Many gardeners get very excited about the springtime when they can get new plants or make big changes to their existing landscapes like creating an outdoor or indoor living wall, privacy screen, and more. During the summer months, there’s the excitement that comes with seeing your flowers in full bloom, but the garden tends to start to look a little tired and worn-out by fall. However, fall flowers can be gorgeous and fall gardening can be a delightful hobby. The weather generally drops to cooler temperatures and your garden will be lower-maintenance than it would be in the spring.
To help rejuvenate your yard and yourself, why not plant some pretty fall flowers? The annual fall flowers can be shorter-lived if you have an earlier frost, but they can provide pops of color until then. The perennial fall flowers could produce less during the first fall after you plant them, but there’s the promise of a full bloom next year. Those people who live in desert or mild winter climates get the bonus of having fall flowers that bloom well into the winter months. I’ve compiled a list of stunning fall flowers that can breathe new life into your yard or landscape until the first snowflakes fly. Read on to see which ones work best for your needs.
1. Black-Eyed Susans
Butterflies, birds, and bees all flock to this fall flower, and it can easily handle tough conditions while being easy to grow. They start blooming in the late summer, but they continue until late into the fall months. They can grow in zones 3 to 11 where temperatures can reach a chilly -35°F (-37.2°C). This flower will need full sun to very light shade, and they need slightly more water than some other plants. Depending on the variety of Black-Eyed Susan you get, they can grow between 2 and 10-feet tall, and this makes them an excellent addition to your yard or garden.
This bright fall flower is an easy-care plant that has purple, red, orange, or yellow flowers that will attract butterflies in hordes to your garden. Once it finishes blooming, birds will come for the plentiful seeds. You can grow it in any USDA zone, depending on the species. It needs low to moderate amounts of water, so it’ll forgive you if you forget to water it once or twice. However, it requires full sun with a well-draining soil, and it can grow between on to 2 ½-feet tall at full maturity. If you deadhead it regularly, you’ll encourage multiple blooms well into the fall.
Although anyone with allergies can be put off by this fall flower’s name, Sneezeweed has bright yellow and brown-tinged flowers that create an autumn-esque feel. It works well for cut flowers for DIY apartment decor ideas, and it’ll attract butterflies. It’ll grow in areas that dip to -35°F, and it requires regular watering with well-draining soil. They like hot summer months with full sun, and they’ll grow between three and five-feet tall. Stake the taller plants for support and deadhead them to encourage repeat blooming. You won’t have to fertilize this plant much either, so it’s a low-maintenance choice.
Aster is one type of fall flower that brings showy colors in purple, blue, or pink that look fantastic against the more rustic fall coloring. They also have bright yellow centers that beautifully offset the cooler shades of the season. They’re hardy to almost every climate, and they can grow between one and five-feet tall at full maturity. They’ll need regular light watering with moist soil and full sun to thrive, and they can survive in very hot or cold environments without a problem. They like very fertile soil, and it’s a good idea to divide the plant clusters if you notice them becoming woody or invasive.
This is a classic fall flower that is many people’s go-to variety. You can go with more traditional orange, red, or yellow-flowered mums, or they come in more non-traditional colors like purple and white. They’re also excellent at cleaning toxins out of the air. Their height can range from one-foot up to six-feet high, and they like full sun to support their growth. They need moderate water, and they’re cold-hardy down to -15°F. You should plant them in the fall a month before the first frost and cut them back to eight-inches above the ground when they finish blooming to encourage new growth in the spring. Divide them every few years, and protect them with mulch if it gets extremely cold.
Also known as Autumn Joy, Sedum is the perfect fall flower to put by your entryways or pathways because they only grow between nine-inches and three-feet tall. They’re very easy to grow, and they do well in dry, poor soil as long as it has good drainage. Once you establish them, they’re tolerant to droughts if you don’t water them regularly. You can dry the flowers and use them for long-lasting arrangements, and you can either leave them in the ground and cut them way off or leave them for winter. Cut them back at least once a year to encourage new growth.
Coneflowers are fall flowers that come in a broad range of color options, and they’re a very hardy perennial with a very long blooming season. They like full sun to grow between two and four-feet tall, and they need moderate to regular water. The flowers attract bees and butterflies, and you can cut them to create pretty flower arrangements. They live in zones three to nine, and they’ll produce some very pretty pink, purple, and burgundy flowers that add a welcome splash of color throughout the fall months. Make sure the soil drains well and deadhead them to keep the flowers blooming.
8. Viola and Pansies
People usually plant these fall flowers in the spring or during the winter, but they can easily brighten your borders in the fall until the heavy frosts come. Violas like shade, but pansies prefer partial shade to full sun. They’re usually planted together, and they can grow between 3 and 10-inches tall. They like consistently moist soil, and they can easily last until late spring if your winters are very mild. You’ll have to water them regularly, and they grow in all zones when you use them like an annual. They have bright coloring that makes them fun for the cooler fall temperatures, they’re easy to grow.
9. Mexican Bush Sage
Although this is an evergreen shrub instead of a fall flower, it’s close enough look-wise to lavender and Russian sage to make the cut. It’s excellent for mild-winter climates because the flowers will appear in late fall and go well into the spring. It’s an attractant for butterflies and birds, and it can handle drought without a problem. You’ll need full sun with light to moderate moisture for this plant to grow to the mature size of four to five-feet tall and five to six-feet wide. You’ll have to cut it back in the spring and summer if you notice it taking over because it’s a very fast grower.
Many people mistakenly think that Impatiens are strictly summer plants, but they make gorgeous fall flowers too. The first frost may kill them off, but they can create pops of color until it happens. They can survive through mild winters, and they have one of the biggest color ranges of any plants. They grow in all zones as an annual, and they need shade or partial shade. They can grow up to two feet tall, and you want to put out your seedlings in the fall. They need regular fertilizer to grow well, and you should be prepared to cut them back if they get too rangy.
This fall flower is native to the Southeast portion of the United States, and it grows best in wet conditions with more shade. It’s nice for that wet, shady area in your garden where you have trouble growing any other plants. It grows small packed flowers with a pink coloring and a yellow tinge. At maturity, this plant grows around four-feet tall and it doesn’t like heavy soil. This means you’ll amend it before you plant, and it can take a lot of sunlight as long as you give it plenty of water. When the plants start to crowd in, you can divide them to keep the growing and healthy.
This is a contender for the best fall flowers because it has such a striking appearance. You can get colors ranging from purple to white, and it has deep purples and deep blues that really stand out. They like shady areas in the back of your garden, and they can grow in a broad range of planting zones. They grow between six and eight-feet high, and the cut flowers can make a stunning floral arrangement. However, every part of the plant is poisonous, and you should use gloves to handle it. It can take full sun in certain instances, and it needs regular watering.
Many geraniums prefer cooler temperatures throughout the summer, so it makes sense that this is a bright and happy fall flower. They are a mounding perennial that adds color into your garden or yard starting in the middle of the summer and going through late fall. They can grow from one to two-feet tall at maturity, and they like filtered shade with a very well-draining soil. It spreads very quickly, and you can deadhead it periodically to encourage new growth. It’s very hardy, and it easily survive right up through the first frost or mild winters without a problem.
14. Japanese Anemones
This fall flower is a huge part of many people’s landscape designs, especially under their Magnolia trees or to fill in bare shaded areas. It can take a little while for the plant to grow, but it can spread easily once it gets going. You get pink or white flowers, and it straddles the line between a perennial and shrub due to the larger size. It can grow two to five-feet tall, and it needs partial shade with regular water. If the winters get cold, add a protective layer of mulch and stake the taller varieties. You can divide them in the fall or early spring.
15. Toad Lily
The Toad Lily is one fall flower that works very well in a woodland garden. You can easily plant it with shade-loving foliage plants because the light green leaves have a sharp contrast to the darker colors around it. At the end of the summer months, this flower will produce purple or pink flowers with darker purple markings along the leaves running from the tip to the base. It grows well in zones four to nine with a high amount of water and light to full shade. You’ll need organic, rich soil, and some cultivars come with gold-edges leaves to make them stand out.
16. Russian Sage
Russian Sage is one fall flower that has gray-tinged leaves with light purple flowers, and the leaves are very fragrant. There is a very long blooming season on this plant, and it’ll start in the late spring or early summer months. If you keep cutting flowers off, they’ll bloom well into the fall. It’ll grow easily in areas with hot and humid summers once you establish it, and it likes full sun with low to moderate water. It can grow between three and five-feet tall, and it works well in almost any soil. Plant them close together so they will support each other and prevent drooping.
Goldenrods are one plant that has a lot of negative press around them, but they’re very hardy plants that do wonderfully in your garden as fall flowers because they bring bright yellow coloring. They don’t need rich soil to do well, and they grow just as well in partial shade as they do in full sun. They can live in zones 3 to 10, and they can grow between two and five-feet tall. They’ll need moderate amounts of water, and they’re a food source for butterflies and birds. They’ll grow well into the fall months until the first few frosts come though.
18. Joe Pye Weed
Although these fall flowers were once regarded as weeds, they produce large showy flowers that is quickly making them a favorite amongst gardeners. They work well as a border, and they can grow between six and nine-feet tall. The leaves can be a foot long, and they grow tight masses of white and purple flowers. If you brush the leaves, they smell like vanilla. The Joe Pye Weed likes a high amount of water and full sun. If it’s really hot, light shade is appropriate. They can grow in zones 4 to 10 without a problem and produce flowers until the first frost.
19. Blanket Flower
The Blanket Flower is a long-blooming perennial that offers a gorgeous face with mixes of maroon, red, orange, and yellow. It’ll start to flower in the early summer months and go until the frosty weather sets in, and it can handle wind, heat, and light frost without dying. This plant needs a moderate amount of water with full sun to grow, and it does very well in zones three to nine. It’ll grow between two and four feet tall at full maturity, and it needs a well-draining soil. Divide them in early spring if they get too crowded, and cutting them will encourage new blooms.
20. Flowering Cabbage
This entry isn’t strictly a fall flower, but it creates a showy centerpiece for every yard or garden. It’s a cruciferous vegetable that creates an oversized rosette with colors ranging from purple and red to cream and white. You can grow them in gardens or in containers, and they look stunning with a light touch of frost on them because it enhances their coloring. They’ll need regular watering with full sun, but they can grow in partial shade. They measure between 1 and 1 ½-feet tall at full maturity, and you want to fertilize them lightly throughout the growing season. The leaves are edible on these ornamental vegetables.
Celosia are a very easy-to-care-for plant that is a natural fall flower because it has a huge color palette that helps it stand out. You’ll get deep burgundy, scarlet red, warm orange, or bright yellow with purple accents with this plant, and it looks wonderful when you put it into container gardens. You can add it to borders or landscape beds, and they add vertical texture to any garden or space due to the plumes. They like well-draining soil, and they can handle full sun to partial shade. They start blooming in the early summer months and continue to bloom through the fall up until the first frost hits.
22. Purple Fountain Grass
Purple Fountain Grass is one of those accent plants that isn’t quite a fall flower, but it works well to offset the brighter colors while adding height and texture to your garden. This type of ornamental grass comes with a light purple hue to the leaves, and it grows in a thick clump with feathery plumes that stick up from the top. It will do well in full sun or partial shade, and it likes rich but well-draining soil. It’ll last well into the fall, and it can even survive minor frost without drooping.
Dianthus is a fragrant fall flower that thrives in cooler seasons. You’ll get stunning flowers in a range of colors from red and purple to pink and white, and it has a very sweet, floral scent. They grow well in soil that doesn’t retain moisture, and they like partial sun. They make excellent container plants, and they are cold-hardy down to a heavy frost. These plants start blooming in the middle of summer and provide welcome pops of bright colors late into the fall months. They can even survive in mild-winter climates.
24. Sweet Alyssum
Sweet Alyssum is a low-maintenance plant that is hard to kill, and this makes it an excellent choice for your fall flowers. Many people grow this plant because it has a beautiful fragrance, and it will creep along the ground to create a lush carpet of color when the cooler weather sets in. You can use it in containers and allow it to spill over the edges and hang down, and it can bloom in the fall and in the winter months if you live in a mild climate. This plant likes partial shade to full sun in a rich soil that drains well.
This fall flowers straddle the line between a flower and a houseplant. It’s one that thrives in cold weather regions or areas that don’t get frost. They grow very well as an annual, and they have unique foliage that has purple, yellow, orange, and red striping and spots with deep green. They grow broad leaves from a central stem to make this a very full plant, and it does well both in the ground or in a container. You’ll need to supply it with a regular amount of water in a well-draining soil, and you can fertilize it once a year to kickstart the growth cycle.
26. Dusty Miller
If you want to add a touch of silver to your fall flowers, try Dusty Miller. Part of the Salvia family, this is a very low-maintenance choice that adds a touch of whimsy to your yard or garden. You’ll have to plant it in a space where it gets full sun, but it likes a well-draining soil to keep it healthy. It’s a fluffy silver colored plant with graceful leaves, and it can sprout yellow flowers during the late spring that survive well into the fall months to create a nice look. You can easily grow it in containers or in a flower bed.
If you want a more finicky fall flower, try Fuschia. This flower will give your yard or garden a burst of color because it comes in maroon or magenta with purple, and the flowers tend to hang down to create a dramatic statement. The correct soil is the key to growing this plant, and it needs to be not too moist, dry, or hot for the plant to do well. It likes cooler temperatures in partial shade to full sun, and it does best in hanging baskets around your yard. It’ll bloom from the middle of the summer into the fall months.
Anyone who wants a taller fall flower to help create a butterfly garden should look at Sumac. This impressive plant can grow up to 30-feet tall with the right conditions, and it’s relatively low-maintenance. This fall flower will grow in almost any well-draining soil as it isn’t picky, and it’s very drought-tolerant. However, if you want more impressive flowers, water it regularly. You’ll get bright green leaves with large clusters of flowers that come in browns, oranges, and red hues.
These 28 gorgeous fall flowers can brighten up your garden or yard well into the fall months until the first frost hits. They’ll add color, interest, and texture to your landscape that can help you create interesting focal points. I invite you to try a few out for yourself, see which ones work for you, and enjoy the array of colors that they bring to you.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.