5 autumn plants for an Indian Summer Vibe

Autumn colours to make your heart sing

We call the period between the end of September and November when the weather is exceptionally mild and sunny an Indian Summer. The corresponding colours are yellow, orange and flame red: shades that you encounter in leaves, flowers and berries. These plants will bring the Indian Summer colour palette to your patio, balcony or garden.

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Cushion chrysanthemum

The Garden Plant of the Month for September is the cushion chrysanthemum. Although the leaves are green, the flowers will still bring colour to your autumn. They come in purple, lilac, cognac, yellow, ochre, white, old pink or dark red, and the innumerable flowers together form a kind of umbrella of colour. This sometimes prevents rainwater from reaching the soil, so pop outside in the autumn sunshine to give your cushion chrysanthemums a drink from time to time. Use the opportunity to remove the wilted flowers as well.


Stunning! In both spring and autumn, the leaves of Photinia change colour to red or bronze, after which blackish blue or red berries appear. Hello autumn. The plant is not fond of wind, so place it in a slightly sheltered spot. Fun fact: did you know that Photinia is a member of the rose family?


Leucothoe has elongated or lanceolate leaves coloured green, pale yellow, pink and red which change colour to dark red/purple in the autumn. The more light the plant gets, the more beautiful the colour change. There’s even a Greek myth about the plant, which tells that Leucothoe was a princess who fell in love with Apollo. Her father disapproved of the relationship, and buried her alive. Apollo saved Leucothoe by transforming her into a plant which still blushes with love.

Skimmia japonica 'Pabella'

Wow, what a plant. The berries of Skimmia japonica 'Pabella' change colour in autumn from green to bright red. You can enjoy the berries for a long time, since birds and small garden mammals are not fond of them. As a reward, provide the plant with rhododendron soil, because Skimmia likes lightly acid soil.


The elegant shrub Nandina offers all sorts of delights in the second half of the year. First there are white plume-shaped flowers, then the leaves undergo a fabulous autumn colour change to rose-red, complete with bright red berries. And as the cherry on the cake, this beauty also maintains a full rose-red display in winter. Place the plant in a light spot, and feed it from time to time. If Nandina's happy, you’ll be happy.

If you’re a fan of Indian Summer colours, share your autumn stars at Instagram, with #thejoyofplants.