Top 15 Fall-Blooming Flowers for Your Perennial Garden

Best Fall Blooming Perennial Flower

The Spruce

Fall flower gardens can be spectacular with bold combinations of jewel-toned colors of purple, rust, scarlet, and gold. To have an abundance of flowers in the fall, you just need to do some planning early in the gardening season. For fall flowers to be hardy in your garden, plant them in the spring or summer so that they have time to become established. Fall flowers may bloom late, but they bloom best if they have been in the garden all season.

When planning your fall garden, besides selecting plants that have a late bloom period, you want to be certain that they will bloom in your area before frost hits. Check the packaging for bloom timing, and stick to plants that work for your zone for best results. Your local nursery can offer advice if you are unsure. 

Here are 15 great, easy-to-grow fall-blooming perennials in a variety of colors for your garden.

Tip

Fall flowers can get leggy and droop. To avoid this problem, you can:

  • Stake the plants before they start to droop.
  • Plant fall-blooming flowers at the back of the border to support and hide droopers.
  • Prune your fall blooming flowers as they start to droop.
  • 01 of 15

    Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus)

    Balloon Flower (Platycodon)

    Marie Iannotti

    Balloon flower is in the campanula or bellflower family, but its flowers are a bit more dramatic. It starts off as a puff or bubble and pops open when it is ready to bloom. Balloon flower is a profuse bloomer; the plants spread slowly, filling in without becoming a nuisance. Other than cutting the plants back in the spring or fall, virtually no other maintenance is required.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Lavender-blue, pale pink, or white
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun, partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Loamy, well-drained
  • 02 of 15

    Blue Mist Shrub (Caryopteris)

    Caryopteris (Blue Mist Shrub)

    Marie Iannotti

    The blue mist shrub is actually a subshrub that is often grown in the perennial garden. Blue mist shrub slowly opens its blossoms throughout August with dazzling flower clusters. Just try and keep the butterflies and bumblebees away. Blue mist shrub should be cut back in early spring like a butterfly bush (Buddleia) because it blooms on new wood. The gray-green foliage is attractive all season.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Blue
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining soil
  • 03 of 15

    Goldenrod (Solidago)

    Goldenrod Flowers (Solidago)

    anand purohit/Getty Images

    Goldenrod has suffered from the mistaken notion that it exacerbates hay fever. Ragweed is the real culprit, not goldenrod. This is one of the last flowers to bloom in the fall. Most varieties are tall and stately; however, there are also several dwarf varieties available for the front of the border. Newer goldenrod cultivars do not spread by rhizomes, the way the species does, so they do not take over the whole garden.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full to partial sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained
  • 04 of 15

    Japanese Anemone (Anemone x hybrida)

    Anemone 'Honorine Jobert'

    Jo Whitworth/Getty Images

    Japanese anemones are standards in most billowing perennial borders. It starts blooming in late summer and goes straight through until frost. Each plant is covered in elegant, paper-like blooms. Japanese anemones will take a few years to become established, but once it settles in, it requires little maintenance. It will self-sow, but not aggressively, and gardeners often welcome the volunteers.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Color Varieties: White with a green center disk encircled in golden-yellow stamens
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining soil
    Continue to 5 of 15 below.
  • 05 of 15

    Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium)

    Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)

    Marie Iannotti

    Joe Pye Weed is one of those native plants you take for granted because you see it by the side of the road. The species can get a bit out of hand and aggressive, but newer cultivars make a wonderful backdrop to a garden border. Many of the newer hybrids have been bred to grow shorter with less of a weedy nature, but the dense mop heads of flowers still blend in beautifully in the fall garden.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Mauve and white
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun, partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich and moist
  • 06 of 15

    Mums (Chrysanthemum)

    Hardy Fall Mums

    Marie Iannotti

    Mums and pumpkins are the flag bearers of fall. Many mum varieties are available, but not all are particularly hardy. The plants sold in the north in the fall as "hardy mums" should have been sold to folks in the spring to be reliably hardy there. However, if you buy yours in the fall, get them in the ground ASAP. Keep them well watered and mulch them when the ground freezes to stand your best chance of having truly hardy mums.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Various shades of yellow, white, red, purple; some bicolors
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Humusy, fertile soil that is moist but well-drained
  • 07 of 15

    New York Daisy/Michaelmas Daisy (Aster novi-belgii)

    Asters - fall Blooming Flowers

    Marie Iannotti 

    These delicate daisy-like blossoms start popping open in late August and continue until frost. Pinching the stems back in the early summer turns these asters into dense mounds with dozens of flower buds. Many varieties of the New York daisy will tend to creep throughout your garden, but its airiness allows it to blend particularly well with other flowers.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Pink, purple, blue, and white
    • Sun Exposure:  Full to partial sun
    • Soil Needs: Slightly acidic soil
  • 08 of 15

    Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

    Russian Sage in Bloom

    Marie Iannotti

    Russian sage flowers sneak up on you and last for weeks. Like the blue mist shrub, Russian sage is considered a subshrub. Although its stems do get woody and it might not die back to the ground, it will still need to be pruned in the spring because the flowers form on the new growth.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Blue to blue-purple
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Almost any soil; drought tolerant
    Continue to 9 of 15 below.
  • 09 of 15

    Snakeroot (Actaea racemosa, formerly Cimicifuga)

    Cimicifuga (Actaea racemosa)

    Marie Iannotti

    Snakeroot makes a wonderful focal point in the fall garden. If you shy away from the bold colors of fall, snakeroot may be just the ticket for you. This plant grows well in partial shade, where a little drama is always welcome. The plant itself grows only to about 3 to 4 feet tall, but the flower stakes will shoot up 6 or 7 feet in height. Snakeroot takes a while to become established, but be patient; it is worth it.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 7
    • Color Varieties: Blue
    • Sun Exposure:  Partial to full shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich amended soil
  • 10 of 15

    Sneezeweed (Helenium)

    Sneezeweed

     

    Lucy barden / Getty Images 

    Sneezeweed is making a resurgence in gardens. These blooms look like small, russet-toned coneflowers. Many can grow quite tall and will need to be staked or pinched. Like clematis, it likes cool feet and hot heads, so plant it in full sun but use mulch or plant it with shorter plants that will cover their roots and keep them cool. This is also a good choice for poorly drained areas.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Reds, yellows, and oranges
    • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Moist acidic soil
  • 11 of 15

    Stonecrop (Sedum sp.)

    Tall Sedum in Flower

    Xuanyu Han/Getty Images

    'Autumn Joy' comes as close to perfection as any plant can. It looks good all year, requires minimal attention, and attracts few problems. The only drawback of Stonecrop is that it is not deer resistant. The 'Autumn Joy' cultivar has been joined in the garden by a growing number of fall wonders, such as 'Bertram Anderson', 'Brilliant', and 'Matrona'.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Pink to mauve
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained soil
  • 12 of 15

    Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

    Helianthus (Perennial Sunflower)

    DEA/G. NEGRI/Getty Images

    Many gardeners are more familiar with annual sunflowers, which can grow 10 feet tall and show off plate-sized flowers. But Helianthus is a large genus of flowers that is perennial and blooms toward the end of the season. You will still get daisy-like flowers with modestly-sized blooms. And, there will be plenty of them. Another plus, it will not topple over the way annual sunflowers do.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter
    Continue to 13 of 15 below.
  • 13 of 15

    Autumn Crocus (Colchicum speciosum)

    Autumn Crocus (Colchicum speciosum)

    Jacqui Hurst/Getty Images

    You are probably familiar with the spring-blooming crocus, but this little beauty does not put on its show until fall. Autumn crocus grows best in partial shade, and a little dampness is always welcome. It grows only a few inches tall and makes a wonderful carpet, scattered under trees and along walkways.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, white, burgandy
    • Sun Exposure: Full to part sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained soil

    Warning

    All parts of the plant are poisonous, which means deer, rabbits, and other four-footed pests steer clear of them. Avoid planting them around children and pets.

  • 14 of 15

    Tickseed (Coreopsis)

    Coreopsis Flowers

    Michele Casoni/Getty Images

    The Coreopsis genus is home to many popular garden plants. Most bloom periodically throughout the summer season, but if you prune it back after flowering, it will put on a glorious fall display. Most diseases and pests avoid this plant.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, red, and pink
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun, part shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining, sandy soil
  • 15 of 15

    Turtlehead (Chelone lyonii)

    Chelone (Turtlehead)

    Marie Iannotti

    Chelone lyonii got its nickname from the blossoms, which are shaped like turtles' heads. Chelone is a carefree, fall-blooming perennial that does not handle excessive dry heat well. It is perfect for a damp area in your garden. Turtlehead is not unruly. It grows in a dense clump with attractive foliage and flowers that bloom for weeks. You can prune it lightly to shape it in late fall or spring.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Red, pink, and white
    • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, slightly acidic