garden mums are hardier than florist types and often become perennials in our gardens. Their flowers range in size from small buttons to daisy-like or semidouble blooms. Blooms come in white to yellow, orange, purple, red, and pink. They mix well with autumn asters, which have blue to blue-violet flowers with bright yellow centers. The petals of yellow mums will complement the centers of the asters and fleabanes. Border these plantings with Mexican daisies, which has small, airy 1- to 2-inch diameter flowers in pinkish-white with a yellow eye.
Central, West and South
North and East
Central, East, and South