Two Season Colors

“Two Season Colors”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

It is not surprising that in springtime when we go shopping for plants to add to our garden that we pick flowers and foliage plants in bright, cheery, summery colors.  Colors, such as yellow, bright pink, and orange, all seem to say “summer”, and, after a long, often dreary winter, we seem to need those bright colors.  Think of tropical hibiscus and purslane that come in those sherbert colors.

But, some of those colors also transition into autumn.  Take the orange, for instance.  My sister’s tangerine lantana was perfect for the hot summer, but, now that it is fall, the color blends in with the cooler weather.  Think pumpkins, gourds, and squash.


Another example is Sweet Caroline ornamental sweet potatoe vine.  When it first shows up in the garden centers in the spring, it also seems perfect for a summer garden.  But, now it has a second life as a fall showstopper with its gorgeous bronze-colored leaves spilling out into the garden.


Finally, we come to coleus, that great summer annual that can also be a great transition into fall.  In the softer, more golden sunlight of autumn, many of the coleus just seem to glow.  The bright lemon yellow of summer takes on a more mellow tone.  Even the reds seem more burgundy than the bright red of spring.


So, next spring, when I am planning out my summer garden, I will make sure and take into account the colors of summer that can transition into fall.



  1. Jon Pen said,

    November 5, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Jan, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your comment. Your post above makes lots of sense to me as I too like to get more than one “season” from plants I grow, especially when it comes to colors of their foliage. I have noticed this aspect with Sweet Caroline when I grew it previous years. This year I only planted Margarita and Ace of Spades ornamental sweet potatoes but they don’t seem to be doing anything colorful or interesting this fall as compared to Sweet Caroline.

    Best regards, Jon at Mississippi Garden

  2. Jan said,

    November 5, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Thanks, Jon. I, too, have Margarita and Ace of Spades which are still doing well, but you are right, they don’t have that fall feeling like Sweet Caroline.

  3. valwebb said,

    November 5, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    We’re on the same wavelength, Jan! I’ve also been reflecting on fall colors in the garden. That tangerine lantana is lovely, by the way.

  4. Curtis said,

    November 6, 2008 at 5:00 am

    I like them all. I never really thought of them as a fall plants but they do look good in the warmer months of fall.

  5. Jan said,

    November 6, 2008 at 5:06 am

    Valwebb, I like the tangerine, too, esp. at this time of year, maybe even more than in the summer.

    Curtis, for those of us who have a long fall, these plants are great. I guess for the gardeners who already have had killing frosts, these wouldn’t work as well. They also, give us some of that fall color that the trees don’t give us this far south where I live.

  6. fairegarden said,

    November 6, 2008 at 6:04 am

    Hi Jan, your annuals (here) that give you fall color are fabulous! The coleus and sweet caroline have bit the dust, they can take no frost at all and turn to puddles overnight. But the length of color they give is more than enough reason for them to have a place here in the containers. With the coleus, there are so many color variations now, you could make a miniature forest of fall foliage with them!

  7. Randy said,

    November 6, 2008 at 10:17 am

    I LOVE that Tangerine Lantana! I’ll be on a search for that one next year. 🙂

  8. Brenda Kula said,

    November 6, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    My lantana of the same hue is popping back up and blooming now that cooler weather is here. It kind of pooped out there for awhile. But then most everything does in the heat. The coleus has come back from the dead too. I’m really enjoying the garden right now. I can’t get myself into a holiday mood because I spend all my time out there!

  9. Jan said,

    November 7, 2008 at 5:35 am

    Frances, one of the nice things about living in the South is that we get a long growing season out of our annuals. We start planting summer ones in April or May and they last until November or December. Many of the tender perennials will make it through the winter. I have some red pentas that are years old. I know where you garden they don’t last as long because of the cold temps that come in the autumn but that is why containers are so nice for a quick protection plan from frost.

    Randy, isn’t that tangerine color fantastic. I was with my sister when she bought it, and I wasn’t too impressed with that color until I saw it growing in her garden. Now, that it is fall and the color is so great for this season, I’m with you – I’ll be looking for it next spring.

    Brenda, my lantana stopped blooming, too, but I think mine did because I was having to water everything around it so much. I have found it really likes to be on the dry side. I agree, that the weather has been so gorgeous lately that being in the garden is such a treat after the heat of the summer, and it is hard to think of the holidays which seem to be fast approaching.

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