21 Ways to Color Your Yard This Fall

As summer wanes, so do the blooms from our favorite flowers, leaving us grasping for the last vestiges of natural color before winter takes hold. Those who long for a bit of color in an autumn yard can take heart. Here are 21 plants that will provide vibrant color and visual interest in your autumn landscape, even as cooler fall days give way to winter.

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  1. 'Autumn Joy' Sedum


    One of the many varieties of stonecrop, 'Autumn Joy' sedum offers a bounty of dark pink blooms from August through November. Those flowers turn copper as the weather gets colder and, when cut, make a nice addition to autumn arrangements. Available on Etsy; $19 for five plants.

    Related: Budget Decor: 10 DIY Ways to Dress Up Your House for Fall


  2. Helenium


    A member of the sunflower family, helenium is an herbaceous perennial that lights up with dense clusters of orangey-red flowers in fall. The long-lasting blooms add color to the garden, or to centerpieces as cut flowers. Low maintenance and deer-resistant, these autumn companions will add cheer to your garden year after year. Available at Burpee.com; $16.95 for three plants.

    Related: 10 Plants Sure to Stop Deer in Their Tracks


  3. Chrysanthemum


    Chrysanthemums are a staple of fall decorating schemes, and can be purchased anywhere plants are sold starting in late August. Many people treat mums as annuals, displaying them in container gardens to add color to a fall porch. They can, however, also be grown as perennials when planted directly in a flower bed. Remove perennial varieties from their pots and plant them before the ground freezes, and you'll have a good chance they’ll return next year. Available on Burpee.com; $12.95 for one plant.

    Related: 9 Bright and Colorful Houseplants You Can't Kill


  4. American Beautyberry


    Clusters of glossy purple berries make American beautyberry an autumn showstopper. In spring months, the shrub attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies with its flowers, and in fall its fruit adds color to the yard. The berries adorn the plant's draping branches well after the leaves have fallen and will attract small wildlife to your garden as the weather chills. Requiring very little care, this low-maintenance shrub is the perfect choice for lazy gardeners. Available on Etsy; $3 for one starter plant.

    Related: The Best 10 Plants to Grow for Backyard Privacy


  5. Firethorn


    Pyracantha, commonly known as firethorn, is an evergreen shrub that provides all-season interest in the yard. The small white flowers that appear in summer give way to orange or red berries that remain through winter, providing food for birds as well as a beautiful view from your window. Available on Etsy; $5.25 for one 15-centimeter-tall plant.

    Related: 15 No-Effort Plants for a Foolproof Landscape


  6. 'Winterthur' Viburnum


    Some showy fall shrubs grace the garden with vibrant leaf color, and some with sensational berries. 'Winterthur' viburnum has both. Crimson leaves and deep blue berries give your landscape a double dose of autumn beauty and will keep your yard looking lovely even as other plants die back as the weather cools. Available at HomeDepot.com; $30.89 for one plant.

    Related: The Invincible Yard: 17 Ideas for Lazy Landscaping


  7. Ornamental Kale and Cabbages


    Ornamental kale and cabbages are cultivated for looks, not taste. Their low habit and brilliant colors (think purple, pink, and cream) make them an optimal choice for cool-weather edging and ground cover. Though their flavor will not appeal to humans, they make a tasty treat for animals, so be careful where you plant them, especially if your neighborhood is home to deer. Available on Burpee.com; $12.95 for four plants.

    Related: Editor's Picks: 7 Tools to Wage War Against Leaves


  8. Red Twig Dogwood


    Red twig dogwood provides year-round interest, particularly in fall when plump white berries appear on the shrub's burgundy branches. It is a stunner, whether planted as a hedge or an accent. Available on Amazon; $15.95 for one 1-gallon plant.

    Related: 10 Fast-Growing Plants for (Almost) Instant Curb Appeal


  9. American Witch Hazel


    American witch hazel is a deciduous shrub whose showy and fragrant flowers bloom in fall. Its yellow, feathery blooms linger until December, when all the beautiful autumn leaves have fallen, making it a welcome sight at a time when most other landscape plantings have lost their color. Available on Amazon; $13.99 for one 1-gallon plant.

    Related: 8 First Aid Supplies You Can Grow at Home


  10. Japanese Maple


    Japanese maple is a breathtaking accent tree popular for its feathery leaves and graceful, weeping silhouette. In fall, its leaves turn crimson, orange, or gold, with some varieties successively displaying all three colors. Available at HomeDepot.com; $33.49 for one 1-gallon plant.

    Related: 10 of the Best Trees for Any Backyard


  11. Fire and Ice Hydrangea


    The Fire and Ice variety of Hydrangea paniculata blooms from spring through fall, changing color as the seasons progress. White blossoms in spring give way to pink flowers in summer, followed by vibrant red blooms in fall. This specimen will delight in three out of four seasons, and it tolerates winter well. Available at HomeDepot.com; $29.99 for one plant.

    Related: Don't Make These 8 Mistakes in Your Front Yard


  12. Toad Lily


    In late summer, when most perennials are finished flowering, toad lily is just getting ready to show off its orchid-like, spotted blooms. These easy-care plants not only bring joy to the garden starting in mid-September, but also make exotic-looking flower arrangements when cut and brought indoors. Available on Amazon; $11.50 for a 4-inch pot. 

    Related: 14 Totally Free Ways to Grow a Garden From Scratch


  13. River Birch


    The river birch tree lights up the yard in fall when its green leaves turn bright gold. These trees make a dazzling contrast against its characteristic white, texture-rich bark. Available on Amazon; $34.95 for a 3-foot-tall plant.

    Related: 10 Ways to Buy Better Curb Appeal for Under $50


  14. Aster


    With daisy-like flowers that bloom in late summer and fall, the aster brings a shock of color to your garden as other bloomers fade. With a palette that encompasses pinks, purples, reds, and white, these cheery perennials inject a jolt of joy when you need it most. As a bonus, they’ll attract butterflies to your yard. Available on Burpee.com; $12.95 for one plant.

    Related: 8 No-Care Plants for Killer Curb Appeal in Every Season


  15. Sweet Autumn Clematis


    The sweet autumn clematis vine blooms in late summer to fall with masses of billowy, fragrant white flowers against dark green, leathery leaves. It will quickly grow to cover a trellis or fence, making it a beautiful accent in an autumn yard. Available at HomeDepot.com; $33.99 for one 2-gallon plant.

    Related: Weekend Projects: 5 Creative Ways to Build a Garden Trellis


  16. Virginia Sweetspire


    Virginia sweetspire, known formally as Itea virginica, overflows with long white blossoms in springtime, but the real show begins in fall, when its leaves turn a deep burgundy that lasts well into the season. The shrub makes an excellent foundation planting or border, and is drought-tolerant once established. Available on Amazon; $54.95 for one 3-foot-tall plant.

    Related: 14 of the Best Plants for Your Drought-Tolerant Garden


  17. Oakleaf Hydrangea


    Oakleaf hydrangea gets its name from its lobed leaves, which resemble those of the oak tree. Also like the oak tree, its leaves turn brilliant shades of red and orange as winter approaches. Some blooms may remain as the leaves change, providing great interest in both color and texture. Available at HomeDepot.com; $39.98 for one 3-gallon plant.

    Related: 12 Backyard Updates You Can Do in a Day


  18. Burning Bush


    Plant a burning bush and you will be treated to a profusion of crimson foliage in fall. A member of the euonymus family, this easy-to-grow shrub tolerates most soil types and flourishes in both full and partial sun. Available on Amazon; $30 for one bare-root plant.

    Related: 11 Ideas for Better Backyard Privacy


  19. Arkansas Blue Star


    Amsonia hubrichtii, also known as Arkansas blue star, is cultivated for its feathery green foliage and soft blue, star-shaped flowers that bloom in spring. This perennial puts on a second show in fall, when its needle-like leaves turn a brilliant gold. The leaves remain through a portion of the winter months, adding all-season interest to your yard. Available on Amazon; $8.95 for one plant.

    Related: 19 "Zero Dollar" Garden Hacks


  20. Chinese Lantern


    The Chinese lantern plant produces delicate white flowers, but that’s not what makes it spectacular in autumn. As the flowers grow, they develop a papery seedpod that turns bright orange. The pop of color looks cheery in the garden, but can also be dried and brought indoors for festive arrangements. Available on Amazon; $34.99 for one 4-inch pot.

    Related: 9 Lessons Learned from Tiny Backyards


  21. Ornamental Pepper


    You can eat the fruits of ornamental pepper plants even though they’re not as flavorful as varieties grown for cooking, but leave them alone and they’ll throw a party in your landscape come fall. The colorful little fruits come in shades of red, orange, purple, yellow, and white, with some varieties boasting multiple colors on the same plant! Available on Amazon; $23.77 for two plants. 

    Related: 8 Ways to Make Your Small Yard Look Bigger


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