Fall-Flowering Gardens: Creating Color And Interest With Fall Garden Plants

Garden Of Fall Colored Flowers
fall garden
(Image credit: kongxinzhu)

Flower gardens need not be restricted to spring and summer enjoyment. There are many plants that bloom throughout the fall season as well. In fact, fall flowering gardens not only provide extended blooming, but foliage, berries, bark and other focal points can also provide additional color and interest. Additionally, plants for fall gardens offer food and shelter to wildlife at a time when it may otherwise be scarce.

Fall Garden Planting Guide

Knowing when, where and what to plant in the fall garden is important. The best time to plant a fall garden is late September through early October, depending on where you live. In order to be successful in planting, check the hardiness zone for your particular area beforehand. This will also come in handy for choosing appropriate plants for fall gardens.

Fall Garden Plants

There are a number of plants for fall gardens. Let's take a look at some of the most common fall garden plants for ideas.


Flowering plants include a variety of annuals, bulbs, and perennials. Many cool-season annuals work well in fall-flowering gardens, such as snapdragons, pot marigolds, and pansies. These types of annuals are available in a variety of colors so finding one that suits your taste shouldn't be a problem. Bulbs such as toad lilies, autumn crocus, and cyclamen also do well in a fall-flowering garden. Numerous perennials also bloom during autumn and provide additional interest throughout winter too. Some of the most popular fall-blooming perennials include asters, chrysanthemums, and goldenrods.

Trees and Shrubs

Trees and shrubs help give the fall-flowering gardens additional shape, texture, and color. Once flowering bulbs and other plants have begun to fade, the intense shades of leaf color, ranging from yellow and orange to red and purple, create a stunning display. Japanese maples and witch hazels are commonly seen in the fall-flowering garden, providing brilliant fall foliage. Most of us think of the blooms as the major attraction on a rose bush. However, did you know there are many rose varieties that offer colorful fall foliage as well, such as Virginia Rose and Blue Rambler? Their leaf color can be further enhanced by placing them among a background of evergreens. When choosing trees and shrubs for fall-flowering gardens, you should also consider their bark characteristics. For instance, those that peel or provide unusual color can be quite appealing in the fall-flowering garden.

Ornamental Grass and Ground Covers

Ornamental grasses generally reach their peak during autumn, adding texture, volume, and color to the fall-flowering garden. Many of these develop seed heads after flowering has ceased, and their foliage turns golden-brown. Berries also ripen in the fall and supply additional color and interest with shades of red, purple, and yellow. There are many ground covers that produce berries and have colorful leaves. Even some of the evergreen varieties make attractive additions.

Ornamental Veggies

Ornamental veggie plants can also complement other fall-bloomers. For instance, ornamental kales range in color from white to red with green or purple foliage. Ornamental peppers produce bright red fruits that cover the plant, creating a unique presence in the fall-flowering garden. Additional features for fall-flowering gardens include focal elements such as statues, ponds, stones, arbors, etc. Creating a fall-flowering garden can extend seasonal interest beyond the spring and summer months; and many fall garden plants will continue to thrive for years to come.

Nikki Tilley
Senior Editor

Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.