The Ontario countryside in the fall is a spectacularly colourful landscape that we all admire and enjoy. Many of us make special trips to view the brilliant colours of Maples and waysides adorned with Goldenrod and Asters. But where is the colour in our own garden?

In planning our gardens, we very logically begin at the beginning. Spring flowering bulbs are followed by the early flowering shrubs such as Flowering Almond, Japanese Cherries and others. We realize that these flower only for a short time and look for other shrubs and trees for continuing colour throughout the summer: Deutzia, Mock Orange, Weigela and of course, Roses.

Soon, our garden space is fully planted and only in September do we realize that we have neglected to include the late flowering shrubs and those with brilliant fall foliage. Burning Bush (Euonymus alatas) is one popular shrub that is widely used but there are many more that can enhance your garden in the fall and extend your season of colour to the fullest.

  • Sugar Maple

  • Red Maple

  • Serviceberry


Sugar Maple, Acer saccharum – orange and red
Red Maple, Acer rubrum – red
Other Maples – yellow, orange and red
Red Oak, Quercus rubra – red
Pin Oak, Q. palustris – red
Katsura, Cercidiphylum – orange-red
Ash, Fraxinus – mainly yellow
Mountain Ash, Sorbus – orange, red, yellow
Ginkgo, Ginkgo bilobam – yellow
Larch, Larix – yellow
Dawn Redwood, Metasequoia – golden


Wayfaring Tree, Viburnum lantana – purple/bronze
Arrowwood, V. dentatum – orange/red
Serviceberry, Amelanchier- yellow/orange
Smoketree, Cotinus – orange/red
Sumac, Rhus – purple/red
Blueberry, Vaccinium – orange
Dogwood, Cornus – reds and orange
Burning Bush, Euonymus alatas – red
Spindle tree, E. europaea – red
Amur Maple, Acer ginnala – red
Hedge Maple, A. campestris – yellow


  • Boston Ivy
  • Virginia Creeper


Boston Ivy and Virginia Creeper (Engelman’s Ivy) are highly colourful in fall. Virginia Creeper bears a heavy crop of black berries. Bittersweet Vine has colourful seed coverings. The threeparted orange husk opens to reveal bright orange and red fruit. Only the female plant bears fruit and must be planted together with a male plant for pollination.


Coralberry, Symphoricarpos – purple/pink
Snowberry, S. albus – white
Cotoneaster, Cotoneaster – red
Firethorn, Pyracantha – orange/red
Holly, Ilex – red
Winterberry, I. verticillata – red
Cranberry, Viburnum – red
Redleaf Rose, Rosa glauca – red


Bluebeard, Caryopteris – blue
Butterfly Bush, Buddleia – purple, blue, pink, white
PeeGee Hydrangea, Hydrangea – white/pink
Witch Hazel, Hamamelis – yellow


Sneezewort, Achillea ptarmica – white
Yarrow, A. taygetea – yellow
Monkshood, Aconitum – blue
Japanese Anemone, Anemone japonica – pink/white
Mugwort, Artemisia lactiflora – white
Italian Aster, Aster amellus – blue, purple
New England Aster, A. novae-angliae – purple, pink, white
New York Aster, A. novi-belgii – violet
(The Feast Day of St. Michael is September 29, and these asters are also called Michaelmas Daisy).
Boltonia, B. asteroids – white
Carpathian Harebell, Campanula carpatica – blue
Chrysanthemum, C. x morifolium – yellow
(Garden Chrysanthemums come in a wide variety of colours and shapes).
Coreopsis (flowering since June, will still be flowering in Sept.)
Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea – purple
Globe Thistle, Echinops – blue
Gallardia, G. x grandiflora (still flowering since June) – red and yellow

Sneezeweed, Helenium autumnale – bronze, yellow
Sunflower, Helianthus x multiflorus& H. decapetalus – yellow
Heliopsis, Heliopsis – yellow
Coralbells, Heuchera (still flowering since May) – red, pink, white
Rose Mallow, Hibiscus moscheutos – red, pink, white
Hosta Honeybellsí -blue
Hosta ëRoyal Standardí (fragrant) – white
Lamium, L. maculatum – lilac
Gay Feather (Blazing Star), Liatrus spp. – lilac, purple, white
Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalis- scarlet
Blue Cardinal Fl.,L. siphilitica – blue
Catmint, Nepeta spp. – blue
Giant Sundrop, Oenothera missourensis – yellow
Phlox, Phlox paniculata (flowering since July) – pink, white
False Dragonhead (0bedient Plant), Physostegia . – white, pink, purple
Balloon Flower,Platycodon – blue, white
Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia – yellow
Sedum Autumn Joy, Sedum spectabile – pink, mauve
Greek Mallow, Sidalcea – pink
Goldenrod, Solidago – yellow

The fall flowering Goldenrod above is maligned and ignored by Canadian gardeners, no doubt because it grows wild everywhere and is perhaps considered a weed. In Britain, where it is less common, Goldenrod is highly valued.

The plants listed will let you take advantage of the change of season and keep your garden interesting and colourful until the heavy frosts and first snow of winter.

  • Cranberry Cotoneaster
  • Sedum Spectabile
  • Aster Frikartii


(C. apiculata) has big (13 mm) bright red berries.


Flower clusters 7.5 – 10 cm across, pink, rose, or carmine red.


Flowers and how they grow: lavender – blue with yellow centers.

 Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association represents the leading garden centres in Ontario. As one of the select garden centres which has achieved “Approved Member” status, we assure our customers receive a high level of service, a good range of quality plants and associated products, together with professional advice and information.

October 13, 2021 — Gavin Riley