Natural Velvet: Plush Plants For Fall

Every autumn I crave sturdy, cozy fabrics like wool, tweed, corduroy, and… velvet? Maybe not to wear, but I do love velvety plants. How did they get so fuzzy? Are they just trying to keep themselves warm like the rest of us? Probably not, but they are so pretty…

1. If it wasn't for writing this post, I never would have heard of Lion's Ear (Leonotis leonurus), a charming fall-bloomer. Nestmaker spotted it in a nursery and snapped the lovely photo.

2. Last Halloween I featured Celosia, writing that it "is also known as cockscomb or brainflower, and a row of it in your garden will make you look like the neighborhood mad scientist." But I neglected to mention how luxuriously velvety it is. Whenever we have celosia in the flower shop where I work, it sells out in nothing flat.

3. A friend gave me a potted little Gynura aurantiaca Purple Velvet Plant, and it glows just as it does in the photo above. I usually don't go for purple but this specimen, available from Georgia Vines, is irresistible.

4. Margaret Roach of A Way To Garden has a lot of great information about this delicately velvety beauty, the episcia Flame Violet. It's so sweet!

5. A few years ago Laure Joliet wrote a post for Apartment Therapy entitled Great Drought Tolerant Plant: Kangaroo Paw. I can vouch for the fact that people love this Australian beauty.

6. The most delicious of the fuzzy bunch are the quinces, just starting to appear at the markets here in California. Last winter I wrote about their intoxicating aroma, with a special shout-out to "their chartreuse brilliance, with hints of grey fuzz". Young quinces, like the one above photographed by Permies, are insanely fuzzy, growing more golden and less flocked as they mature.

7. & 8. Let the greys begin! Lamb's Ear and Dusty Miller are two of my favorite Ghostly Grey Plants For Autumn, as their neutral grey makes colors pop, while their fascinating texture and form add interest to bouquets.

9. Common Mullein is another grey beauty, though I've never seen it in person. Wikipedia can tell you all about it, but for some reason Finnish Wikipedia has the prettiest picture. What a looker!

(All images as credited above.)