Our brief rainstorm last week was a welcome reminder that fall is almost here. In Southern California’s Mediterranean climate, fall is sometimes called the “second spring.” After the heat of summer when many native and Mediterranean plants slip into dormancy, many plants will have a burst of spring-like blooms.
If what you’re craving is traditional fall color, this can be achieved in Southern California in non-traditional, water-wise ways. Here are some of my favorite flowering perennials, shrubs with richly colored foliage, and ornamental grasses that will get your garden in a fall mood:
- Eriogonum giganteum (St. Catherine’s Lace)
- Salvia leucantha ‘Midnight’ (Midnight Santa Barbara Sage)
- Tagetes lemonii (Mexican Marigold)
- Berberis thunberggi (several purple-leafed varieties)
- Dodonaea viscosa var. purpurea (Purple Hopseed Bush)
- Loropetalum chinese (several purple-leafed varieties)
- Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink muhly)
- Pennisetum orientale (Oriental Fountain Grass) Do not confuse with Pennisetum setaceum, which is invasive.
- Pennisetum messiacum (Red Bunny Tails)
Click on images below to view larger.