9 Colorful Fall Plants For Your Landscape

By Mark Thomas

Choosing Plants for Color Year Round

You can have color in your landscape through every season! To learn about what plants will bring attractive colors to your fall landscape, we visited Cameron Allcott at Progressive Plants to see 9 beautiful plants whose flowers, leaves and stems change to interesting and bright colors in the fall.

Miss Molly Butterfly Bush

Miss Molly Butterfly Bush is a beautiful drought resistant annual that flourishes in Utah. As the name says, butterflies and a variety of pollinators love this shrub. Blooms last for months, from mid-summer to fall frost. But be wary, give this shrub its space, it grows to between 4 and 5 feet high and wide. In late fall this shrub can be pruned back to under 12 inches. Don’t worry though, it will regrow to full size by mid-summer.

  • Great for pollinators
  • Unusual color
  • Blooms for a long time
  • 4 to 5 feet tall and wide

Pugster Pink

As a smaller relative to Miss Molly Butterfly Bush Pugster Pink offers many of the same benefits.  A tough but beautiful shrub that tolerates a lot of sun and does well during summer dry cycles. Though not as striking in color Pugster Pink offers one serious benefit, it’s half the size as Miss Molly! It tops off at 2 by 3 feet. Despite the modest size it’s still a butterfly favorite.

  • Different colors
  • 2 by 2
  • Attracts butterflies
  • Easy to maintain
  • Plant and forget

Beyond Midnight/Bluebeard

If you loving making the neighborhood bees very happy then the Beyond Midnight/Bluebeard is a surefire hit. This small shrub grows to roughly 2 feet high and wide, and love Utah’s various climates.  Plant in full sun and enjoy the deep purple flowers well into the fall season.

  • Everywhere
  • Well-behaved
  • Stays compact
  • Deep color
  • Bees are a fan


Plumbago offers a beautiful ground-cover spectacle in the fall months. Beautiful blue flowers emerge in early fall, but that’s only the beginning of the show! As the flowers fade Plumbago’s leaves spend the next month changing into a beautiful deep red.  Growing less than a foot tall Plumbago is a happy plant in either sun or shade and doesn’t need a lot to drink.

  • Fall color is amazing
  • Sun or shade
  • Gentle spread
  • Drought tolerant but okay with wet

Little Bluestem

Little Bluestem is an ornamental grass that grows in mounds.  Usually less than 2 feet tall, this plant produces a beautiful show in fall.  The blue-green stems turn deep red as fall begins, but it’s the seed tufts that catch the eye.  The slivery white tufts shine in the fall light and can hang on over winter providing a striking visual over a fresh snowfall…as well as a food source for overwintering birds.

  • 3 x 4 ft
  • Multiple colors
  • Scarlet in October
  • Can leave in winter or trim
  • Unique grass


One of the larger plants that we looked at is the Chokeberry. This small tree is often used in hedges and can grow to between 4 to 5 feet tall with a spread of up to 6 feet. In fall this beautiful tree is also known as ‘Autumn Magic’ for the fiery red and soft purple foliage. It handles Utah’s climate with ease and offers delicate white flowers in spring and edible berries to boot!

  • 4 to 5 feet
  • In hedge
  • Upright
  • Edible berries, good for pies
  • Fall color
  • Water wise
  • Good in heat

Oakleaf Hydrangea

The Oakleaf Hydrangea requires well-drained soil and it loves Utah’s heat. It produces wide-beautiful leaves and the clusters of white flowers that Hydrangeas are known for. It’s notable that this Hydrangeas flower clusters aren’t as dense as other cultivars, allowing the clusters to stand tall rather than hang. We love this as a fall plant because those big green leaves turn a deep burning red as winter approaches. Plant in sun for brighter fall colors.

  • Blooms
  • Broad leaf
  • Different varieties and sizes- 3 to 4 ft up to 8 to 10 ft.
  • Crimson leaves
  • Gives flowers and fall colors

"At Last" Roses

It’s true, we all want to stop and smell the roses, but how about a rose that is so fragrant it fills the yard? “At Last” Roses are beautiful and aromatic well into cooler months. "At Last" Roses require a little less maintenance than you expect from more vagarious roses, but it produces centerpiece worthy blooms from late spring right up to the moment frost settles over the valleys.

  • Second bloom in August to winter
  • Favorite rose
  • Smells great
  • Roses were cultivated for other traits, so was losing smell

Fire Light - Hydrangea

The Fire Light hydrangea puts on a great show every fall, It’s flowers make a stunning transformation from beautiful white to bright pink.  These upright clusters of flowers stand proudly atop this large shrub. Growing from 6 to 8 feet tall, these wonderful specimens are a dream come true for anyone with a track record of killing plants. They are very easy to care for and love the sun.

  • 5 to 7 ft tall
  • Large flowers
  • White color, not greenish flower
  • Mid July
  • As gets cooler, flower turns pinkish
  • In fall/winter, can use flowers in arrangements

Don’t forget to follow Modern Gardener on Instagram and Facebook to see more information about gardening, and make sure to chime in with your own tips! We love to learn from other gardeners, and look forward to seeing what you’re learning in the garden too!

If you live in Utah and have a garden or garden project that you'd like to be featured on Modern Gardener, click here!

Selection of plants for adding fall color to garden beds and landscapes.

Selection of plants for adding fall color to garden beds and landscapes.

Mark Thomas

KUED Digital Media

Mark is a jack-of-all trades—he produces, hosts, and writes for Modern Gardener between his regular duties as KUED's webmaster and home and garden DIYer.Read more