Fall Seasonal Stars

Dana Nichols

What a wonderful time of the year! Nights are cool again, plants are flowering and if we are lucky the sun is still shining. Be aware that water needs of plants (including grass) drop dramatically in the fall. Over-watering in the fall can lead to plant disease.

For full enjoyment, plant seasonal stars like this goldenrod several months ahead of their peak blooming time.

Aromatic Aster Aster oblongifolius full width 2-3 ft height 2-3 ft

asterAromatic Aster is also called “Fall Aster” because it blooms best during fall months although it may also bloom in the spring. During summer months, the plant puts on growth and can be cut back mid-summer to keep it compact. It will need no special care and very little water to provide traffic-stopping purple flowers in the fall.

 

Feather Grass Nasella tenuissima full width 6-18 in. height 18-24 in.

feather_grassMexican Feather Grass is a fairly recent addition to ornamental grass choices that include the Muhly, Fountain, and Maiden varieties. Ornamental Grasses add texture and draw the eye as they sway with the breeze. Seed heads at the tips of the grasses seem to glisten in afternoon sunlight. Varieties mentioned here are not bothered by disease and thrive in dry, neglected places.

 

Shrimp Plant Justicia brandegeana partial width 3-4 ft height 2-3 ft

shrimp_plantThere are many rosemary varieties that thrive in San Antonio. Upright rosemary is so tough and evergreen that it is sometimes used as a small foundation shrub. Trailing rosemary cascades beautifully down retaining walls and rocky slopes. It is rare to have challenges with pests or disease, so long as rosemary is given sunlight and good drainage.

Mexican Bush Sage Salvia leucantha full width 3-4 ft height 3-4 ft

mex_salviaMexican bush sage is one of many hardy salvias recommended in San Antonio, but it is unique in having peak blooms in September. The most common varieties have purple and white spikes of blooms. It also has a soft, fuzzy appearance that softens xeriscape gardens. Grow it next to yellow fall blooming plants such as Mexican mint marigold or Copper Canyon daisy.

 

Autumn Sage Salvia greggii partialfull width 2-3 ft height 3-4 ft

autumn_sageSalvia greggii is popular for its long-bloom, compact size, toughness and wide range of colors. It has a very long blooming period that starts in the spring and peaks in the fall. During most winters Salvia greggii will stay evergreen. Cutting back the plants several times a year keeps them lush and less woody.

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