Great Fall Colors for the South?

sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)November 20, 2005

Hi fellow southerners,

Can you list some plants/trees that provide pretty fall colors for warmer climates?

I am always looking for new ideas for the fall garden. Seems like the northern climates get the best fall colors. A few I know that may perform well here are:


Swamp Red Maple

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Pyracantha and some other shrubs(for the red berries in the fall)


Japanese Maple

Willow Oak (Quercus phellos)

Any others?


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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

Well, of course there's always that hideous 'chicken tree'! I believe it was originally planted partly because of its fall color, and in the years since we moved here it's amazing how much more color we get now. And it would be a beautiful tree if it weren't so ghastly invasive. I was going to tell you about Pistache when I clicked on this, but you already know it. I think there are other hydrangeas and some viburnums that color well, but I don't grow them. Some people get nice yellow foliage from Chionanthus, both the native and chinese, but I think they must live north of us. I get good color on my firebush--Hamelia patens--that's in the most sun, plus nice bright berries. (The one that's in more shade gets little color and no berries. Gotta move it!) I'm sure there's others I can't think of at the moment--good topic!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 1:29AM
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Scarlet oak - Q.coccinea. Vibrant red fall color will knock your socks off - it rivals any of the red or sugar maples. I know it'll perform in z8, probably in z9, as well.
Pawpaws for good, clear yellow.
Asian(kaki) persimmons - some have blaze orange or hot red fall color.
Hickories are reliable for warm golden yellow.
Sumacs all seem to develop good red color.

Fall color on a willow oak? What, brown?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 5:16PM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

Thanks for the good suggestions. I guess I left out fall color as in flowers lol. Like mums and alot of my tropicals are actually starting to bloom now with the night- time temperatures dropping. Also, night blooming jasmine and moonflowers are going crazy now.
Someone told me that a certain king of willow oak (Q.phellus) had yellow leaves in fall. I hadn't seen it here in z. 9 - maybe they are brown? lol..

    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 5:56PM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

In last Sunday's Advertiser Bill Fontenot, native plant and bird guru, listed a whole bunch of shrubs and trees for fall color and I was going to post them here, but someone got too responsible and recycled it before I could save it. You could go to to get it all--I probably wouldn't have posted the whole bunch there were so many. He even lists them by color!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 1:22AM
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two native shrubs, aesculus parviflora (bottlebrush buckeye) and calycanthus floridus (sweetshrub), provide rich yellow fall colors in my area.
some crape myrtles exhibit bright shades of red, orange and some yellow though they are not all created equal regarding this feature.
native blueberries (vaccinium species) normally turn bright red in the fall. the spring flowers and fruit are an added bonus for wildlife.
an uncommon native plant, the alabama croton, has bright pumpkin orange(top) and metallic silver(bottom) leaves in autumn although only some of the older leaves will show this. it is semi-evergreen here.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 2:50PM
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Nancy, thanks for the heads up on Bill's article. Here it is for those interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: fall color in Louisiana

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 9:24PM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

Thank you for helping out, Hanart. Wish I weren't so computer-ignorant! Maybe one of these days==!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 12:37AM
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gary_ms(z8 MS)

The leaves on many willow oaks will turn yellow in the fall if conditions are right.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2005 at 6:43AM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

That is a very good link I will have to save that one for sure. Thanks

    Bookmark   December 11, 2005 at 2:46PM
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