The Best Fall Flowers (That Aren’t Mums)

Updated: May 11, 2023

Keep your garden growing with expert and reader picks for the best fall flowers. Adding these blooming plants for autumn color.

The Best Fall Flowers to Grow

monarch on goldenrod, seed bearing plantsCourtesy Lisa Thompson
Monarch butterfly on goldenrod

Q: “Besides mums, what fall flowers should I plant to get more blooms and color in autumn?” asks Judy Roberts, Graytown, Ohio.

Horticultural expert Melinda Myers says: Mums definitely signal the end of the growing season, but native asters, turtleheads and goldenrods are also excellent options. Try sunny Ohio goldenrod or the cultivar Fireworks. They provide nectar for pollinators preparing for winter or migrating to their southern homes.

Asters are a late-blooming, bee and butterfly friendly flower that looks gorgeous in the garden and in a fall floral display.

Psst—these are some of the best flowers that attract bees.

purple mountain AsterCourtesy Douglas Beall
Purple aster is one of the best fall flowers to grow.

“One of my favorite nonnative plants is toad lily (pictured below). The flowers may remind you of orchids and appear along or at the tip of the plant’s stem. Native and noninvasive ornamental grasses also provide texture year-round, and many flower in fall, producing attractive seed heads that last through winter,” Melinda says.

Toad-Lily-PlantCourtesy Heather Labuda
Toad lily plants flower in fall.

When landscaping, don’t forget about shrubs for autumn beauty. These are the best fall shrubs for your garden.

Reader Picks for Fall Flowers

best fall flowers, obedient plantalybaba/Shutterstock
Obedient plant
  • Autumn Joy sedum. These plants not only put on a beautiful show in fall, but light green foliage accents the garden all summer. Everyone should plant them!” says Bonnie Vaden, Byhalia, Mississippi
  • Obedient plant (Physostegia) is one of my favorite late-summer plants. I love the color and height,” says Judy Ellis, Toledo, Ohio.
  • Brown-eyed Susans pop up almost anywhere, with lots of sweet little blooms that last a long time. This plant is also called the three-lobed coneflower,” says Kathy Baus, Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
  • “Solidago, also known as goldenrod—it grows wild in my garden. I used to call it the back-to-school flower because it blooms about the time I wanted summer to go on and on,” says Carolyn Hopper, Bozeman, Montana.
  • “Mums are always nice. They say autumn just as much as pumpkins and colored leaves do,” says Linda Andrews, Canterbury, Connecticut.
  • “I love purple pansies. They’re beautiful with their yellow throats— so dainty and delicate,” says Jerrie Carney Coler, Cairo, Illinois.

Next, discover the best late summer and fall flowers for hummingbirds.