The South, known for many things; great food, hospitality, humidity and palm trees. Though one thing not usually noted about the south are vibrant Fall colors. To enjoy anything like this we usually need to take a drive up I-95 to enjoy the beautiful hardwood trees and all their crayola-esque glory atop mountain and hillsides of the Appalachians. Our landscape is dominated mostly by tropicals, evergreens and Spring/Summer blooming flowers. This doesn’t mean however that you can’t enjoy/plant something to give yourself a fall treat….a fall treat that lasts longer than a Pumpkin Spice Latte that is.
Virginia Sweetspire – Zone 5-9
This shrub is great for beginners due to how tolerant it can be toward soil type and drainage issues. It is extremely easy to grow and produces a purple-red foliage in the Fall. The Virginia Sweetspire is best suited for partial sun/partial shade and moist soil and needs to be watered often. It looks great planted in a natural garden among our Southern Azaleas and Camellias.
Oakleaf Hydrangea – Zone 5 – 9
Like most hydrangeas, the oakleaf hydrangeas require some sun and well-drained soil to thrive. They are easy to grow in places with hot summers making them a great choice for our area. In addition, once established, they are drought resistant and virtually disease and pest free. Keep in mind when choosing a spot for your oakleaf that they grow to be 10’ tall with an 8’ spread.
Beautyberry – Zone 4 – 9
The Beautyberry is a shrub known for its tightly clustered purple berries. It grows quickly and should be planted in light shade and well-drained soil. They can endure short droughts but prefer at least an inch of rain, or water of some sort, a week.
Tuliptree – Zone 4-9
The tallest of the eastern hardwoods, this fast-growing tree is recognizable by its tulip-shaped leaves. Its spreading canopy makes this a good shade or ornamental tree. The Tuliptree likes direct sun for at least 6 hours a day. Typically, it likes normal moisture but can tolerate drought in humid regions.
Red Maple – Zone 3-9
The Red Maple is grown all over the U.S. because it is so tolerant of many types of soils. It is a medium to fast growing tree; growing, on average, between 13” and 24” each year. Plant your Red Maple in wet soil and full sun if you can. If you find yourself in trouble do not worry the maple is a hardy tree and does have a slight drought tolerance that can protect your hard work.