For many, a brisk breeze and a tinge of orange on the once green leaves marks the end of summer — meaning no more fun in the sun. But, this isn’t the case for gardeners! Although you might be closing your pool, don’t lock up your shed because there’s more work to be done in the garden.
While some of your plants may be getting prepped for the first frost, there are blooming varieties that can survive the fall temperature dip. The end of summer doesn’t mean you have to live with a colorless yard, the changing season simply means it’s time to get to work on your fall garden!
There are plenty of fall perennials to choose from that will entertain you will beautiful blooms well into the season. Whether you’re excited for fall decor or want to liven up your outdoor space, you’re sure to find a plant that fits your liking.
By planting fall perennials you can increase your curb appeal and catch the eye of your neighbors. Hopefully this list of the 16 best fall perennials will give you some inspiration!
The delicate and fragile flowers of the begonia plant leave many gardeners associating the plant with the warmer summer season. While most species of begonia are annuals that thrive in warmer temperatures, you may be surprised to learn that the Hardy Begonia will bloom starting into the mid-summer and continuing well into the fall months. They prefer to be planted in locations with partial shade.
The leaves of the Hardy Begonia are shaped like large wings, often compared to angel wings. From this foundation, long arching stems extend with clusters of beautiful, delicate pink flowers. Each flower features four dainty petals with bright yellow stamens in the center.
If you are looking for a tall plant that’s easy to maintain and will add a pop of color to your garden during the fall season, Witch Hazel may be the perfect solution. Growing an impressive 15 to 20 feet tall, this is a plant that is sure to impress anyone that catches sight of its display. Unlike most late-season blooms, the witch hazel flowers don’t emerge until the plant has shed all the leaves from its branches. It will often retain its beautiful colors into the month of December.
Before you purchase the first witch hazel plant that you encounter in your local garden store, it should be noted that there are other native species of witch hazel that are not suited for the fall season. For example, the Ozark Witch Hazel plant booms from late Winter, approximately January into early spring. The fall perennial that we are recommending is the Common Witch Hazel plant.
These beautiful pink, purple, and white flowers bloom in the late summer, maintaining their beauty well into the fall months. While Japanese anemones won’t reach the height promised by witch hazel, they will reach approximately 2 to 4 feet high, making them a great addition to any perennial garden by making it easy to add depth to the space. This is a popular fall flower that is often used in centerpieces and other fall-themed decorations alongside pumpkins and gourds.
Japanese anemones prefer full sun but can also bloom beautifully in partial shade. They are underground runners meaning that their root systems will grow and extend, crowding nearby perennials if you don’t keep a close eye on them.
Also known as Sneezeweed, Helenium is a beautiful native perennial that is super-easy to grow and takes can cover a significant amount of space with bold pops of color. Despite its nickname, this plant does not cause hay fever. However, it happens to bloom at the same time as ragweed and for that reason, it is often blamed for the itchy eyes and runny noses that people experience.
Helenium flowers look similar to a daisy in shades of fall-inspired colors of red, orange, and yellow. One of the biggest perks of including helenium in your garden is its ability to attract pollinating insects. This will help contribute to a healthy, thriving garden for years to come.
Arguably one of the easiest plants included on this list, stonecrop is the type of plant that you can plant and forget, requiring minimal maintenance. A type of succulent plant, stonecrop features thick, fleshy leaves and stems that, on their own, are a beautiful addition to any garden. This greenery can range in color from yellow-green, green, or bluish to a red hue.
There are many different varieties available ranging in size from just 3 inches tall up to approximately 18 inches. There are also different colors to choose from including yellow, white, burgundy, and mauve. With so much variation in a single type of plant, they are the perfect addition to any garden. If you are looking for a thicker bush appearance, take the time to prune your plant in early July. This will encourage sturdy growth, filling out the available space.
One of the most recognized fall perennials, the chrysanthemum is a highly versatile flower that will work in nearly any garden. Also referred to as chrysanths, mumingtons, or, more simply, mums, they are available in a wide range of colors and sizes. Chrysanthemums hold a place of significance in many cultures, with different colors each holding its own unique meaning. For example, in Japan, the chrysanthemum is recognized as a symbol of the Emperor and the Imperial family.
When planting mums, search for a sunny location. They don’t require a lot of water, just monitor the surface of the soil around them. When it appears dry, it’s time to water. Their bright colors can be enjoyed on their own or as a part of a larger autumn garden design. They’re special plants so make sure you know how to grow and take care of chrysanthemums properly.
When most people think about the crocus, they think about the spring-blooming flowers that grace so many garden beds during the warmer season. However, you may not realize that there is also a variety of crocus that waits to bloom until later in the year bringing color at the same time that the leaves begin to change. These gorgeous flowers are not very tall, growing only a few inches tall. However, their beautiful purple, pink, burgundy, yellow, and white flowers are not something to overlook!
The ideal location for planting the autumn crocus would be an area with partial to full sun, and higher-quality, rich, and well-draining soil. You will notice the foliage starting to yellow and even die around midsummer. Don’t worry! Reduce watering and keep caring for the garden space. In the late summer, they will turn green once again before revealing their true colors.
You may be surprised to learn that there are over 100 species in the goldenrod family. Some are the more common native varieties that have been around for as long as we remember while others are newer hybrid varieties that have been created with gardening in mind. They bloom incredibly late in the season with their expected bloom period lasting from August to October. Goldenrod thrives in full sun conditions and well-draining soil.
These tiny yellow flowers are incredibly popular with the bees and butterflies, making them a great choice for those that are looking to attract pollinators to their garden. While they are low maintenance, it should be noted that they are an aggressive spreader and will take over your garden entirely if left to their own devices. To prevent this from happening, you can carefully remove the flower heads from the stems later in the season before the seeds are fully developed.
Upon hearing the word ‘sunflower’, most people think of the tall annual that is so often associated with the fall season. However, you may not realize that the sunflower name is also shared by this small perennial plant. With small yellow and orange flowers that closely resemble daisies, the western sunflower adds a beautiful splash of color to your garden closer to the end of the season, helping to extend the life of your garden
The western sunflower is a low-maintenance plant, making it a great choice for newer gardeners. For best results, they should be planted in full sun and rich soil. If you know that you are working with poor soil or soil lacking in any of the important nutrients, consider using fertilizer to give the plants a much-needed boost. The flowers themselves will grow to be approximately 2 inches across, significantly smaller than the common sunflower, but each plant will produce plenty of them to create a blanket of color.
If you live in the country where wildlife is more prevalent and are searching for a deer-resistant perennial, the balloon flower is a great option. Growing approximately 12 to 20 inches in height, if you remove the spent blooms after their summer bloom, they will bloom again in the fall adding color to your garden well into the cooler weather. They are named after their balloon-shaped buds which can best be described as a bubble appearance and are available in a variety of colors including lavender-blue, white, and pale pink.
These flowers require very little maintenance during the off-season. They are spreading plants; however, their spread is very slow and can easily be managed by cutting the plants back during the late fall or spring timeframes. Balloon flowers grow best in rich, fertile soil containing a mixture of clay, sand, and silt along with full or partial sun.
A highly popular and traditional flower, many gardeners love the look of the daisy. The Nippon daisy, also known as the Montauk daisy, is a late-season perennial that produces a large number of the familiar white and yellow flowers. They start blooming in the late summer and will continue to display their delicate colors until the arrival of the winter frost. The plants can grow as high as 3 feet and each flower will measure approximately 2 to 3 inches across.
While these flowers are known for their ability to attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, they are toxic to pets and should only be planted where your pets will not have access. Unlike many of the other flowers included on this list, the Nippon daisy only needs to be watered if you are experiencing a long stretch of time with no rainfall as they grow best in average or dry soils.
An eye-catching perennial with purple flower spikes and silvery foliage, Russian sage is a great choice for those that are living in drier conditions or live in an area with minimal rainfall. It thrives in dry and very well-drained soil, rarely requiring watering, and full sun. If you prefer the look of mulch in your garden, consider using a gravel option as this will allow for better evaporation and drier soils. Too much shade will cause the plants to fall over and sprawl along the ground rather than growing tall as they are designed.
There is a little more maintenance needed during the off-season if you want your flowers to thrive. Every year as the colder weather approaches, cover your sage with a layer of pine needles approximately 2 inches deep. This will protect the remaining stems and seed pods from the harsh winter weather allowing them to return once again the following year. In the spring and summer, prune back the older stems to encourage new growth.
Available in many different colors or color combinations including shades of red, yellow, orange, pink, and purple, the tickseed is a native plant to North America that is available both as an annual and a perennial. Their name comes from the seeds of the plant which have the appearance of small ticks lined up along the center of the daisy-like flower. Rest assured, they will not attract ticks to your yard or garden.
With a strong root system, these flowers require room to spread and grow. They grow best in dry sandy or rocky soils with full sun exposure. For the most part, they won’t require any watering on your part. The only exception would be if you have gone for a significant time without any sign of rainfall. Tickseed is highly attractive to bees and butterflies, drawing them into your garden. However, they are also hardy plants and rarely experience problems with pests or diseases.
There are many different varieties of aster ranging in size and color including pink, purple, white, and blue. Depending on the variety, they will grow anywhere from 1 foot to 4 feet tall, making it important to do some research into the specific variety that you are planting before determining where in your garden they will best fit. They are hardy and low maintenance, able to grow and thrive in many different scenarios including large gardens, narrow landscaping, and even as a potted plant. However, they will grow best in full sun conditions.
Asters grow in what’s described as a mounding growth, meaning that they grow both vertically and horizontally. You end up with a rounded or bush-like plant covered in a sea of bold, bright colors. These flowers have a daisy-like appearance, with yellow centers. They do a great job of attracting pollinators, specifically, butterflies like the monarch during their fall migration travel.
Another classic perennial flower, the oriental lily is well known for its large and brightly colored blooms. Color options include white, cream, red, rose, pink, yellow, and orange. They start to bloom in August, carrying their bold colors into the fall season, extending the gardening season for lily lovers. They grow, on average, 3 to 6 feet in height and are highly fragrant flowers, making them a great choice for cut-flower bouquets. However, like most varieties of lily, the oriental lily is toxic to both dogs and cats.
Be cautious if you live in an area with a significant amount of wildlife as the lily is known for attracting the attention of nearby deer, offering a delicious snack. When planting the bulbs, you should look for well-drained soil in a full or partially sunny spot. You can also add an organic fertilizer during planting to better nourish them, encouraging them to thrive.
Despite its name, the purple coneflower is available in a wide variety of colors including the most common pinkish-purple hue, but also white, orange, and red. Regardless of the color, it can usually be identified by its large cone-like centers which are dark brown in most varieties. The petals of the flower surround the cone center, dropping downward and away from it, making it appear even more prominent. They are highly attractive to a wide variety of birds and pollinators, making them a great addition to any garden space.
The plant will grow up to 5 feet in height with the daisy-like flowers extending on a thick, sturdy stock that rarely bends or falters. They thrive best in areas with full sun for at least six hours of the day, however, in southern areas a partially sunny space with shade in the afternoon can protect the plants from being burned by the harsh rays. They are drought-resistant flowers meaning that they thrive in drier climates and require little to no fertilization.
Enjoy the Beautiful Colors of Autumn with Fall Perennials
If you are a flower gardener and are seeking a way to extend your gardening efforts into the fall season, these beautiful fall perennial flowers are a great place to get started. With a wide variety of different colors and sizes, you can create a garden in any style you desire from a more rustic and natural-looking outdoor space to a carefully crafted and colorful display. The only limit is your imagination.