The 15 Best Fall-Blooming Perennials
While many people fill their gardens with the spring-blooming flowers they snatch up on Mother’s Day weekend, if you ask us, the real showstoppers come at the other end of the growing season. If you want to fill your garden with late-season colors that come back year after year, look no further. Whether you’re getting your garden ready for fall or dreaming of next year, here are 15 fall-blooming perennials to suit every landscape.
1. Autumn Crocus
You may assume crocuses only bloom in early spring, but a second round of color awaits when you grow Colochicum, also known as autumn crocus. These pint-sized plants look lovely as groundcovers in front of your other fall favorites or in containers. And while you wait for it to bloom, you can enjoy its lush foliage.
Available in a wide variety of colors and sizes, asters take center stage in mid- to late-summer, with many types lasting until frost. Low maintenance and drought-tolerant asters thrive in Zones 3 to 9 and make a great lasting alternative to those throw-away annual mums you find at the grocery store.
3. Black-eyed Susan
Although their showstopping yellow starts mid-summer, reliable black-eyed Susans (aka Rudbeckia) bloom through fall. Available in sizes from 1 to 3 feet tall and wide, their signature yellow-orange hue pops in any full-sun area. These unfussy fall perennials are largely deer- and rabbit-resistant, too.
Also known as echinacea, coneflowers are aptly named for their spiky, conical centers. They traditionally come in shades of purple, but newer varieties offer a wider span of color choices. A prairie native, coneflower thrives in drier, well-drained soil and stands up to drought.
A tough native plant, coreopsis resists deer, drought, and more. And while many varieties come in yellow, you can also find plenty of shades of pink. Plus, its feathery foliage adds texture and interest to wherever it grows. Check your plant tag to ensure it’s hardy to your area.
While technically a bulb, dahlias are an interesting flower that can be grown as perennials if you live in a warmer climate or dig out the tubers and store them for the winter. With a seemingly endless number of varieties, you’re sure to find a dahlia in your favorite color. Blooms can reach a jaw-dropping 12 inches wide on aptly named “dinnerplate” varieties.
This sunny stunner adds an immensely cheerful pop of yellow to any landscape. Note that taller varieties may need staking. Different varieties have different soil and sun needs, so consult plant tags carefully before purchasing.
While it’s sometimes called sneezeweed, and it does bloom around the same time as allergy culprit ragweed, there’s no actual sneezing to be found here—it earned its moniker because its leaves were once used to make snuff. A member of the daisy family, helenium offers the same cheerful, round flowers but in bold shades of red, orange, and yellow. To keep the blooms coming longer, deadhead (or remove) flowers after they fade.
The perfect back-of-the-garden plant, many hydrangea varieties bloom in late summer and into fall—or, worst case, their earlier-season blooms still look beautiful. ‘Limelight’ is a classic variety whose green blooms turn dark pink as the season wears on.
10. Joe Pye Weed
Pollinator magnet Joe Pye weed can grow 8 feet tall and wide. If you have the space, its pretty purple flowers and textured foliage can serve as the anchor of your fall garden. This fall-blooming perennial grows in full sun and can even help create privacy.
11. Russian Sage
Russian sage’s wispy purple blooms and soft green foliage can help balance out and soften some of the bolder hues of other fall-blooming perennials. This low-maintenance flower thrives in Zones 4 to 9 and fares well in dry conditions.
Salvia comes in a rainbow of colors. It features wispy flowers that look right at home in a container or the landscape. A big draw for hummingbirds, some salvias are grown as annuals in northern parts of the country—check the plant tag or seed packet to ensure you’re growing one that can overwinter where you live.
Sedum, also known as stonecrop, is a group of drought-tolerant, easy-to-grow succulents that make gorgeous groundcovers. A myriad of varieties bloom well into the fall, but you can seek out seasonal stunners like ‘Autumn Joy’ and ‘Autumn Fire’ for guaranteed fall color.
14. Sweet Autumn Clematis
Just when your spring-blooming clematis looks spent, Sweet Autumn clematis swoops in with its delicate, star-shaped flowers and powerful fragrance. It can grow up to 20 feet tall and can become invasive in warmer climates if not maintained.
15. Turtle Heads
With pretty pink and white flowers and lush foliage that emerge when many other plants go kaput, we’re not sure why this fall-blooming perennial isn’t more popular. Also known as chelone, turtleheads thrive in moist, shadier areas. At just 1 to 3 feet wide, it’s the perfect middle-of-the-garden plant.