Bouteloua 'Blonde Ambition' Ornamental Grass contrasts firey fall foliage.
By establishing your native plants in the fall, they will be larger and bloom more robustly during next year’s growing season than the same plant planted next spring.
By David Salman, Chief Horticulturalist and Founder of High Country Gardens
For gardeners in USDA zones 7 through 11 where the summers are hot and the winters mild, fall planting is the best time to plant. In these areas, the number of days between spring and the searing heat of summer is far too short for plants to establish deep roots before the heat settles in.
Before we discuss native plants, I think it is important that we understand the term. I define a native plant as:
A species native to North America (from Panama north to Alaska and Canada)
A native plant hybrid (when pollen travels from one native species to another and seed is set, the seedlings are hybrids between two different species. This is a native hybrid.)
Helianthus maximilian'Santa Fe'
There are some pretty passionate native plant purists that will say that North America is too large a region to define a “native plant” for their garden. However, many native plants are widely distributed and don’t consider political boundaries when establishing themselves in habitat. While some don’t consider hybrids to be native, we feel confident idenifying native hybrids as "native," since many native plants will hybridize with each other in nature when their ranges overlap (This happens often and with no input from a human. It’s part of the evolutionary process, after all!)
Many gardens don’t have enough fall flowers, and that’s a big shame. There are many perennials that color the late season garden beyond the boring Big Box standards such as flowering cabbage and garden mums. Must we Americans be so homogenous such that gardens across our huge, diverse geography all look the same?
Make your fall garden different with favorite late summer and fall blooming native perennials!
Featuring bright colors, beautiful flowers, and plenty of nectar for pollinators.
'Prairie Gold' Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a beautiful golden-yellow form of this popular native wildflower. This selection is grown from seed collected from a wild population in its Indiana habitat. Grow this special native cultivar to add unexpected color and an interesting conversation starter to your pollinator garden. A 2021 High Country Gardens Introduction.
Our Superstar Aster Collection is an easy solution for late summer to fall color. Native Asters are important late-season food sources for bees and butterflies, including Monarchs. Featuring five varieties of Asters for an array of colors and varying heights, this collection will refresh the garden with late season flowers, just as summer’s blooms begin to fade. Collection of 5 plants. (Symphyotrichum)
Honeysong Pink New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-anglie) announces fall with an abundance of lovely pink, golden-centered flowers. Standing tall, it is a perfect solution for adding height to the back of the perennial border. A pollinator favorite, this easy to grow native cultivar will bloom from late summer well into fall, filling the garden with late season color and visiting pollinators.
Dream of Beauty Fragrant Aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolius) is big on blooms from mid-summer to fall, providing easy-care, long-lasting garden color. Shorter in stature than many Asters, it will brighten the garden with dense foliage and sweet pink flowers. A favorite of butterflies, this native cultivar is essential for late-season blooms in the pollinator garden.