Falling For Color

Here are some local landscapers’ favorite picks for adding fall color to your landscape!

Edited by Moe Godat


Black Gum, also known as Nyssa sylvatica. Information provided by Timberwinds Nursery: For fabulous fall color in the landscape a favorite is the Black Gum, Nyssa Sylvatica, a medium sized, deciduous, native tree known for its brilliant fall foliage in shades of yellow, orange, red and purple. The Black Gum is a versatile tree. It prefers full sun to part shade, and can adapt to climate extremes, tolerating both wet and dry conditions. Its roots grow deep into the ground, so is a good choice for driveway or sidewalk areas as it will not damage the hardscape. It also makes an excellent specimen tree and birds love it, too. There are several cultivars available; a favorite is “wildfire” that produces new red growth in the spring and bright red foliage in the fall.

Water Requirements: Tolerates wet and dry conditions

Location + Light: Full sun to part shade

Little Henri Dwarf Virginia Sweetspire starts out the summer with a beautiful display of fragrant white flowers that blanket the shrub. As summer progresses, shiny, disease-free foliage appears until fall when the foliage turns a stunning garnet-red. Full sun exposure will produce more vibrant fall color. Perfectly suited for covering large banks, beds and borders. David Sherwood, Sherwood’s Forest Nursery.

A fantastic plant for late season color, our Missouri native Aromatic Aster brings rich color with thousands of sky blue daisy-like blossoms.Very easy to grow in average or even poor soil, yet it does best with a shovelful or two of compost. A butterfly favorite with fragrant foliage, it works well as a ground cover and for naturalized areas. It is a featured plant of the Missouri Prairie Foundation Grow Native Pollinator buffet program, a collection of plants that have been identified as being important to butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Ann Lapides, Sugar Creek Gardens.

Persian Parrotia is one of my favorite ornamental trees. This tree has several unique features, which makes it an excellent specimen for the garden. This tree features a remarkable multi-stem with bark that exfoliates as it matures. In the fall this tree features a spectacular array of fall colors ranging from orange, yellow and red. Justin Verbryck, Frisella Landscape Group.

Ornamental cabbage or kale is a showstopper for fall! This is not your every day autumn color item, but it will add those colors you love with a unique texture, perfectly accenting the traditional oranges and yellows of fall. Andria Graeler, Chesterfield Valley Nursery.

Bauer Falls uses deep red Laceleaf Japanese maples in their luxury waterfalls and koi ponds because their elegant, circular look lives in harmony with the natural stone boulders. Caleb and Josh Bauer hand select them. Japanese maples also provide water gardens in particular loads of interest with a showy fall color that reflects and radiates throughout the entire year. Caleb Bauer, Bauer Falls.

Showy Goldenrod blooms from September to October with clusters of bright yellow flowers. It does reseed some, but it's not overly aggressive. It has slender stalks 4-5 feet tall, and it's deer resistant. Plant in full sun in dry to average soil. Sue Leahy, Greenscape Gardens.