Plants - Vines and Groundcovers

Vines and creepers for fall interest

Anne Marie Van Nest

Round out the season with a colourful flourish of groundcovers and climbers

Vines are versatile and can be used as backdrops that complement upright, fall-blooming plants such as Michaelmas daisies and dwarf Joe Pye weed; they also look particularly attractive with the many vibrant yellow, orange and red daisy-like blooms that proliferate at this time of year.

Vines can also scramble along the ground, weaving through late-season perennials, their brilliantly coloured foliage a dramatic counterpoint to fall blooms. The maroon, bronze and red leaves of some vines and groundcovers are attractively accentuated by silver-toned or pink-coloured perennials.

Perfect partners

1. ‘Purple Dome’ Michaelmas daisy (Aster novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’ syn. Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’)

HEIGHT 45 cm SPREAD 35 to 45 cm

DESCRIPTION purple dome of blooms in September and October; dwarf form; sturdy stems rarely need staking

DESIGN ADVANTAGE for a striking combination, grow with the fiery fall foliage of ‘Gro-Low’ fragrant sumac Zone 3

2. ‘Gateway’ Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium maculatum ‘Gateway’)

HEIGHT 1.25 to 2 m SPREAD 1 to 1.25m

DESCRIPTION compact, upright form with masses of tiny, rosy red blooms from midsummer through fall; whorls of dark green leaves on sturdy, burgundy stems

DESIGN ADVANTAGE provides great complementary colour to purple- or maroon-foliaged vines such as Virginia creeper; attractive to bees and butterflies Zone 4

3. ‘Low Down’ dwarf willow-leafed sunflower (Helianthus salicifolius ‘Low Down’)

HEIGHT 30 cm SPREAD 30 to 50 cm

DESCRIPTION numerous bright yellow, daisy-like blooms from September to October hide its fuzzy, green foliage

DESIGN ADVANTAGE dramatic contrast of colour and form when planted in groups among dwarf blue plumbago Zone 6

4. ‘Fireworks’ goldenrod (Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’)

HEIGHT 1 m SPREAD 60 to 90 cm

DESCRIPTION upright form with arching branches laden with tiny, bright yellow blooms from September onward; dark green foliage holds up well in hot, humid weather

DESIGN ADVANTAGE wonderful accent when grown through a groundcover of Virginia creeper or purple-leafed grape Zone 4

Read more in Plants and Vines and Groundcovers

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