Plant for Fall

Is your fall garden disappointing?  Add some late summer and fall blooming bulbs or perennials.  There are so many to choose from that can add beautiful and colorful fall flowers to your gardens and landscape.

But if you want fall blooming plants, it’s not quite like spring when you plant annuals for immediate flowers.  Fall blooming plants need time to establish and develop their blooms, you need to plant them in spring.  Some late summer and fall bloomers are available in full bloom at garden centes late in the season, but at a high price and they likely will not become established well enough to survive winter.  Consider them annuals if you buy and plant in the fall.


Just after you finish your spring planting is the time to search out the late summer and fall bloomers.  Some nurseries will carry them as young bedding plants in spring.  Or you can search online and mail order catalogs for a much greater variety of plants and color.  In colder regions be sure to look for plants that are hardy enough for your zone so they come back year after year.  Some even have frost tolerant blooms so you can enjoy them long after the nights get cold.  Even for the most northern regions there are plants that will keep blooming as long as Halloween or even Thanksgiving in mild autumms.


Asters are a favorite for adding bright colorful blooms to the fall garden well after summer blooms have faded.  Some are hardy in northern regions and frost tolerant.

Agastache bloom from midsummer until frost, some are hardy to zone 4.

Mums offer a great variety of color and hardiness range.  Most will bloom from September until frost or longer.  New varieties are hardy to zones 4 and even 3 if planted early.

Sedum are a fall classic in northern gardens, in particular ‘Autumn Joy’ is very popular.  For more vibrant color from Sedum, try ‘Dazzleberry’ or ‘Neon’.  Sedum bloom from August through September or into October.

Monkshood are a northern hardy perennial that blooms in tall blue spires in August through September.

Anemone is a great choice for adding colorful fall blooms in zone 5 and warmer.  Also known as windflower, they bloom from September to October frost.

Clematis Sweet Autumn is a late blooming clematis, with white blooms from August through September.

Corydalis, Yellow (False) Bleeding Heart is from the Bleeding Heart family.  Both the foliage and flowers look like a fernleaf bleeding heart but with yellow flowers from June until frost.  Hardy too!

Helianthus typically bloom through mid summer, but Helianthus salicifolius bloom a bit later.  Sunflower-like flowers are produced in September through October and into November.


Heliopsis ‘Venus’ blooms for a very long time, from July until frost.  Huge sunny yellow flowers will cheer up any fall garden, all the way to zone 3.


Fall blooming crocus and colchicum bulbs are like a breath of spring in September through October.  These can actually be planted as late as August for fall flowering.

And so many other wonderful foliage plants that peak in autumn including Russian Sage, ornamental grasses and Burning Bush just for starters.  Be sure and ask your local nursery about fall bloomers early in the season.  You may not notice them in the nursery stock, I’m sure they will be happy to point out for you any fall bloomers they have.

Sharon Dwyer