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10 Easy Fall Plants to Add in your Garden (and Why)

Fall brings a great range of plants to bring in the season, from heat tolerant plants to endure a long, hot fall, to cold-lovers that will survive through to spring! Here are ten seasonal favorites.

Croton

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This tropical foliage plant would really do well throughout the warm season, but it is a fantastic addition to fall gardens for its leaves in shades of red, yellow, and orange. It will endure until first frost, but it may want protection if temperatures dip below zero.

Ornamental Peppers

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Many colors and forms are available, but they all scream South Louisiana like few other ornamental plants. Just like the edible sweet and hot peppers we grow for food, these beauties will not slow down as long as temperatures stay mild. Another heat lover that will carry us into the fall feeling, even if temperatures are summertime-hot!

Ornamental Cabbage and Kale

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The first two choices might not survive a harsh winter, but Ornamental cabbage can thrive in heat and cold alike. They are not even fussy about soil or sun. And, since the colorful foliage is the attractive feature of the plant, one need not worry about how to make it bloom! Plant cabbages fall through spring for a long-lasting show.

Edible Greens

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While we are growing cabbages for ornament, why not share some edible greens in the landscape? They can be planted right now and endure until spring, and many varieties of lettuce or chard offer beautiful leaf colors. Nothing will brighten your mood on a cold January morning like a nice bed of healthy greens to bring to the supper table!

Camellia sasanqua

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While the Camellia japonica, with its large, rosy blooms in spring, is more famous, Sasanquas are a smaller species that are essential for the fall landscape. Blooming will commence in Late September or anytime in October, and carry on through Christmas. Many sizes and forms are available, from tree-sized beauties, to the dwarf, sun-loving Shi Shi Gashira. Try a unique variety and become a Camellia collector. All Seasons carries many unusual and hard-to-find ones.

Autumn Sage

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Fall is a great time to see hummingbirds in the back yard. Why not plant some nectar plants to attract more to your yard. The aptly named Autumn Sage always hits a peak bloom in fall, and is a hummingbird favorite. Plants get about 2-3 feet tall and around, and remain evergreen. Good drainage is essential for these Texas Natives.

Snapdragons

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The jewels of the winter garden, Snapdragons can be planted in fall and will continue to perform through early May. Dwarf and tall varieties are available, but the tall ones always bloom the best. Flowering may slow down if temperatures dip below freezing, but the plants survive and resume in spring with another big show. If flowering slows down, cut them back to encourage reblooming.

Petunias

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Gardeners flock to nurseries every spring for flats upon flats of petunias. We should be planting them in fall instead. They rarely survive summer heat, but make it through winter just fine, so why not get the most bang for our buck? Petunias planted in fall will be better-rooted come spring, anyway, so it actually improves their heat tolerance.

Little Henry Sweetspire

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Most of our native trees go more brown than golden in winter, due to mild temperatures, but a proven provider of fantastic fall color is Virginia Willow, or Sweetspire. Little Henry is a dwarf form that stays at about 3 feet. Leaves turn burgundy-purple in fall but persist on the plant nearly all winter, making a ruby gem of color in otherwise green and brown landscapes.

Viola

Violas such as these Sorbet Midnight Glow are great performers for containers, as long as gardeners keep the soil consistently moist. (Photo by MSU Extension/Gary Bachman)

Tired of your pansies rotting, failing to bloom, fading in the heat? Though related, the tiny viola is everything a pansy is not. Though they are not bulletproof, violas bloom better and for longer, are more heat tolerant, and seem to shake off moisture-related illness better than their larger-flowered cousin. Everyone has their seasonal favorites, but ultimately, our favorite plants eventually become the ones that survive!