Fall Blooming Perennials for Late Season Color

Color in the Fall Garden

Fallen blossoming plant of black-eyed susan
Maria Mosolova/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Fall gardens can be spectacular with bold combinations of jewel toned colors. But they do take some planning earlier in the gardening season. Fall flowers may bloom late, but they bloom best if they've been in the garden all season. 

Two Things to Consider When Planning Your Fall Garden

  1. The first is easy. Select plants that have a late bloom period and that you are certain will bloom in your area before frost. The list below will help with this.
  1. Secondly, fall bloomers can get very tall and leggy. They focus on becoming established and growing foliage all summer. Once they bloom, they are often top heavy and fall over. To ensure your fall display is as glorious has it should be, you have a handful of options.

You could stake the plants, as they grow. This can be a tedious chore, but it will keep them upright and tall. (Staking needs to be done early in the season. There's no way to straighten and stake a plant that has already bent over.)

Planting your fall blooming plants in the back of a border is another option. You can allow them to grow as tall as they like, because the shorter plants in front support them and, as an added plus, they will disguise the fall bloomers until it's their turn to shine. And it's less work than staking.

And finally, you could do some periodic pruning to make the plants stockier and more self-supporting.

If you start cutting the plants back when they reach about 6 - 8 inches tall, they will branch out and set more flower buds. Keep doing this every 3 - 4 weeks, until about July 4th, then let them grow on their own for the rest of the summer. You will have a shorter, but bushier plant. Keep in mind that if you prune your plants, you will be delaying the bloom period by a week or more.

And not all plants respond to pruning. Do some research on your specific plant before you start cutting.

Fall Blooming Perennials

  • Aconite Aconitum - Zones 3 - 7
  • Autumn Crocus Colchicum speciosum - Zones 4 - 9
  • Balloon Flower Platycodon grandiflorus Zones 3-8
  • Black-Eyed Susan Rudbeckia (various) - Zones 3 - 9
  • Boltonia Boltonia - Zones 3 - 9
  • Frickart's Aster Aster x frikartii - Zones 5 - 8
  • Goldenrod Solidago - Zones 3 - 8
  • Hardy Mum Chrysanthemum x morifolium - Zones 4 - 9
  • Heath Aster Aster ericoides - Zones 3 - 9
  • Japanese Anemone Anemone x hybrida - Zones 5 - 8
  • Joe Pye Weed Eupatorium maculatum - Zones 2 - 8
  • New England Aster Aster novae-angliae - Zones 3 - 8
  • Peach-leaved Bellflower Campanula persicifolia - Zones 3-7
  • Phlox Phlox paniculata - Zones 3 - 8
  • Plumbago Ceratostigma - Zones 6 - 9
  • Ragged Coneflower Rudbeckia laciniata - Zones 3 - 9
  • Rhone Aster Aster sedifolious - Zones 4 - 7
  • Russian Sage Perovskia atriplicifolia - Zones 4-9
  • Showy Stonecrop Sedum spectabile - Zones 4 - 9
  • Snakeroot Cimicifuga - Zones 4 - 8
  • Sneezweed Helenium - Zones 3 - 9
  • Sunflower Helianthus - Zones 3-9
  • Tall Verbena Verbena bonariensis - Zones 7-9
  • Tickseed Coreopsis - Zones 4 - 9
  • Tree Mallow Laventera - Zones 7 - 10
  • Turtlehead Chelone - Zones 3 - 9
  • White Snakeroot Eupatorium rugosum - Zones 3 - 7
  • White mugwort Artemesia lactiflora - Zones 5 - 8
  • Yellow Wax Bells Kirengeshoma palmata - Zones 5 - 8

For more color in your fall garden, consider using colorful foliage from shrubs, vines and ornamental grasses.