Keep Your Garden Looking Great with Fall-Blooming Annuals

Updated: Nov. 16, 2023

Even though the days may be getting shorter, these annual flowers will add color to your fall garden.

PA Amish Farmer's Market-007

It is a clear sign that fall is on its way when you begin seeing pumpkins and mums at your local nursery. Summer flowers are beginning to fade in the garden, leaving it somewhat colorless. But, you don’t have to settle for a boring fall garden. Here are the best fall flowers that aren’t mums.

There are countless flowering cool-season annuals that you can plant now to add beautiful, color to your garden. Here are a few of my favorites.



Violas come in many different colors and are easier to grow than pansies. You can create a gorgeous container, like the one above, by combining 5 different colored violas. Here’s 9 more fun fall outdoor container ideas.

Lobelia container


Lobelia is one of the bluest flowers that you can find anywhere. It looks great when used as a trailing plant when planted next to taller flowering annuals. In this container, that I saw at an Amish flea market in upstate New York, the lobelia looks like it is sprouting from the ends of the ornamental grass in the center.

geraniums and bacopa


Geraniums do well in the cooler temperatures of fall. I like to plant trailing annuals around them such as alyssum or bacopa (pictured above). Another great combination is to plant bright pink geraniums with blue lobelia. All gardeners should plant these late-blooming fall flowers that attract butterflies.

Wheelbarrow Marigolds


Marigolds will also flower into fall. The bright orange flowers contrast nicely with this old green wheelbarrow. When the flowers fade, sprinkle some of the seed throughout your garden and they will reappear after winter. Here’s more flowers that are easy to grow from seed.



Cosmos are a must-have for any garden. They usually come in shades of purple, but are also available in yellows and orange. Cosmos are easy to start from seed, but for fall planting, you are better off buying transplants. Check out the best places to buy plants and seeds online.

A few years ago, I was driving through North Carolina in October and noticed large swaths of cosmos planted along the highway medians. They were just beautiful.



If you have kids, then you know that snapdragons are one of their favorite flowers with their opening and closing ‘dragon mouths’. Snapdragons are a great flowering annual to use toward the back of the garden because of their height. I like to plant petunias in front of my snapdragons. Annuals vs. perennials — what is the difference?

Pink Petunia hanging basket

Trailing Petunia

Trailing petunias are becoming very popular. The flowers are smaller than regular petunias, but they have a trailing growth habit, which makes them a great choice for hanging pots. Check out the best fall shrubs to grow this season.

Ornamental Kale

Ornamental Kale

An unlikely plant has become a welcome addition to the fall garden—ornamental kale. Available in purple and white colors, this leafy vegetable is used as a ornamental plant.  The colors deepen with cool temperatures.  Plant with purple violas and bacopa for a beautiful cool color combination. Like regular kale, ornamental kale is edible, but because it was bred as an ornamental plant, it does not taste as good. Learn more about edible flowers that you can eat.

So as your summer flowers begin to fade, celebrate the arrival of fall with these fall bloomers!