Fantastic Fall Colors
If four-season color is what you seek in your California landscape, we have some fantastic ideas to make it happen. Brilliant fall color is not just an East Coast thing; there are loads of possibilities when it comes to creating spectacular autumn color in mild climates, from trees to shrubs to vines in glowing shades of red, orange, yellow and purple.
Persimmon 'Fuyu' – This sweet little tree is a lovely ornamental with glossy green leaves that offer a dramatic fall display in shades of yellow, orange and red. The bright orange fruit of the Fuyu persimmon begins to develop in late October and often clings to the bare branches of the tree into the month of December. The fruit is highly decorative as well as delicious, a crisp and sweet fall treat.
Koelreuteria paniculata – The Goldenrain tree is a triple hitter for the aesthetic appeal of its flowers, leaves and seed pods. The remarkable display of bright yellow flowers in mid-summer is followed by even more ornamental clusters of papery salmon-colored seed pods that last into October.
Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' – This vigorous tree seems to vibrate with color in the fall. 'Bloodgood' is probably the single most popular upright purple-leafed Japanese maple. Beautiful in color and form, it's easy to grow and has excellent proportions for smaller yards. Leaves are wine-red in spring, holding their color through summer to become vibrantly scarlet in fall.
Pistacia chinensis – If you are looking for summer shade and a fall focal point, Chinese pistache is the tree for you. While its leaves are an attractive dark green during the summer, its primary season of interest is the fall when those leaves turn brilliant colors that rival East coast autumn foliage. Sun-hardy with only occasional water requirements once established, this ornamental tree is a real hit in home gardens and streetscapes.
Parthenocissus tricuspidata 'Veitchii' – Light up the onset of autumn with intense hues of scarlet and fiery purplish red with this variety of Boston ivy. Veitchii makes a good textured covering for any large sunny surface, making it an ideal choice for a wall or fence covering. This vigorous climber has small maple-like leaves that are bright green in summer and a spectacular red in fall.
Berberis thunbergii 'Atropurpurea' – The spreading Redleaf Japanese Barberry is a great all-purpose shrub with showy bronze and purple foliage that turns deep amber in fall. The dense branching habit makes it a superb hedge plant and a fine background shrub against fences and foundations. In spring, scented yellow flowers appear on arching stems.
Vitis californica 'Roger's Red' – The California Grape is a vigorous climber, a favorite native vine for covering arbors, walls and fences. The green and gray leaves of Roger's Red are transformed in autumn into great draperies of rich, scarlet red leaves. The clusters of green summer fruit turn all shades of purple to add to the decadent display. Expect rapid growth.
Liquidambar styraciflua 'Burgundy' – There is no better tree for delivering consistently beautiful fall color in mild climates. The outstanding 'Burgundy' sweetgum is noted for its exceptional burgundy-red fall color. Plant as a spectacular background tree. Leaves turn brilliant wine-red to deep purple-red in fall and last into winter.