Although springtime is known for fields of colorful tulips and daffodil flowers, that doesn’t mean that autumn can’t be full of activity in the garden with planting and blooming fall flowers. In fact, fall is a great time for annuals, perennials and evergreen shrubs to shine. Some popular fall flowers include colorful mums, dahlias, purple pansies and yes, even bright yellow sunflowers!
While many of these fall flowers peak in mid-summer and continue to share their beauty into autumn, others will be in bloom until the first hard frost. If you are a beginner gardener and are wondering how to plant a fall garden, leave it to us to walk you through each fall flower’s needs. We also recommend that you follow the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zones, which provides helpful information on what and when to plant based on where you live. You can also get additional guidance by checking with your local nursery to help you determine which annuals or perennials are best to plant for your autumn garden. You’ll likely want to start planning late spring or early summer to ensure that you’ll have plenty options and time for your new plants to establish its roots before the first frost comes (but be sure to check with each plant’s needs).
So with a little planning and guidance, it’s time to put on those gardening gloves and get planting for a thriving garden full of fall flowers!
The quintessential fall flower, you can pick up mums for (practically) a dime a dozen at the grocery store. Set the pots in bright, indirect light and water consistently throughout autumn. To keep ’em blooming (and looking neat), cut off buds as they wilt.
As its name suggests, these gorgeous flowers—which can be found in shades of blue, white, and pink—resemble hot-air balloons before they blossom. While they do well with full sun, they can also thrive in partial shade.
If your garden needs a burst of color, look no further than hardy fuchsia, which is also referred to as fuchsia magellanica. Keep in mind that the right soil—not too dry, moist, or hot—is key for this type of flower.
Amaranthus produces gorgeous tassel-like flowers each fall that look great in arrangements — both fresh-cut and dried. Grow this annual in full sun or part shade, advises the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Also known as cockscomb, Celosia cristata produces crested flowerheads several inches wide well into autumn. Its relative Celosiaplumosa, on the other hand, produces feathery-like plumes — another fall favorite.
They may peak mid-summer, but most sunflowers will keep shooting up, up, up even as the weather cools. Harvest when the seeds start to turn brown, or the backs of the seed heads turn yellow. You’ll have to beat the birds to them, however.
The tropical flowers and lush leaves reach up to 8 feet high and can dazzle from May until October, depending on the type and place. Plant dwarf varieties in containers and bring them inside over the winter to enjoy them year-round.
Your kitchen will never go without flowers if you plant a bed of pink cosmos. They make for great bouquets from spring until first frost. Bonus: Finished blooms can self-seed in your garden for even more stems.
These tiny beauties flower profusely until first frost, brightening beds, borders, and hanging baskets even in part shade. They’ll even tolerate the hot, dry summer days in the South leading up to a cooler fall.
Yes, you get attractive dark-green foliage in the summer, but autumn and winter are when this popular shrub really shines. Spidery witch hazel flowers will often bloom way past the time other trees and bushes drop their leaves.
Watch this succulent plant sprout up in the summer before bursting into a deep pink or red in the fall. Since sedum (also called stonecrop) stores water in its leaves, it’s incredibly heat- and drought-resistant, and butterflies love the wide, dense flowers.
Like toads, these orchid-like flowers love shady, moist locations — but rest assured they’re a lot prettier than their namesake. Tricyrtis does well with other woodland plants like hostas and ferns, according to the Chicago Botanic Garden — but watch out for deer. They’ll like these blossoms as much as you do.
You might know colchicum by its other name: autumn crocus. As you would expect, they do bloom between August and September, but without any foliage. The leaves only appear in the spring before dying back.
Caution: This plant is poisonous, but with purple flowers this lovely it’s hard to resist. Plant the perennial (also called wolfsbane) in shaded areas — and make sure you wash your hands after handling it. If you have curious kids or pets, you might want to skip this one.
Monique Valeris Senior Home Editor Monique Valeris is the senior home editor for Good Housekeeping, where she oversees the brand’s home decorating coverage across print and digital.
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