15 Must have perennials and grasses for fall

While we all seem to focus on how our gardens look in spring and summer, the fall is a great time to enjoy your outdoor living space as well. Summer heat has dwindled, and oftentimes plants rebound nicely with increased moisture and lower temperatures. While the fall season can be short, there are some fantastic perennials that really look their best once the heat of summer has dissipated. Having an assortment of some of the plants below will help ensure you have a beautiful, fresh outdoor area until frost comes to your region.

Ornamental grasses provide year round interest, but they often look best in the fall. Many varieties show peak colour in the fall, and some even show beautiful seed heads. A few that I really like for seed heads are Karl Foerster and Overdam Reed grasses; they are incredibly diverse and can be added to any landscape throughout western Canada. For hot areas that are exposed to the sun, I really like the Panicum (Switch grass) and Miscanthus varieties, along with Japanese Blood Grass and Elijah Blue Fescue. These varieties offer unique colours, and with full sun exposure often show very dramatic foliage.

There are many types of perennials that bloom throughout the late summer and fall as well. A few traditional favourites include Black Eyed Susan and Echinacea. Both of these plants bloom throughout the fall, and have heavy flower set. As an additional bonus, these varieties are loved by bees and are in many collections of bee friendly plants. There are numerous types of Echinacea, but a few of my favourite varieties are the plants from the Pow Wow series and Cheyenne Spirit, because it has multiple colours.

Do you have a spot that has 50% or more shade? No problem, there are some perennials that look great in the fall that are excellent selections for these ‘shady areas.’ Heuchera (coral bells), Hosta, and ferns are all beautiful foliage plants that thrive in the fall, prior to frost coming to your region. They all come in various heights and colours, so you can have a lot of fun with shade spots in your outdoor living area. A bonus: these plants often do very well in containers…so if you have a shady spot on your patio, or on your deck, use a combination of Hostas, ferns and Heucheras to add some life to that area! A few examples of the varieties I like are: Heucheras Caramel and Silver Scrolls, Hostas Stained Glass and First Frost, Ostrich Fern and Robust Male Fern.

While traditional gardens are planted for spring and summer, fall is a great time to extend your enjoyment of your garden and outdoor living area. Keep some of the varieties listed above in mind, and you will be ready to have a fall garden that makes all of your neighbours, friends, or company jealous. 

Happy Gardening!


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Guest post by Mike - Vice President of Sales & HR

I am a third generation nurseryman at Bylands.  I have been involved in the nursery throughout my life and full time since 2007. As a boy, it was a tremendous playground for me to ride my bike and play throughout after schools.  Outside of work my passions are athletics. I love playing and coaching sports.