5 Plants To Bring Autumn Colour To Your Garden

As the blooms of summer die away and the garden begins to look a little sorry for itself and weary, a much needed injection of colour can be just the thing to pep it up. Garden centres will be full of plants, showing off their Autumnal cheer but with such a huge choice, it can often be difficult to know where to start! Which plants will be suited to the soil in your garden? What about that shady corner of the garden that needs a little life? We’ve provided a round-up of some of our favourite flowers and shrubs that, due to their cheerful bright foliage and glorious floral displays, definitely earn their place in the garden in Autumn.

  1. Cotoneaster

Easy to grow and tolerant of most soil types, even boggy clay, Cotoneasters are extremely useful and versatile shrubs. The beautiful dark green, glossy foliage turns an intense orangey-red colour in the Autumn, providing a vibrant riot of colour. Whilst all are low-maintenance, some varieties are good for groundcover such as Cotoneaster Horizontalis, others such as the aptly named ‘Autumn Inferno’ provide their beautiful colour in an upright fashion and can be trained against a wall or fence. The pretty red berries that form in Autumn make great food for the feathered visitors to your garden.

2. Hesperantha

Hesperantha, or to give it its more formal name, Schizostylis, bears striking flowers in eye-catching bright reds and pinks in a prolific fashion from late Autumn onwards, extending the colour in your garden well into the latter part of the year until the first frosts come. This said, we’ve witnessed Hesperantha still flowering on Christmas Day! Needing a moist soil and plenty of sun, its flowers grow above an evergreen sword-like foliage which will spread, forming nice dense clumps.

3. Physalis (Chinese Lanterns)

This fully hardy, perennial puts on a beautiful show from July onwards. First, pretty white flowers form, giving way to light green fruit cases forming in August. These cases then turn a bold and beautiful deep orange come September, hanging attractively down from the stem like the Chinese lanterns they are named after. Physalis simply means ‘bladder’. Preferring a sunny aspect and happy in a poorer sandy-type soil (anything richer and leaves grow at the expense of the pretty lanterns), the Physalis is quite prolific – think, as prolific as mint for the herb gardeners amongst you! Best grown in containers if you want to control the spread.  

4. Euonymus

The Euonymous is one of the most versatile and budget friendly options to provide that quintessential Autumn colour. The Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’ (also known as the ‘fire bush’) puts on a superb display of glorious bright red foliage. As per its’ name, this is a compact variety, growing to around 1.5m. Small whitish-green flowers are followed by reddish-purple fruits, providing sustained interest for much of the growing season. Tough, very hardy and tolerating most soil types, this shrub will grow in full sun or partial shade – we think full sun is the best condition to show off its’ fiery foliage!

5. Dahlias

Beginning to bloom during the hot summer months, Dahlias really come into their own during August and into the Autumn months, giving wonderful displays of colour as almost all the rest of the garden starts to go to sleep. Needing moist but well-drained soil and a sunny aspect, their tall upright shape and large bowl-shaped blooms makes them a striking addition to your borders. With over 57,000 varieties and an abundance of colours to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect dahlia to provide a striking Autumnal display in your garden.