20 Best Fall Flowers to Plant for Autumnal Color

Annual and Perennial Flowers for Adding Fall Interest

red salvia and fall flowers

The Spruce / Margot Cavin 

When you think about sprucing up your landscaping for the fall, don't forget about planting fall flowers. While trees and shrubs with colorful fall foliage are a prized part of the autumn scene, perennial and annual flowers also can add their own beauty. Fall flowers come in an array of colors, shapes, and sizes suitable for any garden style. There are both hardy choices that can persist through some frost and tender plants that frost will kill. Plus, toward the end of the growing season annual plants are often on sale, though options might be limited. So even though annuals won't stick around for long in your fall garden, they still can be a bargain. On the other hand, hardy perennial fall flowers will bloom season after season at a time when many other plants are done with their blooming period.

Here are 20 fall flowers to keep your landscape blooming into autumn.


Mid- to late-August is often a good time to plant fall flowers, as long as the weather isn't still so hot that the plants will suffer heat stress. Check the growing requirements for your individual plants. But don't wait too late to plant, or you'll have a very short window to enjoy your flowers.

  • 01 of 20

    Mums (Chrysanthemum spp.)

    Close-Up Of Beautiful Chrysanthemum Flowers.
    Kanchanalak Chanthaphun / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Mums are quintessential fall flowers. They start blooming in September and last until frost. And the many species come in various bloom shapes and colors. When selecting mums for fall planting, look for a plant that isn’t in full bloom yet. It will struggle less with transplanting. Make sure to keep the soil moist but not soggy for the best flowering.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, orange, white, red, purple, bicolors
    • Sun Exposure: Full
    • Soil Needs: Rich, humusy, moist, well-drained
  • 02 of 20

    Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis)

    Close up image of a single Marigold Flower in full bloom - Calendula officinalis
    Images from BarbAnna / Getty Images

    Marigolds will first bloom in the late spring to early summer. And if you continuously deadhead your plants (remove the spent blooms) they can stay in bloom all the way through fall, though flowering might slow in the peak heat of the summer. These plants feature daisy-like flowers that typically come in a shade of yellow or orange. They are typically grown as annuals but might self-seed in your garden. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11 (annual)
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, orange, cream, pink
    • Sun Exposure: Full, partial
    • Soil Needs: Average, well-drained
  • 03 of 20

    Scarlet Sage (Salvia splendens)

    Blooming salvia splendens plants in the park area.
    Andrey Atanov / Getty Images

    This flower is a tender perennial that’s often grown as an annual outside of its hardiness zones. It can bloom from June all the way until frost in the fall. Its bright red flowers stretch around 2 inches long and grow in clusters on erect stems above the foliage. Plants can be potted in the fall for overwintering indoors.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 11
    • Color Varieties: Red
    • Sun Exposure: Full, partial
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained
  • 04 of 20

    Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)

    Lobularia maritima or sweet alyssum white small flowers in green
    skymoon13 / Getty Images

    Sweet alyssum spreads with mounds of gray-green, lance-shaped foliage. Its clusters of small, four-petal, sweet-scented flowers first bloom in the spring. Then, the plant will often decline in the heat of summer. Cut it back by half at this point. Once cool temperatures return in the fall, its foliage should perk up again, and it often repeat blooms. You also can plant seeds in August for fall flowers.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Color Varieties: White
    • Sun Exposure: Full, partial
    • Soil Needs: Average, well-drained
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  • 05 of 20

    Nasturtium (Tropaeolum spp.)

    Jenny Dettrick / Getty Images

    Nasturtium species can be annuals or perennials with different shapes, including bushy, climbing, and trailing growth habits. Most plants in the genus feature brightly colored flowers. In general, they flower from roughly May to September, though the exact timing depends on the species and climate. These are typically low-maintenance plants, but they will appreciate watering during periods of drought.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11 (annual)
    • Color Varieties: Red, orange, pink, yellow, cream
    • Sun Exposure: Full
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained
  • 06 of 20

    Violet (Viola spp.)

    jfairone / Getty Images

    There are hundreds of species in the Viola genus. In general, violet refers to the low-growing, mounding plants that spread readily in the garden. Many species struggle in the summer but will revive and bloom in the fall with their showy five-petal flowers. Use a slow-release fertilizer in late summer to encourage fall flowers. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Blue, purple, white
    • Sun Exposure: Full
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-drained
  • 07 of 20

    Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)

    Snapdragon flowers in a garden
    baona / Getty Images

    Snapdragons are tender perennials that are also grown as annuals. In cool climates, they can flower all the way from spring to frost in the fall. In climates with hot summers, they often will slow down in the heat but will pick up with their blooming when cool weather returns. The plants get their common name because the tubular flowers somewhat appear like the head of a dragon.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 7 to 10
    • Color Varieties: White, yellow, red, orange, pink, purple
    • Sun Exposure: Full
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-drained
  • 08 of 20

    Feather Celosia (Celosia argentea)

    red Cockscomb flowers
    Eurngkwan / Getty Images

    This annual can bloom from early summer all the way until frost. Feather celosia’s flower heads have a feathery appearance, hence the plant's common name. They stretch around 4 to 10 inches long with densely packed blooms on upright stems. Seeds can be started indoors roughly six to eight weeks before your area’s projected last frost date in the spring for an earlier bloom.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11 (annual)
    • Color Varieties: Red
    • Sun Exposure: Full
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained
    Continue to 9 of 20 below.
  • 09 of 20

    New England Asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

    Symphyotrichum novae-angliae flowers in Bloom
    Feifei Cui-Paoluzzo / Getty Images

    New England asters bring vivid color on their showy flowers in the late summer and early fall. The flowers have a daisy-like look, stretching almost 2 inches across. Pink to purple petals extend out from bright golden centers. Plants will often self-seed if you leave the spent flowers heads on; otherwise you can cut the plants to the ground for a tidier look.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Pink-purple, purple
    • Sun Exposure: Full
    • Soil Needs: Average, well-drained
  • 10 of 20

    Nippon Daisy (Nipponanthemum nipponicum)

    Nipponanthemum nipponicum
    igaguri_1 / Getty Images

    The Nippon daisy, also known as the Montauk daisy, blooms in the late summer to early fall. The flowers, which feature white petals and green centers, form on long stems and stretch around 2 to 3 inches across. They tend to make long-lasting cut flowers. To encourage continued blooming, deadhead the spent flowers. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Color Varieties: White
    • Sun Exposure: Full
    • Soil Needs: Average, well-drained
  • 11 of 20

    Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)

    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Goldenrod is a perennial wildflower that blooms from mid-summer to fall. Its tiny yellow blooms form in clusters on upright stems, and they are quite attractive to butterflies and bees. Remove the spent flower clusters to prolong blooming.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full
    • Soil Needs: Average, well-drained
  • 12 of 20

    Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

    Purple blooming Joe-Pye weed wildflower (eutrochium purpureum)
    Cynthia Shirk / Getty Images

    Joe Pye weed is another perennial wildflower that grows in upright clumps. It blooms in the mid-summer to early fall with domed clusters of tiny flowers. The blooms have a pleasant vanilla scent. Cut your plants to the ground in the winter to maintain vigorous growth.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Mauve, white
    • Sun Exposure: Full, partial
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained
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  • 13 of 20

    Bluebeard (Caryopteris × clandonensis)

    maunzel / Getty Images

    Bluebeard, also known as blue mist, blooms roughly from July to September. It’s a small, mounded shrub with aromatic foliage. The flowers come in tiny clusters that are said to resemble clouds of blue mist on the plant, hence its common name. Make sure your plant has good soil drainage and that you don’t overwater, as it’s not tolerance to soggy soil.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Blue, purple, pink
    • Sun Exposure: Full
    • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-drained
  • 14 of 20

    Autumn Joy Stonecrop (Hylotelephium telephium 'Herbstfreude' (‘Autumn Joy’)

    Stonecrop Herbstfreude
    Nahhan / Getty Images

    Autumn Joy stonecrop is a hardy, low-maintenance plant that can thrive in many different growing conditions. It prefers soil with sharp drainage. In the fall, the plant blooms with small, star-shaped flowers that start out pink but darken to red. Pinching the plant back in the spring can encourage bushier growth.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Pink, red
    • Sun Exposure: Full
    • Soil Needs: Sandy, well-drained
  • 15 of 20

    Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale)

    Nice dewy flowers in the autumn (Colchicum autumnale)
    Nataliia_Melnychuk / Getty Images

    The autumn crocus grows from a bulb that must be planted in well-drained soil. Plant in the late summer for a fall bloom. The bulb sends up foliage only in the spring, which dies back by summer. The fall flowers rise up on bare stems. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Lavender-pink, lilac-pink
    • Sun Exposure: Full, partial
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-drained
  • 16 of 20

    Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

    Perovskia atriplicifolia
    loflo69 / Getty Images

    Russian sage is a woody perennial whose gray-green foliage is aromatic when crushed. It has a long blooming period from mid-summer through fall with clusters of small, tubular flowers. While Russian sage can tolerate a bit of shade, the stems might flop over without enough sun and flowering will likely be diminished. Cut plants back in the early spring for renewed growth.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Blue, lavender
    • Sun Exposure: Full
    • Soil Needs: Average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained
    Continue to 17 of 20 below.
  • 17 of 20

    Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

    Field of giant yellow sunflowers in full bloom
    Nick Brundle Photography / Getty Images

    Sunflowers are a show-stopping addition to any garden. Their blooms can stretch 3 to 6 inches wide atop tall stems. And they typically feature yellow petals with brown centers. Different sunflower varieties bloom at different times. Many start blooming in the mid- to late summer and stretch into fall. Consider harvesting seeds from the flower heads to plant the following growing season. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11 (annual)
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, red, brown
    • Sun Exposure: Full
    • Soil Needs: Average, moist, well-drained
  • 18 of 20

    Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)

    Michel VIARD / Getty Images

    Sneezeweed is a clump-forming perennial wildflower with a long blooming period. Its flowers arrive in the late summer and can last all the way until the first frost of fall. The daisy-like blooms stretch around 2 inches across and have domed centers. Cut back the plants at least six weeks before blooming is set to begin. This will encourage more branching and thus more flowers.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Red, yellow, orange, gold, copper
    • Sun Exposure: Full
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-drained
  • 19 of 20

    Petunia (Petunia spp.)

    Petunia flowers that are colorful in the summer
    kuarmungadd / Getty Images

    Petunias are tender perennials that are commonly grown as annuals in most climates. They can bloom from late spring all the way until frost in the fall, though they might slow down in the heat of summer. The flowers are generally large and funnel-shaped, coming in a wide array of colors. If your petunias decline in the summertime, cut them back. This will encourage them to bloom again in the fall. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 11
    • Color Varieties: Red, yellow, orange, pink, purple, white, green
    • Sun Exposure: Full, partial
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-drained
  • 20 of 20

    Blanket Flower (Gaillardia x Grandiflora)

    Close-up of a bunch of orange and yellow Gaillardia flowers
    Karin de Mamiel / Getty Images

    Blanket flowers are a perennial hybrid with a fast growth rate and long blooming period from late spring to fall. The bright, showy, daisy-like flowers can stretch 3 to 4 inches across, and they form above the foliage on upright stems. If flowering slows in the summer, cut back the plants to encourage fall flowers. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 10
    • Color Varieties: Red, yellow, orange
    • Sun Exposure: Full
    • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-drained