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Let's Argue About Plants

Sep 2, 2022

What gardener doesn’t like something a bit out-of-the ordinary, right? Especially when it’s a plant that puts on a serious show as the final curtain call is happening. Today we highlight some of our favorite unusual fall perennials, options that are interesting cultivars of a genus you may know, and weird oddballs you’ve likely never heard of. Just a heads up that we may have cheated a teeny, tiny bit and thrown in a shrub or even a tender perennial to keep you on your toes. Regardless the plants you’ll hear about on this episode are all exceptional autumnal stars that will stop garden visitors in the tracks to ask, “What on earth is that?”

Expert testimony: Matt Mattus is the author of two books: Mastering the Art of Flower Gardening and Mastering the Art of Vegetable Gardening. He gardens in Worcester, Massachusetts.


Danielle’s Plants

‘Snow Fairy’ blue mist shrub (Caryopteris divaricata 'Snow Fairy', Zones 6-9)

‘Lady in Black’ calico aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum ‘Lady in Black’, Zones 3-8)

‘Golden Angel’ Japanese shrub mint (Leucosceptrum japonicum 'Golden Angel', 5-8)

Sapphire berry (Symplocos paniculata, Zones 4-8)


Carol’s Plants

‘Chocolate’ Joe Pye weed (Eupatoriam rugosum ‘Chocolate’, Zones 4-8)

October daphne sedum (Sedum sieboldii, Zones 3-8)

'Black Negligee' bugbane (Actaea simplex 'Black Negligee', Zones 5-8)

‘Goldtau’ tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa 'Goldtau', Zones 4-9)


Expert’s Plants

 ‘True Blue’ gentian (Gentiana makinoi x scabra ‘True Blue’, Zones 4-8)

‘Milk Bottles’ bottle gentian  (G. andrewsii ‘Milk Bottles’, Zones 4-8)

Summer gentian (G. septemfida syn. G. septemfida var. lagodechian, Zones 4-7)

Tuberose (Agave amica syn. Poloanthes tuberosa, Zones 7-11)

The Pearl’, ‘Single’ (notable cultivars)

Weeping golden toad lily (Tricyrtis macrantha subsp. macranthopsis, Zones 4-9)

Ohsumi toad lily (T. ohsumensis, Zones 4-9)

Asian toad lily (T. formosana, Zones 4-9)

‘Samuri’, ‘Autumn Glow’, ‘Gilt Edge’ (notable cultivars)

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta, Zones 3-9)

Sonora’, Prairie Sun’, ‘Goldrush’, ‘Goldilocks’, ‘Cherokee Sunset’, ‘Autumn Colors’, ‘Chim Chiminee’ (notable cultivars)

Brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba, Zones 4-8)