APRIL 2003
Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas



Plan Now for Fall Landscape Color

By Dr. William C. Welch, Landscape Horticulturist
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

rior planning can mean a brightly colored landscape this fall. Four popular plants are well known for their fall brilliance. They are the chrysanthemum, candle tree, copper plant, and Joseph's coat. Each has advantages and distinctions all its own. All have beauty and eye-pleasing color.

Click on picture to see larger image
Click on picture to see larger image
an easy source of fall color
The chrysanthemum, also called a mum, is considered the queen of fall flowers. The plants, generally from 12 to 24 inches tall, are covered with colorful blooms. They require a well drained soil with ample water and fertilizer. Tip cuttings of old plants root very quickly and provide relatively disease-free plants. Cuttings of 6 to 8 inches, stuck half their length into sand or a sand and peat mixture will usually root in 8 to 10 days. Old clumps can also be divided at this time. It is best to complete transplanting in June or early July. Keep terminal buds pinched through July to promote side branching. Garden mums are better for landscape use than florist mums.

Showy yellow flowers are characteristic of the candle tree. These fall-blooming plants are best used as backgrounds for wide flower beds. The plants have attractive foliage over their height of 4 to 6 feet. Candle trees prefer rich, moist soil, and should be fertilized each month with a complete fertilizer. Plants are started from seed in spring.

The copper plant is attractive in summer as well as fall. The main reason bronze foliage is grown in the fall is because it combines well with fall flowers. While they can grow much larger, copper plants normally grow 15 to 30 inches tall in good soils. New plants are started from cuttings in spring and early summer.

Several varieties of Joseph's coat, Alternanthera, are available. The plant is famous for its colors of red, orange, green, and yellow. Usually under 15 inches tall, this native of Brazil is most commonly used as a low-spreading border. Joseph's coat also flourishes in a moist, well fertilized soil. Use a complete and balanced fertilizer. Small plants are available now, or cuttings may be easily rooted from larger plants.

Whatever plants you choose, advance planning is important for an abundance of color this fall.

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