The lazy days of summer may be over, but it’s not time to put your garden to bed yet. In fact, the cooler autumn temperatures make it a perfect season to add more interest to your garden and extend its beauty with fall blooming plants. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite, fabulous fall flowers to plant now to ensure your garden is filled with color and texture until frost arrives. After all, as temperatures dip, fall provides the perfect time to entertain friends in your garden. It’s also a great time to relax and relish the changing seasons.
Extend Blooms to Benefit Wildlife
Spring and summer gardens constantly produce beautiful blooms to attract pollinators, but as warm-season flowers fade, bees, birds, and butterflies need new food sources—particularly prior to migration or hibernation. By adding late-blooming perennials to your garden, you’re providing energy sources for pollinators missing from many gardens.
Consider, for instance, monarch butterflies’ long journey to overwintering habitats in Mexico or southern California. Although planting milkweed receives much press to ensure a food source for monarch larva, late-season blooms prove equally necessary to supply energy for the butterflies’ migration.
Hummingbirds also appreciate fall nectar sources before their long flights to warmer climates, and you’ll enjoy watching them zip and dive in the garden as they enjoy the beautiful fall blooms. Of course, bees—both native and honeybees—delight in late season flowers, as many of their favorite summer pollen sources disappear in fall. If you’re a wildlife lover, adding autumn-blooming perennials increases your garden visitors.
Boost Vegetable Garden Harvests
Do you grow a cool-season vegetable garden, filled with cabbage, cauliflower, and carrots? If so, add a border of autumn blooming perennials near your kitchen garden. As pollinators visit the fall blooming flowers, your cool-season crops will reap the benefits, improving harvest yields with pollinators and discouraging pests, like aphids and cabbage worms, by inviting beneficial predatory insects into the garden to control destructive insect populations. Plus, not only do fall flowers attract beneficial insects, they make vegetable gardens more attractive, too.
Brighten Fall Landscapes
Whether you plant for pollinators or want to increase your veggie harvest, fall flowers brighten gardens, providing aesthetically pleasing color and form when summer’s blooms disappear. As warm-season flowers fade, adding fall blooming perennials perks up your landscape—and your attitude! While autumn’s foliage show may be impressive, there’s nothing nicer than bright bursts of blooming color in the garden to complement the changing colors of leaves. Plus, some fall blooming perennials produce their own spectacular foliage display in addition to fabulous flowers.
As the leaves change into russets and yellows, autumn perennial blooms offer many colors options. From traditional fall shades of oranges and yellows to hot pink, cool blue, or elegant white, you’ll find options to please your design sense. Plus, many fall blooming perennials function beautifully as cut flowers, adding double the pleasure as you enjoy the blooms both in the garden—and in a vase.
16 Fabulous Fall Flowers
We’ve included a mix of our favorite fall flowering perennials to add to your garden. Some of the plants begin blooming earlier in the year but continue throughout fall, while others prefer the cooler autumn temperatures before they produce a show.
Native to China and cultivated in Japan for centuries, Japanese Anemone offers a terrific transition for fall gardens. With lovely flowers forming over pretty leaves, the plants tolerate partial shade and colonize well after a few years, spreading by rhizomes. While many varieties grow rather tall, our Pretty Lady Series stays nicely compact, reaching just 16 inches high. Ideal for borders, containers, or cutting gardens, the Pretty Lady plants bloom from August through November. Look for ‘Pretty Lady Julia’ (pictured), a double-blooming pink flower with yellow centers or the elegant white blooms of ‘Pretty Lady Maria’.
A great addition to fall gardens, these low-maintenance, daisy-like flowers offer a pretty burst of color in autumn. Pollinators appreciate the late-season blooms. For a bright addition, try compact, disease-resistant ‘Vibrant Dome’—with hot raspberry-pink flowers.
Summer blooming Buddleja continues its show into fall, feeding butterflies, as the name suggests. However, this flowering shrub not only benefits butterflies, it also provides hummingbirds, bees, moths, and other beneficial insects with a terrific nectar source as other summer flowers fade in fall. Sweetly scented ‘Butterfly Heaven’ produces lavender florets with orange eyes from July through September. The pollinators will appreciate the addition of this extremely floriferous shrub to your garden.
Coneflowers always make a great addition to gardens. They’re tough, drought resistant, easy to grow, bloom for months, and pollinators love them! You’ll find many Echinacea cultivars available, but for a pretty addition for autumn gardens, try the golden yellow, orange, magenta, and tomato-red hues of ‘Cheyenne Spirit’. Blooming from summer through fall, it also makes a pretty addition to cutting gardens.
If you’re looking for a conversation starter for your garden, add Eryngium to your beds. The gorgeous, architectural plant not only adds height to your garden design, it adds a brilliant blue accent along with interesting texture. Try ‘Big Blue’ for a bold, 4-inch bloom that adds a pop of blue from July through September.
Cranesbill Hardy Geranium
If you’re looking for a beautiful, spreading ground cover that blooms from summer through autumn—and often until frost, depending on the variety—you need to add Geranium to your borders or hanging baskets. While you may already love Rozanne®, add ‘Sylvia’s Surprise’ or Blue Sunrise to your garden. Not only will you appreciate the long bloom period, these beauties also boast red foliage as the temperatures cool, adding an extra element of interest to your fall garden.
Unlike its common name, Helenium really doesn’t aggravate allergies—instead, it was historically used to make snuff. The bright, daisy-like blooms begin in summer and continue throughout autumn. For smaller spaces or borders, plant ‘Pipsqueak’—an unusual dwarf variety that grows only 20 inches tall. Pollinators love the golden-yellow flowers with copper-colored disks.
Bouquets of sunflowers seem synonymous with autumn, and new introductions make growing Helianthus easy—even for small-space gardeners. If 12-foot sunflowers overwhelm your space, try ‘Low Down’—a petite, 12-inch variety perfect for adding gorgeous autumn color to small gardens, borders, or containers.
If you love mums in your fall garden, skip the grocery store variety and add perennial mums to your beds and containers. With our Dendranthema Igloo Series, you’ll find a wide range of colors—from traditional yellow and orange to hot pink and white—in heights ranging from 24 inches (‘Cool Igloo’) to 14 inches (‘Sizzling Igloo’) to petite 8-12 inches (‘Dainty Pink Igloo’) (pictured) . With 18 options that bloom late summer through fall, you’re sure to find the perfect perennial mum for your autumn garden. Best of all—these mums require no pinching to create pretty mounds!
Cheerful, bright daisy-like flowers of Heliopsis begin their show in summer, then continue to add color to the garden throughout autumn. Oxeye is perfect for pollinators, as well as a great addition to cutting gardens. To keep your vases full all fall, try ‘Bressingham Doubloon’ in your garden.
Red Hot Poker
If you’re looking for a bold bloom that adds vertical interest in your landscape, add Kniphofia. A favorite of hummingbirds, the flower spikes add hot color to liven up the garden. Similarly, the bright orange blooms of ‘Elvira’ blooms from summer through fall.
Think that only jewel tones can fill your autumn garden? Think again! If you love pretty pinks, add Lychnis flos-cuculi ‘Petite Jenny’. The 14-inch plant is topped with masses of soft, lavender-pink blooms from early summer through autumn. It’s perfect for borders, cottage gardens, meadow gardens, and containers.
Do you think of roses as fabulous fall flowers? Not all roses are prima donnas that require high maintenance! Rosa Blushing Knock Out® provides a long season of easy, pretty blooms, resisting disease like powdery mildew and black spot. Enjoy the self-cleaning flowers from June through fall—no deadheading needed!
Bright yellow blooms of Rudbeckia offer a perfect addition to fall gardens, but common black-eyed Susan often grows spindly and topples in rainstorms. For a sturdy, floriferous plant that thrives all autumn, try ‘Viette’s Little Suzy’ (pictured). Masses of showy yellow flowers liven up the garden, and also add additional autumn interest. The foliage turns a rich mahogany as the temperatures cool.
Pretty pink flowers atop variegated foliage make Sedum Autumn Charm™ a choice variety to grow in your fall garden. The foliage creates a pretty display, while the pollinators appreciate the large blooms.
Pollinators love Verbena, and the tall flowers add charm and movement to garden beds and cutting gardens. Now, a more petite variety—Verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’—provides the perfect addition to fall borders, growing only 24 inches high. It’s the perfect purple pop of color for your autumn garden.
You’ll find a wide range of perfect perennials to extend the blooms in your autumn garden. Choose from a variety of your favorite colors, plant shapes, heights, and textures. Soon your fall garden will be filled with a rich autumn display!
For more gardening inspiration and fabulous fall flowers, be sure to join Rozanne’s Inner Circle!