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6 Perennial Late-Blooming Plants to Add Color to Your Fall Garden

A botany graduate, Nithya Venkat enjoys writing about plants that help sustain life on planet Earth.

Red Valerian Flowers are a beautiful example of late-blooming perennials.

Red Valerian Flowers are a beautiful example of late-blooming perennials.

A garden with colorful flowers in late fall will soften the landing of the cold gloomy winter. Learn about the best fall-blooming perennials, like Red Valerians and Pincushion Plants, to give your fall garden a burst of color.

Red Valerian

The red valerian (Centranthus ruber) is a well-branched, bushy, clump-forming perennial plant with a long blooming season. It is a popular perennial grown for its showy star-shaped crimson, pink, or white flowers. The leaves of this plant are lanceolate and arranged opposite to one another on the stem.

The red valerian plant grows to a height of 2-3 feet and blooms from late summer through fall. The stems are topped by dense panicles of crimson, pink, or white flowers, depending upon the variety. The individual flowers are 8-10 mm long and made of a tube-shaped slender corolla with five-lobed petals of unequal length and a small spur at the base.

This plant freely self-seeds on optimum growing conditions and flourishes in full sun, in average or sandy, well-drained soil. It can grow in dry, poor, infertile soils and is drought tolerant.

The red valerian is a great border plant and adds color to beds, borders, cottage gardens, coastal gardens, or naturalized areas. These plants can be easily propagated from divisions that can be split from the parent plant every one to three years. These plants attract bees and butterflies and are excellent for planting in stone walls.

Pincushion Flower

Pincushion Flower


The pincushion plant (Scabiosa columbaria) is a long-lasting herbaceous perennial, a “Butterfly Blue” cultivar. It is a compact clump-forming plant that typically grows 12 -15 inches tall. It is great to plant in beds, borders, and containers and has a compact growth habit.

The pincushion plant grows well in full sun, well-drained neutral to alkaline soil. The flowers are dome-like with layered petals that resemble old-fashioned sewing pincushions stuck with small pins.

The butterfly-blue flowers are wonderful to keep the garden colorful from late summer through fall. Flowers bloom singly on stiff stems rising from finely cut, grayish-green basal leaves. These flowers are great as cut flowers. To ensure a constant supply of blooms, dead-head the flowers regularly.

Scabiosa columbaria plant's dwarfing habit and lengthy blooming period make these excellent plants for grouping or massing in border fronts and rock gardens. They grow best in light, often nutrient-poor, calcareous soils, making a great addition to gravel gardens and sunny wildlife gardens.

Leadwort Flowers

Leadwort Flowers


Leadwort plant (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides), also known as plumbago, is a perennial deciduous or semi-evergreen ground cover that grows 6-10 inches tall. It has glossy green leaves on long, trailing stems and bears gentian-blue flowers.

The flowers are 3/4 inch in diameter, borne in terminal clusters, gentian-blue with five petals, and appear above the foliage and bloom over a long period from late summer to late fall. The leaves turn reddish-bronze after the first frost and persist late into winter.

Leadwort plants flourish in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter and needs full sun with part shade. These plants rot if the soil is soggy during winter. They propagate easily from seeds, cuttings, and offset divisions.

Put on safety gear such as goggles, long sleeves, gloves before touching the plumbago plants or seeds because all parts of the plants can cause severe skin irritation.



Common Sneezeweed

Common sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) is a late bloomer belonging to the Asteraceae family. It is commonly referred to as sneezeweed because, in the past, the flowers were used to make snuff to induce sneezing and clear congestion.

A herbaceous perennial plant, sneezeweed, is native to North America. It is erect clump-forming and grows to 2-5 feet tall. The leaves are dark green, alternate, lance-shaped, and grow up to 6 inches long.

Sneezeweed flowers bloom over a lengthy period between late summer through fall in clusters of daisy-like flowers that are two inches in diameter with distinct wedge-shaped bright yellow rays that end in three small lobes and prominent dome-like raised center disc.

The sneezeweed grows well in rich medium to wet soils in full sun. They can be planted in beds, prairies, meadows, cottage gardens, wild gardens, and naturalized areas or moist soils. Because they grow well in moist soil, they can be planted in rain gardens.

Sneezeweed can be grown from seeds easily. The leaves, seeds, and flowers are poisonous to humans, toxic if ingested in large quantities.

Thread Leaf Coreopsis

Thread Leaf Coreopsis

Thread Leaf Coreopsis

Thread leaf coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata), also known as tickseed is a rhizomatous perennial. These plants grow in dense, bushy clumps reaching a height of about 2-3 feet.

The flowers are daisy-like with yellow untoothed rays and yellow center disks. The flowers are 1-2 inches wide and bloom singly in loose clusters. The leaves are palmate with three divisions and each division is thread-like giving a fine-textured, airy appearance to the plant. The flowers bloom from late summer through fall.

The thread leaf coreopsis plant thrives in infertile, sandy, and rocky soils and can tolerate drought. If the soil is too rich or moist, the stems become weak, and the plants tend to droop. The clumps are spread by rhizomes and can be divided every two to three years. It can also self-seed.

The thread leaf coreopsis can be planted in sunny borders, naturalized areas, native gardens, or mass plantings.

Autumn Joy Stonecrop

Autumn Joy Stonecrop

Autumn Joy Stonecrop

Autumn Joy stonecrop (Hylotelephium telephium) is an upright variety of stonecrop also known as sedum. It is a herbaceous perennial, a hybrid between Sedum telephium with the ice plant (Hylotelephium spectabile). It grows to 1.5-2 feet tall.

Autumn Joy grows well in full sun, sandy, well-drained soil, does not need much water, and is drought tolerant. It can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and can thrive in extreme heat.

This plant has gray-green, rounded succulent-like leaves and blooms from late summer through fall. The flowers are tiny, pink, star-shaped, and grow in clusters. The flowers gradually change color to a deep rose and then to rust before they die.

Autumn Joy stonecrop plants can be easily propagated through stem cuttings and also propagated by dividing the clumps.


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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.

© 2021 Nithya Venkat


Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on March 02, 2021:

Thank you for your visit and comments Michael Duncan and yes sneezeweed is a fitting name.

Michael Duncan from Germany on February 27, 2021:

These are beautiful flowers and the article is informative. Learnt something new about the use of Helenium Autumnale to induce sneezing and clear congestion, sneezeweed being a fitting name.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on February 24, 2021:

Thank you Chitrangada for taking the time to read and comment. These flowers are beautiful and vibrant.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on February 24, 2021:

Thank you, Ravi, for your visit and comments.

Ravi Rajan from Mumbai on February 23, 2021:

Wonderful information Vellur.Though I do not do gardening, I like to know about various flowers and their unique characteristics. Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece of information.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on February 23, 2021:

Wonderful information about these beautiful flowers. Though, I am familiar with most of them, but thank you for sharing the specific details. Loved all of your pictures.

I like gardening, especially the flowering plants. Thanks for sharing this beautiful article.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on February 23, 2021:

Thank you, Mary, for your visit and pin.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 23, 2021:

Beautiful flowers. i pinned some of them.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on February 22, 2021:

The winter this year has been brutal, take care, Peggy. Thank you for your visit and comments.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on February 22, 2021:

Thank you John for reading and commenting, I hope you get to see some of them.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on February 22, 2021:

Thank you, Devika, for your visit and comments, and yes, flowers rejuvenate our lives.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on February 22, 2021:

Thank you manatita44. Yes, the valerian plants are used for enhancing sleep.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on February 22, 2021:

Thank you Bill for your appreciation and I hope you are able to find some of these plants for your garden.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on February 22, 2021:

Thank you, Linda, for taking the time to read and comment.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 22, 2021:

The plants that you’ve shown and described are beautiful. I love the name “sneezewood”!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 22, 2021:

I'm not sure if these are available here, but I will be finding out. Thanks for the information, my friend. I love any gardening article, and this was a good one.

manatita44 from london on February 22, 2021:

Beautiful, truly beautiful! Coreopsis reminds me of sunflowers, and yes, daisies too. Is that the valerian that is used in herbs for enhancing sleep?

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 22, 2021:

Flowers give such beauty in our lives and surroundings. Your Perennials are lovely.

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on February 21, 2021:

These are lovely plants, Nithya. I don't think I have seen any of these locally but I have heard of most. Beautiful images.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 21, 2021:

Thanks for showcasing these pretty perennial blooming plants. I have sedum in our garden that was in full bloom and have been hurt by the extreme freezing weather we have recently experienced in Texas. I may have to cut them back, but hopefully, they will survive.

Nithya Venkat (author) from Dubai on February 21, 2021:

Thank you, FlourishAnyway, those plants are gorgeous indeed. In Dubai, growing plants is difficult due to the extreme summer heat. I used to have a beautiful garden when I was residing in India. Now it is all potted plants on the balcony.

FlourishAnyway from USA on February 21, 2021:

I bet your gardens are the envy of the neighborhood. I don’t have a green thumb but I am ever hopeful. The valerian and the stonecrop plants you profiled are especially gorgeous. I like that some of the plants attract butterflies.