14 Best Perennials That Bloom in Fall

14 Best Perennials That Bloom in Fall

Fall isn't the end of the growing season, there are still plenty of flowers that will make your garden look great. Autumn is a good time to plant perennials. Stop by your local garden center—you'll likely find fall-blooming perennials that are overlooked during spring shopping.

Trees and shrubs tend to steal the spotlight in autumn as their leaves take on radiant colours, but there is still plenty of color to be found in the flower garden. In fact, perennials that bloom in the fall can outshine the fall foliage, pulling the color down to eye level. All these warm foliage colors provide the perfect backdrop for fall blooms. Picture purple asters blooming on jewel-colored foliage of stewartia. Or golden sunflowers over fiery sumac fire.

With these gorgeous perennials blooming in the fall, you can find the perfect flowers to pair throughout your fall garden.

Hardy chrysanthemum

Getty Images/Sigline


  • Zoya life can be appreciated: chrysanthemum (Rubellum Group)
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Medium, well drained, rich
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to neutral (5.8-7.0)

Although we often treat chrysanthemums or chrysanthemums as disposable ornamentals, they are perennials. However, not all mothers return reliably from year to year, especially in the Southeast. The most reliable type of garden mums that come back and bloom every year belong to the Rubellum group, often called hardy chrysanthemums, hardy garden mums, heritage mums, or old-fashioned mums. Pinch the stems back in spring or early summer once flower buds appear. This will encourage branching for denser growth and greater flower production, as well as delaying blooming until fall.

Smooth aster

Getty Images


  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Symphyotrichum smooth
  • Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil type: Dry to medium, well-drained
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to slightly alkaline (5.8-7.8)

These native perennials burst into bloom from September to October, with blue-violet to purple flowers covering the plants. The flowers provide pollinators with an excellent source of nectar until autumn, after which songbirds feed on the seeds. The soft star is a wonderful companion to roses, sunflowers and other golden blooms. Plants are drought tolerant once established.

Narrow-leaved sunflower

Getty Images/


  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Helianthus angustifolia
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Medium to moist, well-drained
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to neutral (5.6-7.3)

The narrow-leaf sunflower is a beacon in the fall garden. An abundance of sunny yellow flowers bloom late in the season, especially in October. The flowers are followed by small seed heads that are a favorite of songbirds. This stunning native reaches 5 to 8 feet tall, with smooth-textured foliage that creates a soft backdrop for shorter, earlier-flowering species.

Autumn sage

Getty Images/Reda & Company


  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Salvia gregii
  • Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil type: Dry to medium, well-drained
  • Soil pH: Neutral to slightly alkaline (6.5-7.8)

Despite its name, autumn sage has a very long flowering season, blooming intermittently from spring through fall. However, they are known and named for their impressive late-season display. Many cultivars are available with a wide range of flower colors from pale yellow to orange, fuchsia to purple, red-violet, burgundy, and white. Autumn sage is adaptable to a range of soil types and is quite heat and drought tolerant. Plants grow two to three feet tall and wide, with an open canopy of small, aromatic leaves.

Rose verbena

Getty Images


  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Canadian verbena
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Dry to Medium, well-drained, average
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to slightly alkaline (6.0-8.0)

Although rose verbena begins blooming as early as May, the plants continue to bloom into fall, providing months of color. Clusters of showy pink, purple or white flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. Plants grow in a low mound and will spread slowly by rooting at nodes. Deadhead spend flowers to keep plants compact and flowering.

Red spider lily

Getty Images/Jeremy Miller


  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Licorice is radioactive
  • Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil type: Medium to moist, well-drained, rich
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to slightly alkaline (6.0-8.0)

Often called the equinox flower, the red spider lily blooms with the change of seasons, usually after the first autumn rains. The stunning red flowers stand atop tall stems that rise one to two feet off the ground. Each flower stalk contains four to six two-inch flowers, arranged in a beam. The flowers have long stamens that give the flowers a spider-like appearance. The foliage appears after the flowers fade and continues throughout the winter. Spider lilies look most at home when shown through a low ground cover.

Greater blue lobelia

Getty Images


  • Estimate the life of the zoya: Lobelia pink
  • Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil type: Medium to moist, well-drained, rich
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to slightly alkaline (6.0-8.0)

This flower blooms from late summer to early fall, producing light to dark blue tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. The blooms are produced on spikes up to three feet high. Large blue lobelia tolerates deep shade and moist soil, making it a great addition to shady rain gardens, wet meadows and woodland gardens.

Lily frog

Getty Images/Reda & Company


  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Tricertis hirta
  • Sun exposure: Full to part shadow
  • Soil type: Moist, well-drained, rich
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to neutral (5.6-7.5)

The orchid-like flowers of the toad lily are sure to impress with their exotic charm. Plant this garden gem near paths where you can enjoy unique white to lavender blooms with rich purple spots. The attractive foliage is arranged on arching stems in a ladder-like arrangement. Toad lilies tolerate deep shade and make a wonderful addition to woodland gardens.

Arnica

Getty Images/Catherine McQueen


  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Autumn helenium
  • Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil type: Medium to moist, well-drained, medium to rich
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to neutral (5.5-7.0)

Arnica may have an unappealing name, but rest assured, this native beauty is hypoallergenic. With an abundance of showy flowers in shades of gold, orange and red, sneeze weed is definitely worth a space in the fall garden. Look for one of the many varieties of arnica, which have showier flowers than the upright types and attract an abundance of pollinators. Cut the plants back in early summer to encourage branching and increased flowering.

“Autumn Joy” will last

Getty Images/Eva Vagnerova


  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Helotelephium hybrid “Autumn Joy”
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Dry to Medium, well-drained, low to moderate fertility
  • Soil pH: Neutral to slightly alkaline (6.6-7.8)

'Autumn Joy' has long been a fall garden favorite. With pink flower buds opening into deep rose-red flower heads, 'Autumn Delight' provides a valuable late-season nectar source for bees and butterflies. This drought-tolerant succulent thrives in a variety of environments, from shallow rocky outcrops to clay soil. Cut or pinch the plants back in early spring to maintain a bushy habit and encourage thicker stems.

“Fireworks” Goldenrod

Getty Images


  • Zoya life can be appreciated: Solidago rugosa 'fireworks'
  • Sun exposure: Bright sun
  • Soil type: Medium to moist, well-drained, moderately fertile
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to neutral (5.5-7.0)

Goldenrods are loved for their fall blooms that echo the colors of fall foliage. 'Fireworks' is a rough-leaved goldenrod variety with flowers cascading like a fountain of gold along gracefully arching stems above the foliage. The display is unique among Goldenrods and absolutely stunning. The flowers attract butterflies, bees and other pollinators. The plants tolerate dry and wet soil and spread slowly by roots. Divide plants every three to four years.

Autumn crocus

Getty Images/Clive Nicholls


  • Estimate the life of the Zoya: Colchicum is autumn
  • Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil type: Medium to moist, well-drained, rich
  • Soil pH: Acidic to neutral (4.5-7.5)

Autumn crocuses produce lavender-pink flowers that resemble the spring-blooming bulbs for which they are named. The large, lily-like flowers appear bare—that is, without accompanying foliage—in early fall. The foliage appears separately in the spring. Autumn crocus does well in rock gardens, where it benefits from good drainage. Avoid planting Colchicum in areas that will be covered by fallen leaves in the fall.

Pink grass muhly

Getty Images/Zain SAR


  • Estimate the life of the Zoya: Muhlenbergia Capillaries
  • Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil type: Dry to medium, well-drained
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to neutral (5.5-7.0)

With masses of airy pink plumes, this ornamental grass deserves a place among fall-blooming perennials. Soft flower heads of pink muhly grass hover like clouds above the blue-green foliage, creating drifts of vibrant color unparalleled in the landscape. The flowers are followed by brown seed heads that remain throughout the winter and provide food for birds. Pink Muhly grass is also drought tolerant, deer resistant, and salt tolerant and is ideal for coastal environments as well as dry inland areas.

Blue mist flower

Getty Images/Wirestock


  • Estimate the life of the Zoya: Heavenly Council
  • Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil type: Moist, well-drained, rich
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic to neutral (6.0-7.0)

This showy native plant produces clusters of delicate purple-blue flowers that butterflies adore. It is ideal for landscaping in lawns, along pond edges, and other areas where plants can be allowed to spread by rhizome and self-seeding. Blue Mist Flower blooms over a long season, providing eight weeks of color from late summer until frost. Birds enjoy the seeds that follow the flowers.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply