Top 10 Fall Blooming Perennials for Your Garden

Welcome shorter days and longer nights with colorful blooming fall perennials that light up your late-season flower garden.

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Fall flower gardens can be just as colorful and pretty as summer gardens—it just takes a little planning. For best results with these fall blooming perennials, make sure you plant them earlier in the season, so that they’re bright and hardy when fall hits. Deadheading is often key to making sure these fall perennials keep producing blooms past the summer months. Besides additional color, a huge benefit of maintaining a fall garden is that it helps pollinators, too. Hummingbirds and butterflies (including migrating monarchs and painted ladies) go wild for the nectar of many of these autumn superstars.

For more garden ideas, check out the top 10 full sun perennials that thrive in sunshine.

sedumCourtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries



Zones 3 to 10

Take a close look and you’ll notice that this plant’s flower heads are made up of little star-shaped blooms. Since these flowering succulent plants range from 3 inches to 3 feet high, some species work well as ground covers, while others make excellent border plants.

Why we love it: One popular sedum variety, Autumn Joy, has broccoli-shaped light green flower heads that slowly change to pink and deepen to burgundy. Another gorgeous sedum is Mr. Goodbud. Later, the seeds feed hungry songbirds.

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Here’s how to plant a gorgeous fall garden your birds will love.

Via Monrovia

Hot Lips Turtlehead

Chelone Lyonii ‘Hot Lips’

Zones 3 to 8

The vibrant rosy-pink color is sure to lure you in for a closer look at the uniquely shaped flowers. Dark green leaves and eye-catching red stems add to this plant’s appeal. Grow this versatile fall blooming perennial plant in full sun to part shade. Psst—here’s more colorful shade garden plants.

Why we love it: The species is native to wet woodlands and streams, making it a great choice for those tricky areas with moist soil and rain gardens.

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Proven Winners

Russian Sage

Perovskia Atriplicifolia

Zones 4 to 9

Blue flowers shine from summer through fall on this stunning heat- and drought-tolerant plant. Grow in full sun and well-draining soil for best results. Prune Russian sage plants back to 4 inches in late winter or early spring for shorter growth. Or grow a compact variety such as Blue Spire, Lacey Blue or Denim ‘n Lace.

Why we love it: The fragrant foliage adds a bit of aromatherapy to your spring garden cleanup. Don’t miss the top 10 fall container plants for a pretty front porch.

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photo credit: White Flower Farm

Waterlily Autumn Crocus

Colchicum ‘Waterlily’

Zones 4 to 7

Add a colorful surprise to the front of your garden with the large leafless blooms of Waterlily autumn crocus. Plant the bulbs in late summer and then enjoy the flowers right away in fall. Next spring, 6- to 14-inch tall leaves appear for about 8 weeks and then fade away for summer. Each fall, the flowers reappear, sans leaves. Learn why fall is the perfect time to plant perennials.

Why we love it: Autumn crocus looks great among flowering groundcovers.

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photo credit:

Joe Pye Weed

Eutrochium Purpureum

Zones 4 to 9

Give Joe Pye Weed some room! These fall perennials reach 7 feet tall in full sun to partial shade and moist soil. You and the butterflies will fall in love with the large, fragrant mauve-pink flower clusters. Plus, the seed heads persist and add texture and interest to your winter garden. Plant these long-blooming flowers to attract butterflies and hummingbirds

Why we love it: For tight spaces, try Little Joe (3 to 4 feet tall) and Baby Joe (32 inches tall). Both of these smaller options are ideal for rain gardens or small garden beds. Discover more of the prettiest pink perennial flowers to grow.

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photo credit:

Hot Lava Helenium

Helenium ‘Hot Lava’

Zones 3 to 8

Hot Lava’s non-drooping, outstretches petals provide an ever-changing display of color through the blooming season. The daisy-like flowers open yellow, then develop orange and red streaks, and finally mature to red.

Why we love it: Dress up your indoor decor by adding these colorful blossoms to your fall bouquets. Check out the top 10 flowers for a cutting garden.

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photo credit: North Creek Nurseries, Inc.

Lemon Queen Sunflower

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’

Zones 4 to 9

Save a spot in the back of the pollinator garden for this royal sunflower. Creamy yellow flowers top 6-foot-tall plants from late summer through fall. The upright, bushy plant provides a nice backdrop for neighboring flowers. Pinch the stems back throughout June if you want to keep your plant shorter.

Why we love it: Lemon Queen is great as a cut flower. Plus, hummingbirds and butterflies will gladly take advantage of the bright fall blooms. Discover more fall flowers that attract butterflies.

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photo credit: North Creek Nurseries, Inc.

Fireworks Goldenrod

Solidago Rugosa ‘Fireworks’

Zones 4 to 9

An explosion of bright yellow flowers tops this 3-foot fall blooming perennial plant. Grow low-maintenance Fireworks in full sun or light shade. Contrary to popular belief, this is not the hay fever culprit. Ragweed, which is often found growing next to goldenrod, causes the sniffles. Learn how to grow wildflowers for butterflies.

Why we love it: Goldenrods are a great nectar and pollen source for fall’s flying pollinators, including bees and other beneficial insects.

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photo credit: Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

Mammoth Garden Mum

Chrysanthemum Morifolium ‘Mammoth’

Zones 3 to 9

Bred by the University of Minnesota, this hardy garden mum is right at home in both the north and south. Grow it in full sun in the garden or a container. This heavy fall blooming perennial produces plenty of flowers, so share fresh-from-the-garden bouquets with friends. Check out more easy plants you can grow in containers.

Why we love it: It’s a large mum that needs no early season pinching to stand upright in your autumn garden. Add drama with the top 10 bold burgundy perennial flowers.

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photo credit: Bluestone Perennials

Alma Potschke Aster

Symphyotrichum Novae-Angliae ‘Andenken An Alma Potschke’

Zones 4 to 8

Plant these flowers in the front yard! Vivid rose-pink blooms on this New England aster will grab the attention of passerby and the neighbors. Pinch the stems back to 6 inches throughout June to encourage compact growth, sturdier stems and more flowers. Or let these fall perennials grow (up to about 4 feet tall!) and surround them with sturdy companion plants.

Why we love it: Birds and butterflies visit late-blooming asters, which adds motion and life to your backyard.

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Melinda Myers
Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books. She hosts the nationally syndicated “Melinda’s Garden Moment” TV and radio segments and is the instructor for The Great Courses How to Grow Anything DVD and Instant Video series. Melinda is a dynamic presenter, appearing at many events throughout the country each year. She has received recognition and numerous awards, including the American Horticultural Society’s B.Y. Morrison Communication Award and was inducted into The Association for Garden Communicators Hall of Fame.
Kirsten Schrader
Kirsten has more than 15 years of experience writing and editing birding and gardening content. As content director of Birds & Blooms, she leads the team of editors and freelance writers sharing tried-and-true advice for nature enthusiasts who love to garden and feed birds in their backyards. Since joining Birds & Blooms 17 years ago, Kirsten has held roles in digital and print, editing direct-to-consumer books, running as many as five magazines at a time, and managing special interest publications. Kirsten has traveled to see amazing North American birds and attended various festivals, including the Sedona Hummingbird Festival, the Rio Grande Bird Festival, The Biggest Week in American Birding Festival, and the Cape May Spring Festival. She has also witnessed the epic sandhill crane migration while on a photography workshop trip to Colorado. Kirsten has participated in several GardenComm and Outdoor Writers Association of America annual conferences and is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. When she's not researching, writing, and editing all things birding and gardening, Kirsten is enjoying the outdoors with her nature-loving family. She and her husband are slowly chipping away at making their small acreage the backyard of their dreams.