When choosing plants for our gardens we tend to focus on those that will provide us with outstanding flowers or amazing foliage. What we sometimes neglect to think about are the plants seed heads.
Many plants produce very attractive seed heads going into the late summer and early fall garden season. Some of us are neat freaks and get busy cutting down these plants as at this stage they may be perceived as finished for the season or even a tad messy. Many seed heads however offer beauty for the garden late into the season, not to mention the benefit they have for birds and other wildlife.
By not removing these seed heads you can extend the interest of your garden for several weeks. These seed heads are attractive not only on their own, but also complement your other fall flowering plants and leaf coloring plantings. Attractive seed heads are not only found in perennials but also annuals, vegetables and grains. Following is a collection of plants that offer pleasing seed heads, any of which you could add to your garden.
Nigella damascena or “Love-in-a mist” is an easy annual to grow from seed in early spring. It creates green puffy pods that age to light brown with a purple stripe.
Lunaria or “Money plant” is a biennial that in it’s second year produces round, flat, paper like seed pods. Once picked you can peel off the tan covering leaving you with a beautiful silvery white membrane.
Nicandra physalodes or “Shoo-fly plant” has lovely blue and white blossoms that age into paper like brown, lantern shaped husks.
Amaranthus or “Love lies bleeding” develops green, red or rusty orange plumes.
Eryngium or “Ivory thistle” form elongated seed heads circled with spiny bracts around the base of the seed head.
Rudbeckia or “Cone-flowers” of all types produce large, rounded or elongated seed heads. Scabious have round, attractive, spiky seed heads.
Echinops or “Globe thistle” is part of the thistle family. They produce beautiful round, steel-gray heads.
Solidago or “Goldenrod” produces spiky or plumelike seed head, making for great contrast in your beds.
Acanthus or “Bear’s breeches” create seedpods on strong, vertical stalks.
Alliums or “Ornamental onions” create large, splendid, starburst seed heads.
Physalis alkekengi or “Chinese lantern” produces showy, puff like orange pods. Watch this plant carefully as it can be quite invasive.
Zea mays or “Indian corn” is an ornamental corn with colorful seed cobs ripening in the fall.
Sorghum develops large, plume like seed heads in rusty gold and brown tones. Poppies, both annual and perennial types have gorgeous, bulb shaped seed heads on long strong stems.
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