Fall Color for Your Garden

We are lucky to be living on the Treasure Coast, where year round color is easily attained in our gardens. I like to keep some less tropical appearing plants in my garden to remind me of the change of seasons. Both of these plants are native to our area and thrive with little care, they also grow much further north and east giving the same seasonal accents to our gardens as our friends as far north as Washington, DC. Muhly Grass can be found even further north.

The showy purple berries are from the Beautyberry, Callicarpa americana. These shrubs are usually 4-5 feet tall by wide and occur naturally as an understory shrub. I have placed mine in partial shade, sandy soil receiving regular water from an automatic irrigation system.

While the Beautyberry grows far and wide, here in Florida we get a much bigger crop of berries. So much that people make jelly from the berries. It has been described as having an astringent quality, I have yet to find any jelly, although I am keeping an eye out.

Another interesting aspect of this plant is its use as an insect repellent. Folk remedies include placing leaves under the halter of a mule to keep insects away and research is ongoing to determine its safety and efficacy in humans as a natural alternative to DEET. I planted one near my screen porch for that reason and the jury is still out on how the mosquitoes feel about it.

The next plant for consideration is Muhly Grass (Muhlbergia capillaris). Currently sporting pink clouds of floral beauty over a grey green grassy foliage, Muhly Grass is drought tolerant, deer tolerant and basically just tolerant. It does need sun and well drained soil. Otherwise, just plant it, water until established and wait for the fall when the pink flowers start putting on their show.

Fall Color for Your Garden

Fall Color for Your Garden

A great accent plant or mid level perennial these grow to about 3 feet by 3 feet and are one of my favorite bulletproof plants. Mine lives in an unirrigated area by the street by the mailbox and are perfectly happy to be ignored.

Both plants start flowering early in the fall and continue showing color for months. So, consider inviting one or both of these native jewels into your garden to stay.




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  • Posted 7 years ago

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