6 Easy-Care Plants for Fall Interest (Besides Maples)

Elizabeth Durham — Oct 06, 2022

Does your garden lose its magic in fall? Many homeowners feel their yard is missing that autumnal color after Labor Day. Instead of enjoying gorgeous sunset hues, they see dried up flowers, brown leaves, and bare branches. 

It's a pretty easy problem to fix—just incorporate a few showy fall interest plants throughout your landscaping! This simple solution will help your garden’s beauty endure ‘til winter and beyond.

And you don’t need to add more tasks to your chores list to get the look you want. Our experts picked 7 low-maintenance plants that can revitalize your autumn landscape without much work after planting. Check ‘em out below!

Chrysanthemums for Cheerful Autumn Blooms

Notable Features:

Late-season bloom, vibrant color

Growing Zones:

4-11

Sunlight Needs:

Full Sun

Max Size (HxW): 

1 ft. x 2 ft.

Maintenance:

Water weekly, remove dead flowers to encourage more blooms

Mums (a.k.a. Chrysanthemums) are a top fall pick for a reason: they bloom in autumn after most other plants’ flowers are finished for the year. These bright, round blossoms come in many colors, and you’ll enjoy their color until the first real frost! 

Choose from yellow, orange, burgundy, white, and violet varieties, or grab one of each for a rainbow of shades! Pot your Mums in the early fall to enjoy them as annuals, or plant them in the ground for years of recurring fall blooms. 

Ornamental Kale for Unexpected Texture

Notable Features:

Deep hues, cold-hardy, ruffled foliage

Growing Zones:

4-11

Sunlight Needs:

Full Sun

Max Size (HxW): 

1.5 ft. x 2 ft.

Maintenance:

Water to keep soil consistently moist (not soggy)

Also called “flowering kale,” the Ornamental Kale is a member of the cabbage family. But don’t be fooled—this vibrant vegetable is a seasonal standout. Its ruffled leaves grow in rose-like bunches, creating a bloom-like appearance. Take your pick in color (ranging from red to white) and bask in the enchanting texture of this annual through the end of the year!

Pansies to Add Low-Maintenance Color

Notable Features:

Great for unexpected frosts, impressive color variety

Growing Zones:

4-11

Sunlight Needs:

Full Sun

Max Size (HxW):

1 ft. x 2 ft. 

Maintenance:

Water to keep soil consistently moist (not soggy)

Another blooming annual, Pansies add instant color to fall and winter landscapes. These flowers flourish in cool weather, and they come in a massive variety of colors. Some people stick with one color, others mix and match, and some even use these versatile plants to create color-blocked garden bed designs.

Jelena Witch Hazel Shrub for Dazzling Fall Foliage

Notable Features:

Unmatched fall color, unique winter blooms

Growing Zones:

5-8

Sunlight Needs:

Full-to-Partial Sun

Max Size (HxW): 

12 ft. x 12 ft.

Maintenance:

Water when soil is dry 2 inches down

This is one of our all-time favorites. While some deciduous shrubs lose their leaves in an ordinary fashion, the Jelena Witch Hazel will give you a showy farewell! In autumn, the Jelena’s foliage glows in yellow, orange, and red—gorgeous colors that will catch any passerby’s eye. 

As a plus, this shrub provides stunning winter interest. After the golden foliage drops, fragrant near-neon flowers will appear. The tassle-like blooms are cold-hardy, and–fun fact–they’ll curl up to protect themselves during a freeze.

Adagio Maiden Grass for Gorgeous Dimension

Notable Features:

Feathery plumes, turns red and orange in autumn

Growing Zones:

5-9

Sunlight Needs:

Full-to-Partial Sun

Max Size (HxW): 

5 ft. x 4 ft.

Maintenance:

Water weekly, or more frequently in extreme heat/drought

If you’re new to ornamental grasses, the Adagio Maiden Grass is the ideal place to start. Not only does it deliver flowing plumes in the warmer months, but it also erupts with sunset shades in the fall. Perfect for planting en masse, along borders, or as a backdrop to other fall favorites, this ornamental grass will ensure your landscape still shines in autumn.

Burning Bush as a Stop-in-Your-Tracks Focal Point

Notable Features:

Blazing red foliage, adaptable to many growing conditions

Growing Zones:

4-8

Sunlight Needs:

Full-to-Partial Sun

Max Size (HxW): 

8 ft. x 8 ft.

Maintenance:

Water deeply when soil is dry 2 inches down, fertilize in early spring

Our fall interest list can’t be complete without the ultimate autumn showstopper: the Burning Bush. As the summer winds down, the cool green foliage will be set aflame, turning fiery red—and we mean fiery! The deeply saturated color will transform your landscape, especially if planted as hedging. Expect your neighbors to be blown away by this flaming firecracker!

Browse More Fall Favorites

There's plenty more where that came from. Take a look at our Fall Collection to browse through dozens of other autumn interest varieties. 

Elizabeth Durham

Though cursed at birth with a black thumb, Elizabeth always dreamed of being a plant person. Turns out she just needed a little guidance—now she’s the proud mama of nearly a dozen house plants! After joining FastGrowingTrees.com as a Content Strategist, she’s expanded her knowledge tenfold and learned how to keep her plants alive…most of the time.

As a newbie in the plant world, Elizabeth understands the struggles of beginner gardeners. And as an experienced writer, she loves creating content that makes difficult concepts easy to understand. In her free time, she enjoys immersing herself in nature through daily lunchtime walks, weekend hikes, and visits to the park with her dog Fred.

Questions? Contact Elizabeth at information@fastgrowingtrees.com.

download block image
Register for our Grass Seed 101 course!
There's nothing like a lush green lawn! Learn all about growing a healthy, thriving landscape with our Grass Seed course. We'll be covering how to choose and plant your grass seed, how to maintain and care for it, and how to troubleshoot any issues. Subscribe below to get this course sent directly to your inbox!