fall color

Hydrangeas… in Utah? Add major fall color to your garden with these 5 plants

Here are all the pretty ways to get fall color in your flowerbeds.

You thought hydrangeas didn’t grow in Utah… until now.

Horticulturist Sheriden Hansen names the variety that thrives here, and pays off big in adding fall color to the garden.

Find more gardening advice at garden.usu.edu.


Add Fall Color to Your Flower Garden

Why focus on fall color?

Fall color is the icing on the cake and the reward for a season spend working in the garden. It’s that last burst of color and joy before the snow comes and we take a much needed rest.

How to get it?

We usually think of trees adding our fall colors as they prepare to shed their leaves in the fall. Trees are excellent, but also consider perennials and even annuals to give you a burst of color.

Top five plants for color:

  1. Aster

Asters give the look of mums, but they are a level up for so many reasons. They add long lasting fall color to the garden and are a magnet for bees. Asters bloom over a number of weeks where mums can fade quickly. They have a daisy-like flower can come in a range of colors from white to purple and magenta.

  1. Sedum

Varieties of large sedum can give you a big bang for your buck in the garden. Some reach heights of 30-inches and are adorned with giant blooms that are show stopping. Look for cultivars like ‘Autumn Fire’ and ‘Autumn Joy’ that boast pink blooms. Other cultivars that come with dark purple foliage and bright pink bloom like ‘Plum Dazzled’ and ‘Thunderhead’ are very dramatic and offer a lot of color. Bonus: these blooms are an excellent cut flower to bring some of the fall color indoors.

  1. Oakleaf Hydrangea

The hydrangeas that you see in the South and on the East Coast don’t typically thrive in Utah, however, the Oak leaf hydrangea is well adapted and even thrives in our climate and soil conditions. The plant produces beautiful panicles of bloom all season and the leaves turn red to purple in the fall and are show stopping. One of my favorite shrub selections for Utah.

  1. Big Tooth Maple

The bright orange and red colors that dot our foothills in the fall and offer a spectacular show are due to a fantastic native tree called the Big Tooth Maple. This is a shrubby maple that is not as large as some of the maples we are used to growing in the landscape. These are the perfect selection for Utah if you want to grow a maple that gives those vibrant red and orange colors to the landscape pallet in the fall. An added bonus, the leaves are heavily toothed and give texture and interest as well as color.

  1. Pansies

Pansies are a hardy annual that can be planted in the fall and overwinter to also be enjoyed in the spring. These are a cheap and easy way to add fall color to containers and focal points in the garden. They come in a range of colors and bloom sizes and you can even find them with ruffled flowers that are an exquisite addition to the landscape.

Sheriden Hansen serves as an assistant professor of horticulture with the Utah State University Extension. She holds a Masters in Plant Science from Utah State University. Sheriden loves to teach about fruit and vegetable production, how to grow crops in small spaces and container gardening. Sheriden is married with two sons. She is a registered nurse and beekeeper.

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