10 Edible Plants for Adding Fall Color

10 Edible Plants for Adding Fall Color

When designing a landscape, it is important to think about how the garden will look during different times of the year. Select a variety of plants for your design so there will be interest in every season. For edible landscapes, there are many fruitful plants that will add spectacular fall color as fruit ripens and their leaves change color. Here are 10 of my favorite edibles for adding interest to the autumn garden:


Red and orange foliage of a persimmon tree in fall
Persimmon tree in Los Gatos, CA in November

1. Persimmon trees are one of the best fruit trees for adding brilliant color to the fall landscape. Not only do their leaves turn beautiful shades of orange and red, their tasty cheerful fruit hangs on late into the year as well. If you have the space, try planting multiple varieties of persimmon trees for an extended harvest, greater array of color and improved cross-pollination. 


Yellow foliage and red fruit on a pomegranate tree in November
Pomegranate tree in Santa Cruz, CA in November

2. Pomegranates are great for gardens of any size as they can be kept as small trees or shrubs. Their leaves turn bright yellow and orange before falling. Bright red or pink pomegranate fruits look like merry ornaments amongst the colorful foliage.


Pawpaw tree with yellow fall foliage
Pawpaw tree in Los Gatos, CA in November

3. Pawpaw trees (Asimina triloba) are native to the Eastern United States and Canada, but they grow well in many parts of California as well. These small trees have lovely golden foliage in the fall. Plant a few varieties to encourage cross-pollination and enjoy the tropical tasting fruits.

Walnut tree leaves turning yellow in the fall.
California Walnut tree in Santa Cruz, CA in October

4. Walnut trees are wonderful if you have the space to plant them. Both the California Walnut (pictured) and the English Walnut have bright yellow foliage before losing their leaves for the dormant season.


Bright red leaves on a grapevine in November.
‘Roger’s Red’ grapevine in Los Gatos, CA in November

5. Grape vines will add brilliant fall color to a trellis, fence, arbor or wherever they climb. Different varieties will turn hues of gold, orange or red. Tip: when pruning your grape vines, save the trimmings to make seasonal wreaths!

Jujube leaves turning yellow in November
Jujube in Los Gatos, CA in November

6. Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) is a wonderful slender fruit tree to add to your landscape. Its leaves turn yellow before falling. Plant several varieties together for increased fruit production.

Mulberry leaves turning pale yellow in autumn.
‘Black Beauty’ Mulberry in Los Gatos, CA in November

7. Mulberries are a wonderfully tasty fruit. While most mulberry trees are quite large, some smaller varieties are available for more compact gardens. Their pretty heart-shaped leaves turn pale yellow in the fall.


Asian Pear foliage turns bright yellow in fall.
‘Shinko’ Asian Pear in Los Gatos, CA in November

8. Many Asian pear trees will turn bright yellow or orange in the fall. Responding well to pruning, they can fit in most gardens.

Tree tomato fruits and new purple-red foliage in fall.
Tree tomato in Santa Cruz, CA in November

9. Tree tomato (Solanum betaceum), also known as Tamarillo and Tomate de árbol, is the only evergreen plant I have on this list, keeping its foliage throughout the year. Commonly grown in Colombia and Ecuador, it also grows well in coastal California. It has bright orange or red fruits that start to ripen in the fall and often hold through the winter, looking like classic holiday lights. New leaves will also often appear in our rainy fall season with colorful splashes of red and purple in the new leaves.

Cherry tree leaves turning yellow in fall.
Cherry tree in Los Gatos, CA in November

10. The leaves of many stone fruit trees, such as cherries, plum, apricots and peaches, will turn yellow or orange before dropping for their dormant season. Plant your favorite stone fruit trees that do well in your climate for a canopy of fall color in your garden.

Contact Earth Design Gardens for more colorful edible landscape ideas