Shopping for plants can be fun or nerve-wracking. Having a color scheme and sticking to it can help narrow down the choices made for bedding plants. There are four colors I tend to see in any garden, whether it be evergreen or deciduous. Those colors that are it in the flower, fruit, leaf or bark tend to be either a shade of burgundy, yellow, green, or blue. Incorporate combinations of two or all into a design for any landscape. A list of plant choices in the burgundy color scheme will assist at the garden center in deciding which are excellent choices for space and light requirements in your landscape.
Burgundy Native Plants
Everyone wants low maintenance (which does not mean ‘no maintenance’) plants in the garden. I agree. Unless the plant is worth it for personal reasons, I recommend letting it take form and shape naturally. No hedge trimmers, please! The following native plants for the garden have that favorite shade of burgundy that gives a rich vividness.
Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Summer Wine’)
This native is low maintenance because it can tolerate drought and variable pH levels. The white flowers grow lush up the stem forming corymbs, and stand out against the burgundy leaf color on the plant. When the leaves have dropped in the winter, the bark tends to exfoliate, giving an additional season of interest in the garden. Summer Wine grows in a rounded spreading shape. It can reach 6′ by 6′, making it a beautiful burgundy bedding plant. Try pairing it with tints of red or pink Knock Out Roses to play off the color. Placing a ground cover under it like Lysimachia nummularia with its yellow chartreuse leaves will be a nice shot of color and brighten the space. The chartreuse in the Lysimachia (Creeping Jenny) also compliments the tints of gold found in the newly forming leaves. The stems themselves on this drought-tolerant shrub have a burgundy shade that colors the space too.
Carolina Allspice (Calycanthus floridus)
You can’t walk by this in bloom without smelling it. Its fruity smell is why its common name is Carolina allspice. The burgundy flowers are hard to ignore in the spring, and the leaves turn a golden yellow in fall, making it very colorful for the native garden. Place these in a sunny location or part shade. They are deer tolerant and will adapt to clay or wet soils. This one was near the pond at the Biltmore Estate. This one will naturalize and spread with suckering roots. Use it as a screen where you need privacy. It will reach upwards of 8′ by 10′ wide. Placing it near a seating area will gain extra pleasure to enjoy its fragrance.
Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
This show stopper specimen tree in the spring is one of my favorite spring bloomers. Its early floral display is stunning, with tiny purple edible flowers that burst open on bare branches. The purple-burgundy heart-shaped leaves emerge soon after. This April bloomer pairs well with forsythia and early blooming creeping phlox nearby. Adding Delta Blue pansies or muscari blooms nearby the purple flowers makes a beautiful display each spring. Double the pleasure by setting your blue pansies out in the fall. The color drama starts when the leaves of the Redbud turn yellow, pairing nicely with the pansies that will pop their beautiful heads out the following spring! The Redbud can be used as an understory tree, performing well in regular and consistent moisture in full sun to part shade. Place it in a naturalized setting near a woodland border or near a patio where you can sit and take in all the breathtaking beauty throughout the season.
Ornamental Burgundy Plants that Show Off
Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris)
This warm-season perennial grass is not noticed until fall when you suddenly think the circus has come to town and left all the cotton candy is in your garden. Its dramatic clouds of fall flowers (September-November) give a wispy display that will stop the neighbors to ask, ‘What is it? I’ve got to have some.’ It doesn’t take up much room, only 3 ft. tall and wide, and tucks in nicely to a perennial border or cottage garden. The pink to mauve inflorescences blooms awhile in the fall, making the wait worth it. It can tolerate black walnut trees and drought, which makes it a keeper in areas where nothing else will grow. Group them to make a broader swath of color and team it with blue-green evergreens or purple asters for contrast.
Japanese Maple ‘Crimson Queen’ (Acer palmatum var.dissectum)
If you need a focal point in the garden to enjoy year-round, look no more. Its low-hanging branches drape like a curtsy and make for a sculptural display even when the leaves have dropped. The burgundy leaves look like lace hankies waving back and forth in a breeze. Don’t take your eyes off this 10 ft. tall, wide, delicate sweetheart. Plant this where you can enjoy from all sides in partial to full sun. Contrast it with chartreuse-colored plants or pops of purple and blue evergreens, such as Blue Star Juniper, to accentuate its burgundy leaves.
Burgundy Foliage Plants
If you have a dry, well-drained area and you need a colorful groundcover, try this burgundy perennial. It’s rabbit and deer tolerant and bonus; it helps with soil erosion. This would be great on a border or creeping around rock croppings. The burgundy foliage plant thrives in full sun.
Coral Bells (Heuchera ‘Plum Pudding‘)
This showy foliage plant has a burgundy leaf that stops every passerby. Their foliage mounds and does best in part shade. Get double duty of this one by popping in a container garden, then removing and placing into the border garden. A woodland garden is a great place to plant and enjoy in the shade. Its height can reach a little over 2 ft. tall and wide.
Redhead Coleus (Solenostemon scuttellarioides)
Nothing gets more attention than this burgundy foliage plant. Its annual color tucked in just the right places make for spectacular fireworks of color in a garden where it can have partial sun. I love to team mine with blue Angelonia and Diamond Frost Euphorbia. The contrast in colors make them showstoppers and rightly so! These grew from 1-gallon size containers and reached 24 inches in height and about the same in width. I grow them every year in my garden.
So the next time you are at the garden center and looking for a variety of color for your garden landscape design in Hendersonville, NC, try this list of burgundy plants to add a dramatic color combination into your plant palette. If you need a landscape design in the Henderson or Buncombe County area, give me a call, and we can discuss your project.
The Homeowner’s Complete Tree & Shrub Handbook, Penelope O’Sullivan
Three Cheers for Ninebark: Physocarpus opulifolius