The following perennials bloom in the fall adding color and multiple season interest to your Zone 5 & 6 flower gardens. Just when you think things are looking a little dull, these charmers will spice up your landscape with a pop of color!
Here are 10 of my favorite fall color plants:
1. Aster – Woods Purple: This is a colorful purple daisy-like flower blooming August through September. Also makes an excellent container plant attracting bees, butterflies and birds. Good for a sunny or partial shaded spot.
2. Dianthus – Razzle Dazzle: Remarkably fragrant scarlet red blossoms characterize this attractive plant. This dianthus provides a long season of color blooming in the early summer then again in the fall (if spent blooms are deadheaded). Another plus: deer and bunnies don’t like them!
3. Ornamental Grass – Little Bunny Fountain Grass: Many ornamental grasses put on their best show in autumn. This petite, low maintenance specimen grows whitish green plumes from August – October. Only reaches 8 – 10 inches high making it perfect for a front border.
4. Ice Plant – Red Mountain: If you like moss roses/portulaca you’ll love this colorful, easy to grow plant! A continuous display of glowing pinkish red flowers smothers the foliage until frost to create a dazzling groundcover on slopes or in borders. This robust plant is extremely drought tolerant.
5. Phlox – Laura: This hardy, tall (grows 2 – 3 ft. high) phlox sports beautiful purple flowers with white centers. Does best in a full sun location and appreciates rich, moist soil. The showy flowers bloom all summer long through the end of September. (Photo above)
6. Pineapple Lily – Freckles: The Eucomis, or Pineapple Lily, earned its name because its blossoms look like pineapples. Purple “freckles” cover the olive green leaves. Plant the bulb in the ground in spring, after all danger of freezing has passed. The stunning rosey red flowers emerge in fall …
7. Sedum – Autumn Joy: This is one very hardy, disease resistant plant – also a butterfly and bee magnet. The umbrella-like flower heads start out peachy pink and evolve to a rusty, purplish red in the fall. Blooms from August to October in full sun and makes a great choice in beds and borders.
8. Chrysanthemum – Lemonsota: I can’t leave out chrysanthemums when talking about fall color! This hardy cushion mum is covered with lemon yellow, pompom-like flowers with darker centers. It features delicately fringed petals. Blooms from August – October and is rabbit resistant and a butterfly attractor.
9. Tricyrtis – Lightning Strike: Tricyrtis are a wonderful, underused shade perennial. This particular one exhibits unique orchid-like, star-shaped flowers in lavender-violet. Contrasts nicely with the variegated deep green and gold streaked foliage. Flowers in September and October. Great choice for shady patios or walkways.
10. Helenium – Autumnale (Sneezeweed): A showy native with daisy-like flowers in shades of red, yellow, and orange. Very attractive and useful for late season color and height in the garden. Attracts butterflies and birds. Despite the name, it doesn’t cause sneezing or hayfever. (Photo below)
Fall gardening is exceptionally rewarding! Believe it or not, we have only scratched the surface of perennials that have fall flowers and color during the cooler months of the year. There are many, many more to choose from…I’ve just highlighted a few of my faves.
You really can design your garden to have lovely blooms and vibrant colors from early spring to late fall. All of these are easy to grow and many are good for cutting. Mix and match and be sure to understand each plant’s sun needs and plant them accordingly …
The list above is a very good starting place if you are looking for some plants to spruce up your garden after your summer plants have fizzled out. Have fun and enjoy the pleasures of autumn!