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Great fall blooming perennials

Rick Kingsbury

While most of the perennials have faded away, fall is still a fine time to enjoy your garden. These perennials are easy care and offer blooms to brighten a hazy fall day.

Ceratostigma, also known as Plumbago is a truly carefree and easy to grow perennial suitable for use as a ground cover. Bright blue flowers cover the plant from August through early October. As a bonus, the foliage changes from a bright green to a fine burgundy as well. This is a great plant when sited in full sun to partial shade along a walkway or patio.

Chelone, or Turtlehead is an aptly named mid to late fall flowering native perennial. The namesake flowers are white or pink and bloom at the top of a mound of dark green leaves. It does well in moist soil, and tolerates clay soils. Chelone grows to 24" or more in height with an equal spread. It is best sited in full sun to partial shade, but prefers some shade in the afternoon.

Popular with hummingbirds and butterflies, Lobelia, or Cardinal Flower is another native perennial that does well in a moist or wet location. It is perfect at the edge of a pond, or in the center of a perennial bed. It is a medium tall plant, growing to 3 feet or more, and is available in red and blue flower colors. Lobelia blooms from July to September. The flower spikes make great cut flowers. It can be a bit slow to establish, but the wait is worth the effort. Cardinal Flower does well in full sun, and will tolerate partial shade.

For dramatic late season interest, you can't do better than Boltonia. This member of the aster family grows to 6 feet in height. Boltonia blooms from September to late October. The white flowers are small, profuse, and held on many branches at the top of the plant. This is a very carefree native plant, useful at the back of the perennial bed, or as an accent in the shrub border. This perennial requires full sun.

Have some fun pairing fall perennials with the changing colors of shrubs and you will happily extend the color season.

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