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7 Plants to Pep Up Your Fall Landscape

Maybe mum's not the word—at least not the only word—when it comes to making your garden grow beautifully this season. Try these plants for new takes on autumn color.

Written by Sally Finder Weepie

1. Ornamental peppers

Courtesy of Ball Horticultural

If you really want to make your patio sizzle, plant some 'Hot Pops Purple' ornamental peppers. The little fruits—both purple and orange on one plant—bring brilliant color to your pots. They eat up the cool fall weather, but you might not want to eat them—they're crazy-hot, really for show rather than a dinner salad.  

2. Kale

Courtesy of Ball Horticultural

If you do want to dine on what you grow, consider kale. Tasty varieties like this 'Simply Salad Kale Storm Mixture' thrive in containers during cool weather. They bring beauty to your pots and a whole lot of nutrition to your table. Or if you just want to look, not eat, plenty of strictly ornamental varieties of kale also are available.

3. Pansies

Courtesy of Ball Horticultural

Talk about a plant whose name misses the mark! These gorgeous little flowers look delicate, but they're as tough as they come. Try the 'Cool Wave' variety—they love chilly temps, and they look beautiful as they spread and trail out of mixed containers. Plus they’re hardy to Zone 5, so they’ll pop back up in spring if you plant them in the ground in the fall.

4. Zinnia

Courtesy of Ball Horticultural

Looking for a lot of color without a lot of hassle? Try 'Zahara' zinnias! They're one of the easiest plants to grow, and while other plants are drooping after months in the hot summer sun, these mildew-resistant wonders are catching their second wind and delivering cheery color for fall containers. Just be aware that they're not a big fan of frost. Bring zinnia containers inside when temps dip down to 32 degrees, and you'll extend their growing season.

5. Snapdragon

Courtesy of Ball Horticultural

Like zinnias, snapdragons won't survive a hard freeze, but they grow like gangbusters in cool weather, making them a great choice for fall color. The 'Potomac' variety can handle a touch of frost. Bonus: They're deer-resistant, so you won't wake up to find your blooms in Bambi's belly.

6. Marigold

Courtesy of Ball Horticultural

Another great deer-proof plant is the marigold, offering low maintenance and tons of brilliant color in containers. They thrive through the autumn season, lasting until freezing weather finally brings them down.

7. Dianthus

Courtesy of Ball Horticultural

For electrifying color and excellent frost tolerance, add dianthus to your pots. They're very hardy, deer-resistant, and will even survive a visit from Jack Frost to make your autumn garden glow.