Dorothy is a master gardener, former newspaper reporter, and the author of several books. Michael is a landscape and nature photographer.
Fall Can Be a Second Spring
It's a shame that our spring and summer plants won't bloom forever. It's sad but true. Many of them (perennials) will return next year, while others (annuals) provide us with only a few months of enjoyment, then die away never to return.
Don't think for a minute, however, that spring can be the only time of the year to enjoy outstanding color around your yard and on your deck or patio. There are so many gorgeous flowers, trees and shrubs that thrive during the Autumn months, and this article will introduce you to a few of my favorites.
Not all plants are appropriate in every growing zone, so know your zone and check to see that these will grow in your area.
Some of My Personal Favorite Fall-Blooming Flowers
If you are looking for a brilliant, display of colors around your yard during the fall, you can't go wrong with these:
- Japanese anemone (Hardy in zones 4–8): These plants are well suited for a sunny flower bed. The saucer-shaped flowers they produce are white or pink and bloom from late summer to mid-fall. They can grow from 4–5 feet high so make sure you space them properly. You can plant them in partial sun to part shade, and a moist, humus-rich soil is ideal.
- Sedum (mossy stonecrop) (Hardy in zones 3–10): Mossy stonecrop prefers to grow in full sun and will bloom all the way from summer to fall. It's a favorite in rock gardens, and as a perennial border, offering reliable, late-season blooms in yellow, pink, red, white or bronze. It is a classic ground cover with succulent, evergreen leaves that turn a bronze-red color in fall. In early summer, clusters of white flowers appear, attracting butterflies.
- Witch hazel (Hardy in zones 3–9): Witch hazel is one of the last shrubs to flower in the fall. It is grown for its wonderful fragrance; spidery, yellow flowers; and brightly colored foliage in the fall. It requires a lot of space, growing up to 12 feet tall and wide. It will do very well in full shade or partial sun, and requires moist, well-draining soil.
- Boston ivy (Hardy in zones 4–9): Birds love the dark blue berries produced on Boston ivy, an ornamental, close clinging climbing vine. Although it blooms in the summer, it provides showy autumn foliage and extra food for the birds that hang around in the winter. The vines can grow up to 50 feet tall rapidly if unobstructed by pruning or vine breakage. It uses clinging pads to climb walls and requires close planting to its support wall (plant it about 12 inches from a wall so the roots have room to extend).
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- Shop in the spring when garden centers have the largest selection. Add to your landscape whenever fall annuals become available.
- Set aside an area in which you can plant clusters for fall, making it a wonderful focal point.
- When your spring and summer plants have begun dying back and you are left with gaps to fill, consider buying cool-season annuals (ornamental kale, marigolds, pansies).
- Use pots! Colorful pots filled with amazing plants, on your patio or in your yard, can create outstanding color and texture.
- Create your fall garden with grasses, trees, vines and shrubs. Don't limit yourself to flowers alone. The movement and texture in your yard will be amazing.
- Summertime may be over but your garden still needs water. If your area doesn't get a sufficient amount of rain, be sure to water new plants (as well as existing ones) until the ground freezes.
- Know your area's frost date because even a light frost can damage or kill some plants.
- Raking leaves and removing diseased and insect-infested plants will keep your yard looking great and prepare it to survive the cold, winter months.
More Great Fall-Blooming Plants
Japanese toad lily
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Mike and Dorothy McKenney
Mike and Dorothy McKenney (author) from United States on August 14, 2020:
Very glad to hear that!
Lee A Barton from New Mexico on August 13, 2020:
I love fall flowers and I got a lot of good ideas from this article!