Ten Fall Perennial Flower Garden Favorites

As the trees begin to show their leaf color, the stage is set for fall-blooming perennials to strut their stuff. Spring may get most of the attention in the gardening world, but don’t forget to include an autumn show in your perennial garden.

Many fall-blooming perennials add to the traditional autumn color palette with reds, yellows, oranges, and purples, but that’s not all. There are also plenty of choices in pink, blue, white, and lavender for a softer look.

As you’re planning your fall perennial garden, be sure to take a look around and see what’s still blooming. Canna lilies often continue blooming into cooler weather, as do rudbeckia, chelone, echinacea, and many others. Planning overlapping bloom times will ensure color throughout the season.

Read on for our top 10 fall blooming favorites to consider. Check out our article on Understanding Planting Zones To find out what zone you’re in!

#1: Anemone

(Anemone tomentosa, A. Hupehensis, A. x hybrida)

Reaching up to 5 feet tall, the elegant flowers of Japanese anemone add grace to both sun and shade gardens in tones of white, pink, rose, and lilac.

Hardy to zone 5, hybrids to zone 4.

#2: Asters

(Aster sp.)

Blooming from late August until early October, asters form bushy mounds of daisy-like blooms in shades of purple, blue, pink, and white. They like full sun and well-drained soil, with plenty of air circulation. Like chrysanthemums, they can be pinched back during the summer to encourage prolific fall blooms.

Hardy to zone 3.

#3: Blue Mistflower or Hardy Ageratum

(Conoclinium coelestinum)

This native plant spreads easily to fill in sunny or partly shady spots, with clouds of small blue flowers in the fall. It can be invasive, though, so be sure it has plenty of room, or use in naturalized areas.

Hardy to zone 5.

#4: Boltonia

(Boltonia asteroides)

Often spotted by the roadside in its native form, Boltonia now has cultivars with white, pink, and pale blue daisy-like blooms in late summer and autumn. It can grow 3-5 feet tall and prefers full sun.

Hardy to zone 4.

#5: Chrysanthemums

(Chrysanthemum sp.)

One of the showiest and most colorful of fall garden perennials, chrysanthemums are also among the easiest to grow. The many choices of flower shape and color make it a perfect choice for any garden design. See our article on Growing Chrysanthemums in Your Garden for more information.

Hardy to zone 3, depending on variety.

#6: Dahlias

(Dahlia sp.)

These tubers can be dug up and overwintered in colder climates, and the showstopping blooms accent the garden from summer through fall.

Hardy to zone 8.

#7: Goldenrod

(Solidago sp)

Beginning in August, the glowing plumes of goldenrod begin to grace wild meadows and garden backdrops with feathery, sun-colored blooms. Both wild and cultivated varieties prefer full sun and are very easy to grow even in poor soil.

Hardy to zone 5.

#8: Muhly Grass

(Muhlenbergia capillaris)

Muhly grass is an ornamental grass that blooms in a pink cloud in early to mid fall. Also don’t forget other ornamental grasses, such as fescues, miscanthus, switchgrasses, and fountaingrasses, for their fall foliage and seed heads. Some ornamental grasses are not hardy in colder climates and may be treated as an annual or brought indoors for the winter.

Hardy to zone 6.

#9: Russian Sage

(Perovskia atriplicifolia)

No fall garden is complete without the fragrant Russian Sage, blooming from midsummer through fall with soft purple flower spikes on silvery foliage.

Hardy to zone 5.

#10: Sedum

(Sedum sp.)

Led by the russet-colored ‘Autumn Joy,’ the many varieties of drought-tolerant sedum are wonderful choices in the fall garden, providing blooms from pink to red with green, bronze, or variegated foliage. Instead of cutting them back after frost, many gardeners leave these tough succulents standing for winter interest.

Hardy to zone 3, depending on variety.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I have sedum,hostas and mums…kind of a zigzag alternating in front of bed..looking for color and heigth behind for fall..any suggestions? cone flowers and bl eyed susans done blooming

  2. Lisa, try some Dahlias! They’re tall and just breathtaking in autumn, one of the last bursts of bright color in the season.

  3. ohhh, Thank you! Just saw them around someones mailbox and was wondering what they were…Thank you very much! Off to the store tomorrow.

  4. HI I JUST STARTED TO LOOK FOR BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS AND PLANTS THANKYOU FOR ALL YOUR SUGGESTIONS. NOW I HAVE AN IDEA OF WHAT TO BUY FOR THIS SEASON AND HOW TO TAKE CARE OF THEM

  5. Hi, I work at a flower shop and I understand to plan the overlapping bloom times, does this mean I set off a portion of the garden for each season, or do I plant in the existing area for the next season?

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