When you invest hours of work in your garden, you want it to last as long as possible.
That’s where fall perennials come in; these late-blooming plants bring color to your garden long after the last summer flowers have faded.
Don’t limit yourself to mums — plant a variety of the best fall perennials for truly spectacular autumn bloom.
1. Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
Many fall perennials feature autumnal colors; if you prefer cooler tones, look to the anise hyssop plant.
When it starts blooming toward the end of the summer, this beautiful species creates stunning spikes covered in purple flowers.
The tall, elegant spikes can grow to be 3 feet tall, so they add height and dimension to a traditional garden. This low-maintenance perennial gives off a distinct anise scent, so you don’t need to worry about deer.
The aster is another lovely purple plant that also comes in white, pink, and blue.
Each flower features long, slender petals that extend out from a dark yellow center; they look similar to daisies.
Aster plants can grow to be as tall as 4 feet tall, so they blend in easily with gardens of all sizes.
3. Autumn Crocus (Colchicum sp.)
Do you love the fresh, bright colors of the traditional crocus?
Extend the experience with the autumn crocus — it looks similar but is actually part of the lily family.
Like tulips, they start with deep-toned leaves and thick stems. Every fall, they come to life with large purple or pink flowers with large petals. The best part?
Since each bulb can create up to 10 individual flowers, you can achieve ample ground coverage with minimal planting effort.
4. Blanket Flower ( Gaillardia aristata )
Bridge the gap between the warmer months and the cooler days of fall with the blanket flower.
It starts blooming toward the end of August and continues for weeks.
Whether you need fall perennials for planters or ground cover, the blanket flower is a wonderful option; many varieties max out at just 10 inches tall and deliver a bold pop of orange, yellow, and red.
5. Cardinal Flower ( Lobelia cardinalis )
As you might guess from its name, the cardinal flower has flowers in a thrilling shade of red.
The stems grow in tight clumps, creating a solid blanket of color that stretches across your yard. If you have a long fall season, you’ll love these long-blooming blossoms — they bring in bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
As you’re selecting a variety, make sure to read carefully; not all cardinal flowers are perennials.
6. Hardy Begonias (Begonia grandis)
True to its name, the hardy begonia is, indeed, hardy.
This tough little flower is strong enough to stand up to cool falls and cold winters. You’d never guess by looking at it — with its delicate pink blooms, and large, bright-green leaves, it looks suited to spring.
Each leaf features red veins, adding a thrilling pop of autumnal color to this pretty plant. With its ample coverage and thick foliage, the hardy begonia works well in borders and traditional beds.
7. Ironweed (Vernonia)
Ironweed is a remarkably versatile plant. Some varieties are compact, topping out at 3 feet tall.
Others are enormous, growing in huge bushes that stand 11-12 feet off the ground. No matter which option you choose, you’ll enjoy tall stems capped with bunches of spiky purple blooms.
This fall perennial blossoms well into the autumn months; it’s also a great way to bring in more butterflies to your garden.
8. Japanese Anemone (Anemone x or Anemone hupehensis var.)
Are you looking to refresh your garden this fall? Check out the Japanese anemone.
With its small, white flowers and yellow centers, it brightens up your yard just as other plants are starting to fade. The adorable blooms are also available in purple or pink.
Before and after the flowers appear, the Japanese anemone features narrow, dark-green foliage that complements the other species in your garden. Plant this fall perennial in zones 5-8 for best results.
9. Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium sp.)
Despite its unusual name, the Joe Pye weed is a pretty, flowering plant that blooms in the late summer and early fall.
If you want to make a big, bold statement, this is the flower for you — it grows up to 8 feet tall and produces huge clumps of purple flowers that tower over your yard.
Whether you plant it in the back of a border or along the perimeter of your property, the Joe Pye weed is sure to turn heads. As a bonus, it’s a magnet for butterflies and bumblebees.
10. Leadwort (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides)
Small and delicate, the leadwort plant is a lovely way to cover the ground in your yard or garden this fall.
This species might be tiny, but it packs a big punch — the flowers grow in a brilliant shade of blue, creating a carpet of color.
As the winter draws nearer, the cheerful green leaves transform into a flaming shade of red. The result is a beautiful and unexpected addition to your fall foliage.
11. Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa columbaria)
With its unique shape, the pincushion flower is an easy way to spruce up your fall garden.
Each flower features an intricate set of petals that branch out from the center. Individual petals form tiny domes, creating layer upon layer of delicate beauty.
If you’re in the market for small fall perennials, this is a lovely choice; most varieties of the pincushion flower reach just 12 inches tall.
12. Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber)
If you’re searching for fall perennials in traditional autumn colors, the red valerian delivers.
As the summer draws to a close, it bursts with deep red blossoms. The delicate, star-shaped blooms grow in thick, dense clusters, creating a wide stripe of color across your yard.
Most red valerian options grow up to 3 feet tall; they’re an easy way to add height to a compact garden bed or a planting container.
13. Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)
Do you miss the bright colors of spring and summer as the seasons start to turn?
Plant sneezeweed and keep the brilliant shades going strong into the fall. Featuring delightful shades of red, gold, and orange, this flower is so bright, it almost looks neon.
The cheerful blooms last until the first frost, so you can enjoy the color for months.
14. Stonecrop (Sedum sp.)
When you need to cover a large area, the stonecrop is the perfect fall perennial.
As the weather changes, it grows enormous clusters of flowers. The leaves are variegated — they also change color with seasonal shifts, so your garden looks different every month of the year.
Choose from many different color varieties; most work well in zones 4-9.
15. Tickseed (Coreopsis sp)
Despite the unusual name, tickseed is a stunning fall flower.
With its thick, spherical flowers, this perennial looks like a cross between a carnation and a daisy.
The tickseed is a great choice for busy gardeners; it requires minimal maintenance, so you can plant it and enjoy the blooms.
16. Turtle Heads (Chelone sp.)
Do you like to fill your garden with unexpected plants?
The turtle head is an excellent option. Each blossom features two petals that curve inward toward each other in a vague turtle-shell shape.
With foliage that grows 2-3 feet tall, the turtle head is versatile and easy to maintain. Choose from purple, white, and pink varieties.
17. Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Mirror the golden tones of the changing fall leaves with the witch hazel plant. This autumnal stunner has unusual flowers with dark centers and long, spiky petals.
In some varieties, the yellow is so bright, it seems to glow. Keep in mind that the witch hazel plant can reach 20 feet tall, so it needs plenty of space.