Plants That Bloom in Fall

Keep the color going in your fall garden with a combination of summer- and late-blooming annuals and perennials.

By: Kristy Bruce

Butterfly Magnet

Known for its sweet scent, joepye weed blooms from midsummer until frost. Typical height is five to six feet tall. Pinch in early summer to grow a shorter, bushier plant. Plant in full sun to partial shade, in a location sheltered from wind. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 10

—image courtesy of Reiman Gardens

Super-Easy Annual

You may love zinnias for their non-stop blooming all summer, but they're also a great choice for the late summer to early fall garden. Until first frost, this popular annual continues to serve as a nectar source for butterflies. Mildew and leaf spots are often an enemy of zinnias, but not for 'Double Zahara Cherry'. Its double blooms attract bees and butterflies. Like all zinnias, 'Zahara' is heat tolerant and sun-loving. Winter hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 10 to 11

— image courtesy of All-America Selections

Heat Tolerant

Depending on the cultivar, fringed blossoms in yellow, red or orange appear mid to late summer and into early fall on the drought-tolerant, sun-loving blanket flower. Plant in full sun in well-drained soil. Must deadhead regularly. Attracts butterflies. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 10 (Pictured: 'Mesa Yellow')

— image courtesy of All-America Selections

Another Easy Annual

The white, yellow, red or orange blooms of marigolds linger until frost. Available in a range of sizes from a few inches to a few feet, marigolds love full sun. (Pictured: 'Moonsong Deep Orange'}

— image courtesy of All-America Selections

Mexican sunflower

The Mexican sunflower can produce a explosion of late-season color as long as hot weather continues into early fall. Vibrant orange or red daisy-like flowers bloom on thick stems amid leaves covered in bristly fuzz. Stems can reach up to 6 feet tall and need shelter from strong winds. Plant in a hot, dry area in full sun and well-drained, fertile soil. Heat and drought resistant. Excellent for attracting butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

Handles Light Frost

A fast-growing beauty that produces spikes of soft pink flowers, twinspur is also tough enough to handle a light frost. Plant in a sunny location with fertile, well-drained soil. Cut back spent stems to bear another round of blooms. Garden height reaches 6-12 inches. USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 10

Autumn Crocus

These relatives of the spring crocus provide a sharp, clear color punch to the early fall garden. Clusters of one to four blossoms appear, minus the leaves, and reach heights of 4-8 inches. Bloom colors range from lavender-pink to light purple. Plant bulbs in full sun with gritty, well-drained soil. USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9

Tolerates Heat, Drought and Poor Soil

A showy centerpiece for that dry part of the garden, strawflower is easy to grow and maintain. Large blooms come in yellow, orange, red, rose, white or pink and may hold up even through the first light frosts. Plant in full sun with well-drained soil. Attracts butterflies. Winter hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11


Osteospermum is valued for its abundance of daisy-like blooms. 'Serenity Lavender Bliss' has distinctive pinwheel flowers with spoon-shaped petals. Plant in full sun in well-drained soil. Attracts butterflies. Winter hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 10 to 11

— image courtesy of Ball Horticultural Co.

Showy Blooms

The over-sized, dazzling blooms of 'Dreamtime Jumbo' bracteantha tend to be more controlled and mounded than with other strawflowers. The pure-white blooms perform well in both cool and hot climates. Mature growth height is 10 to 12 inches. Plant in full sun and expect them to remain beautiful until frost. Winter hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11

— image courtesy of Ball Horticultural Co.

Flowers for Fall

A cool-weather favorite that forms a tidy mound of starburst blooms with airy, needle-like foliage, Swan River daisy blooms till winter in mild climates (spring to summer in colder areas). Depending on cultivar, flowers come in white, pink, violet or blue and contain either a yellow or black center (here, 'Enduring Blue'). Plant in full sun with rich, well-drained soil. Deadhead for continued flowering. Winter hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 8B

— image courtesy of Ball Horticultural Co.


This ideal cool-weather flower adds fragrance, color and an abundance of butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. The foot-tall 'Aromatica Sky Blue' is one of the best in the series: a multitude of airy blooms cover these well-branched plants. Plant in full sun in well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 10

— image courtesy of Ball Horticultural Co.

Cool-Weather Flowers

Blue lobelia is typically a shade-tolerant upright bloomer, with dozens of blooms trail up to 3 feet on certain varieties. 'Waterfall Azure Mist' is a more mounded cultivar reaching 8 to 12 inches. Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. USDA Hardiness Zones: 2 to 9

— image courtesy of Ball Horticultural Co.

Deadheading Required

Whether it's the plume-like, feathery type or the velvety cockscomb variety, celosia is an eye-catching addition to any garden, available in an abundance of vibrant colors. Deadheading is required to continue bloom into the fall. Plant in full sun with rich, well-drained soil. Celosia self seeds. Winter hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 10 (Pictured: 'Fresh Look Gold'

— image courtesy of All-America Selections

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