Hauntingly Boo-tiful Plants for Halloween and Beyond

Perhaps you are looking to add seasonal plants to your garden for Halloween. Or maybe you want to create a garden theme that leaves a haunting impression throughout the year. 

Selected below are plants that can be incorporated into your planters or landscape to conjure up a little wicked fun based on their name, color or appearance. And some may have a little folklore to them as well.  

Boo-utiful plants for October (USDA Zones 6 to 10) 

Asters – Purple New England Asters add that perfect autumn vibe and they are a great source of late season nectar for bees and butterflies.  

Celosia – Red and pink varieties can create the look of candles or fire in your landscape or containers. A new 2021 AAS Winner to start from seed to try for next season is Celosia Kelos® Candela Pink.  

Coleus – These wonderful foliage plants come in shades of green, black, red and more. And you can find varieties that work well in sun or shade, containers and beds. Favorite picks include Coleus Main Street Beale Street and Coleus Rustic Orange

Coleus Main Street Beale Street

Corn – Grow your own decorations with varieties like Bloody Butcher Corn, Ornamental Striped Japonica Corn, and AAS Winner Sweet American Dream. Did you know that 2020 is the Year of the Corn edible crop from the National Garden Bureau. And don’t forget to grow some for the children too. Maybe even make your own mini-maze. 

Broom Corn – Although not a true corn, Broom Corn is a sorghum grass that produces richly colored shiny seed ‘tassels’ that look like a witches broomstick. And broom corn is great in cut flower arrangements too.  

Devil’s Walking Stick – A very prickly tree, Aralia spinosa adds a bit of macabre interest to your landscape. Plant at your own risk. 

Devil's Walking Stick

Elephant Ear Black Magic – This is a tropical plant with dramatic dark foliage often grown as an annual but can be perennial in warmer zones.

Full Moon Maple – Acer shirasawanum ‘Moonrise‘ is a newer variety with bright red foliage that matures to a warm orange-yellow for the rest of the season into fall. 

Goldenrods – Nothing says fall like the golden shades of solidago. This is another great choice for a late season nectar and pollen source. And surely don’t call them ragweed! I suggest trying Gray Goldenrod – Solidago nemoralis, False Goldenrod – Solidago sphacelata ‘Golden Fleece’, and Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod – Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’

Ghost Fern – In a dark and shady corner of the garden, the showy silver fronds of the delicate Ghost Fern are an eye-catching attraction.  

Ghost Fern

Marigolds – These versatile and easy to grow annuals can really turn on the charm in the cooler season of autumn. Favorite picks include Mr. Majestic, Super Hero Spry, and Big Duck Orange.  

Chrysanthemums – The classic autumn garden mum comes in an assortment of flower colors and can be enjoyed as a seasonal annual or hardy perennial. 

Ornamental Peppers – Add a bit of kick to your fall garden party with ornamental peppers like AAS Winner Onyx Red, Midnight Fire, Calico, and Twilight.

Pansies – A cool season garden and container staple, pansy flowers come in shades of purple, red, orange, yellow, white and more. Favorites picks include Pansy Cool Wave® Morpho and Viola cornuta Penny™ Red Blotch

Peek-a-Boo Plant – This is an adorable plant with a common name that refers to the interesting flowers that resemble eyeballs…and in shades of candy corn too! In warmer climates this can be perennial but is most often grown as an annual and blooms from late summer into fall.   

Peek a boo plant

Pumpkins and Squash – Yes you can grow your own gourds with these AAS Winners – Cinderella’s Carriage, Super Moon, and American Tondo

Sweet Potato Vine – Sweet Caroline Bewitched After Midnight™ is a dark foliage sweet potato vine perfect for that filler plant in fall containers. 

Spiderwort – Tradescantia pallida ‘Purple Queen’ is a purple foliage and flower variety often sold as a houseplant or occasionally used as an outdoor annual in cooler climates (perennial in warmer zones).   

Witch Hazel- A great choice for the fall garden, Hamamelis virginiana is known as Virginia Witch-hazel. This late fall blooming shrub produces yellow fringe-like flowers when few other things are blooming. 

Hamamelis virginiana

More hauntingly fun plants to keep your spirits up year round:  

I hope this connects you with some plant fun to add to your garden indoors or out. 

Tracy Blevins

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