Barry Fugatt: Fall shrubs have great color, price
BY BARRY FUGATT Garden World
Saturday, September 22, 2012
9/22/12 at 5:57 AM
I do most of my shrub shopping in the fall. It makes sense economically and horticulturally. Typically, garden centers offer lots of fall close-out sales and, with few exceptions, fall planted shrubs perform as well or better than spring planted ones.
I recently bought Bloom-A-Thon azaleas and dwarf abelias - excellent shrubs for this area - for much less than I would have paid in the spring.
Also, I like to shop for shrubs with great fall color. Most shrubs are bought in the spring with little regard for fall color potential. If, however, we selected shrubs capable of producing vivid fall foliage, autumn gardens would be as colorful as spring ones.
Here is a list of deciduous shrubs with excellent fall color.
Red Chokeberry, Aronia arbutifolia: Easily one of my favorite shrubs and much overlooked by area gardeners. It has a graceful, upright, multi-stem shape. It's effective used in groupings of three to five or as a single accent shrub. It produces a heavy crop of bright red berries that last well into winter. Fall foliage turns bright red. Height and width are 5 to 7 feet.
Black Chokeberry, Aronia melanocarpa: Similar to red chokeberry but with shiny black berries. Fall foliage is a deep scarlet. Look for the variety called Autumn Magic.
Oakleaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia: Most hydrangeas can be tough to grow but not oakleaf. Plant in full sun or shade. Large elegant leaves turn shades of red, orange and purple in early fall. The varieties Alice and Snowflake flower profusely in my garden. Also, the dwarf variety, Pee Wee, is a real charmer growing only 3 to 4 feet tall and wide.
Cutleaf Staghorn Sumac, Rhus typhina: This delightful native has long been in cultivation but grown only by an appreciative few. The cutleaf varieties of R. typhina has lacy, fern-like foliage that becomes a blaze of reddish-orange in early October. It's a great specimen plant for a modern urban landscape.
Virginia Sweetspire, Itea virginica: Sweetspire heads my list of tough shrubs that will grow just about anywhere: sun, shade or poorly drained soil. Seriously, this shrub is the quintessential survivor. And it flowers beautifully in May and develops showy red and purple foliage in late fall. Height and spread is 3 to 5 feet.
Japanese Maple, Acer palmatum: There are literally hundreds of Japanese maples. I'm especially fond of the cutleaf varieties: A. palmatum dissectum atropurpureum. I know, that's quite a mouthful. Just ask your favorite nurseryman to show you varieties with fern-like foliage. Crimson Queen has been around forever, but it's still a gorgeous garden shrub with breathtaking beautiful foliage spring through fall. Oshio-Beni, Ever Red, Tamukeyama and Viridis all are great foliage shrubs. Best planted in afternoon shade or bright dapple sunlight.
Original Print Headline: Fall shrubs have great color, price
Barry Fugatt is director of horticulture at the Tulsa Garden Center/Linnaeus Teaching Garden. He can be reached at 918-746-5125 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Crimson Queen Japanese maple is a gorgeous garden shrub with beautiful foliage from spring through fall. Courtesy