I'm always looking for perennial plants that will add color to our fall garden. I've been noticing the last few years how fall has become a beautiful time of year for perennial flowers. Certainly you can plant mums, goldenrod, asters, sedums and plants with brightly colored leaves for fall, but I've been surprised at a few other plants offering a second coming of color in autumn. One of the best are the shrub roses.
Fall is perfect for roses. The cooler weather, more consistent rains and lack of pests, such as Japanese beetles, allows many of these ever bloomers a chance to send up a final round of blossoms. Plus, I think the fall light levels make the flower colors pop this time of year.
One of my favorite shrub roses is ‘Bonica’. It grows 3 feet tall with soft pink flowers. Even when it’s not flowering it’s an attractive shrub. Some of shrubs roses sprawl more than grow vertically, like the ‘Red Carpet’ rose. It grows 2- to 3-feet tall and 3- to 4-feet wide. The flower color range has expanded, too, beyond just reds and pinks. The Drift series offers a double flowered, 'Rosy Apricot' colored beauty that's only 2 feet tall and wide. There's even fragrance on some shrub roses, such as those in the dwarf, Oso Easy series.
While the shrub roses provide a fall colored bush, repeat blooming perennials such as geraniums, salvia and centaurea also add color. To get them to bloom now, cut back plants after each flush of flowers in summer and keep the plants well watered.