Indian Summer: plants of the month for September

During an Indian summer the garden exceeds all your expectations, particularly with these five remarkable accent plants that bring even more colour to your life. 

Making summer last a little longer
It’s becoming increasingly common to have an unusual period of warm, dry weather in the northern hemisphere in September and October during which you can still comfortably enjoy your garden. The phenomenon is called an Indian summer, and is characterised by the fabulous changing colours of nature and a lengthening of the garden season. A lot of the plants in your garden will be past their peak, but with Indian Summer plants you can bring new life, new greenery and particularly plenty of colour to the scene. These are late bloomers that only put on their show now with fabulous leaves and spectacular berries, but also plants with staying power that bring colour and excitement to your garden until well into the autumn and the winter. And that golden Indian summer starts now.

5 x Indian Summer at home

Trumpet vine is a climber that flowers profusely in late summer with orange, red and yellow trumpet-shaped flowers. There are also compact varieties for small gardens or to place in pots.

Spindle tree has crimson leaves and vermilion fruit which contain orange seeds. The colder it gets, the more leaves the plant sheds, the better the berries are displayed: they stay on the plant the longest.

Japanese andromeda displays fabulous copper, pink, bronze or golden green foliage in the autumn which fits perfectly with the changing colours of nature.

Beautyberry looks like the last remains of summer are squeezed together into the small burgundy berries that lend colour to the garden until well into the winter. There are also species on which the leaves change colour beautifully.

Smoke tree blooms in plumes that resemble pink clouds, and combines that with eye-catching foliage that can turn red and dark purple.

How Indian is that summer really?
Although this term is widely used, the extension of summer is so remarkable that every country has its own name for it, such as oudewijvenzomer, Altweibersommer, sintmichielszomer, Brittsommar, Babí léto or St. Luke’s summer. The term was first used in an American essay in 1778: it was how the original colonists in America described this remarkable late summer phenomenon which was most intense in the regions where they were living at the time.

“This strangely still pause between summer and autumn, greenery and gold, is one of the best parts of living on earth.”
Victoria Erikson

How to keep Indian Summer plants looking good

  • All Indian Summer plants like a position with some sun, but can also tolerate partial shade.
  • Choose rich, well-draining soil.
  • The plants for an Indian Summer are accent plants that like to have some space to ensure they look their best.
  • Fertilise before the growing season and before the winter.
  • Prune in moderation before the growing season that starts in March.

Indian Summer styling
Allow the Indian Summer plants to shine by keeping the base simple. Black pots, grey containers and a single shiny element create a mood of harmony and clarity that fits well with an enjoyable Indian summer in the garden. The selection makes it possible to create a sheltered garden room with trumpet vine and beautyberry as tall plants and the other three as low and semi-tall container plants. Add a fire bowl, grab some marshmallows, and just relax. 

Garden Plant of the Month
Plants for an Indian Summer are the Garden Plants for September 2019. The ‘Garden Plant of the Month’ is an initiative from the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose one or more plants which are particularly popular with consumers, or which are not (yet) particularly well-known but which have the potential to do well in the garden, on the patio or on the balcony.