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Up your fall garden game — no mums required!

By: Garden Gate staff
Here’s how to boost the color in your fall garden without adding mums. These three plants look great all summer but are at their best as temperatures cool.

coleus-fountain-grass-zinnia-combo-lead: Add a warm glow to your fall garden with this low-maintenance combo!

A fall garden is a feast for all the senses — bold color combinations, pungent scents, the crunch of crisp leaves under your feet and a cool nip in the air. And some plants just get better and better as fall unfolds. Ready to try something other than mums for fall color? This beautiful fountain grass’ colors intensify in cool weather, and zinnias will keep blooming and blooming, right up until frost. Ready to get this look in your own garden? Here’s how!

See also Plant combos

Fall garden showoffs

It only takes three plants to get tons of vibrant fall color — this stunning mass of coleus picks up the rich red and purple hues of the fountain grass, almost making it glow.

Newer, smaller and densely branched zinnias, such as ‘Starlight Rose’, make a carefree low-growing edging all the way up to the first frost. They take the heat along a sidewalk or driveway and won’t need deadheading to look neat.


A) ‘Brilliancy’ coleus (Solenostemon hybrid)
Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Bright red leaves with gold-green scalloped edges; can pinch back light blue midsummer flowers for a tidier look Light Part sun to part shade Size 18 to 24 in. tall, 10 to 14 in. wide Hardiness Cold zones 10 to 11, heat zones 12 to 1

B) ‘Fireworks’ fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum)
Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Deep red to purple variegated foliage; purple blooms in summer Light Part to full sun Size 24 to 30 in. tall and wide Hardiness Cold zones 9 to 10, heat zones 12 to 1

C) Zahara™ ‘Starlight Rose’ zinnia (Zinnia marylandica)
Type Annual Blooms Large white bicolor flowers with pink-streaked centers from late spring to frost Light Full sun Size 12 to 18 in. tall and wide Hardiness Heat zones 12 to 1

See also Garden plans

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annuals tender perennials autumn fall plant combos plant recommendations

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