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Southern California Gardening: Fall Plant Combos

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Check out some great fall plant combinations for Southern California gardens.

Purple sage is an edible that combines with bright yellows and purples.
New Day Mix Gazania contrasts well with black plants.

By Bonnie Manion

I love the chocolate, bronze and black plant palettes year-round, but especially so in fall. These colors are easy to combine with plants in yellows, oranges, purples, whites and greens. Don’t forget your edibles, such as purple sage or Swiss chard, for surprising fall plant combos.

Some of my favorite black plants are black mondo grass, trailing ‘Blackie’ sweet potato vine, and petite pansies such as Halloween II. These look great with bright-yellow Rudbeckia or colorful New Day Mix Gazania.

Black mondo grass forms a striking contrast with boxwood hedge.

Try planting black mondo grass surrounded by a clipped boxwood hedge, pictured, for a nice fall landscape planting. Add two black standing urns potted with white mums and trailing ivy and you’ve got a gorgeous vignette.

Gran Altura ornamental grass highlights a combination that does well in vintage containers.

This fall I planted two of my vintage vintner baskets with a combination of an ornamental grass called Gran Altura, a bright-yellow Gazania named New Day Red Stripe, and creeping wire vine (Muehlenbeckia). All of these prefer sun and do well in containers.

Gran Altura is a tall perennial ornamental grass that blooms summer to fall. It reminds me of a marshy cattail and a very distinguished ornamental corn plant. For my container I paired the tall Gran Altura with bright-yellow New Day Red Striped Gazania. The red stripe in the Gazania picks up on the bronzy-reddish foliage of the Gran Altura. This Gazania will reach 8 to 10 inches tall and fill in around the base of my container.

Gran Altura shows off an array of mums.

Last, for a wispy, trailing effect, I planted creeping wire vine, with small bronze leaves that complement its companions. It is a dramatic planting, suitable for a large pot or container.

I happened to see the Gran Altura planted in a compact window box, mixed with seasonal orange mums and tiny decorative pumpkins. This is another great fall plant combination.