Fall Perennials

by Dr. Lisa Wagner, Educational Programs Director, South Carolina Botanical Garden

We're in our display perennial garden and we've got a fabulous example of a fall perennial. This is Helianthus angustifolius, Swamp Sunflower. Another great fall group of plants are these Asters. Great for wildlife and all of our pollinators here in the fall, but providing great fall color. And how long do these stay in bloom? They'll continue to flower until frost, which is nice. I want to point out there's not always great benefits to being a neat and tidy gardener because if you're interested in wildlife, providing some cover as well as food over the winter is really important. Shift your vision here of this from old, dead flower stalks to food for goldfinches. The little seeds in those. So you might not want to cut those back? You may want to cut some back that are say right by your front steps, but if you can leave these you're going to have a little flock of goldfinches all winter long enjoying them. This is Mexican Bush Sage, Salvia leucantha, and one of the stars, I think, in the sort of early fall to mid fall garden. Hummingbirds like it, like they like so many of the other Salvias. Bees enjoy it. We've got a couple of different flower types. Just a really wonderful perennial. By anyone's standards this Ginger Lily is another star. You've got a very bold-looking tropical plant, wonderful fragrant flowers on a warm afternoon, of which we have them still here in the fall. The fragrance will fill up the area around the plant. Striking foliage. This will die back in the winter of course, but it's hardy here. And as you can see, pretty spectacular. Well this has been very helpful thank you so much. Your welcome.

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