Did your flower garden fade mid-summer? Extend the flower show with blooming plants that flower in autumn. Here we’ll cover a selection of fall blooming flowers that will brighten your front porch or garden at harvest time. Who knows? You may have flowers for a holiday centerpiece!
What types of colorful plants thrive in the fall?
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
This easy-care flower with soft, bright yellow petals looks lovely in an autumn garden or a naturalized setting. A member of the daisy family, black-eyed
Celosia (Celosia cristata)
Sometimes called cockscomb due to the bright red flowers of some varieties, celosia is a blooming annual. Celosia color varieties include traditional red, pink, peach, orange, golden yellow, purple, and white. It offers long-lasting blooms and brilliant color in your fall garden. Celosia enjoys the sun, loves the heat, and is tolerant of drought conditions. It will also grow in part-sun happily residing next to taller plants. Pinch back the first bloom to encourage side branching and abundant flowering.
When you think of fall, the classic mum comes to mind. Where you live and your planting zone will affect how you grow chrysanthemums. Mums come in a wide variety of colors and heights (dwarf to giant) so it’s best to visit a plant nursery for help on choosing the best mums for your garden or planter. Chrysanthemum bloom colors range from white, yellow, orange, bronze, burgundy, and deep purple. Depending on where you live, some cultivars bloom in late summer, while others wait until October. Plant hardy mums in spring in northern climates. In the South, plant them in either spring or fall. Planting in fall protects young plants from the summer heat. Chrysanthemums prefer lots of sun and well-drained, organic soil.
Crotons are native to Malaysia, India, and the South Pacific Islands. The colorful leaves are often speckled or variegated. This eye-catching tropical is easy to care for and hardy in planting zones 9 to 11. Southern gardeners who experience little to no frost can grow crotons in a container or garden. Smart gardeners grow croton in rolling containers so when the temperature dips, the plant can be moved to a sheltered location. Crotons prefer bright, indirect light and a spot away from chilly breezes.
What temperatures do fall blooming flowers prefer?
As the days grow shorter and daytime temperatures cool, it’s the time for fall flowers to put on a show. Autumn temperatures can be unpredictable, swinging from very hot during the day to a drop of 40°F at night, so keep a close eye on them.
When should I plant fall flowers?
If you are starting fall flowers from seed, start them in spring and transplant them to the garden or container in early summer. This will allow plenty of time for healthy roots to grow in warm soil and ensure a colorful show in early to late fall. Most fall flowers begin blooming mid-summer and then continue until frost. See the fall planting schedule below:
In early to mid-spring, and after the last frost date –
Before hot weather arrives, divide fall perennials and plant divisions.
In summer –
Direct sow seeds for fall annuals. Add heat-tolerant perennial and annual plants to the garden.
In early fall –
Plant cold-tolerant annuals and perennials
How should I water my fall flowers?
Autumn weather can be unpredictable from day to day. New plants and annuals have shallow root systems that require frequent watering. Fall perennials with mature root systems can go longer in between watering. If your area is prone to rainy periods in fall, you may able to irrigate less.
As a rule, keep the top 2 to 3 inches of soil consistently moist. Watering at ground level with a soaker hose or a garden hose turned to a low trickle and laid on the soil is best. Once the heavy flowering period has passed and plants begin dormancy, you can water less often. Cool, wet weather signals that it’s time to lighten the watering schedule.
Will frost harm fall flowering plants?
It depends on the plant. To minimize frost damage, plant fall flowers in an area that receives a maximum amount of light, and away from strong breezes. A visit to the plant nursery proves that there are several frost-tolerant flowering plants available to the home gardener. The following plants are known to tolerate frosty conditions.
- Ornamental Kale
Ask a local nursery professional for advice on the best frost-tolerant plants as well.
Which fall flowers grow best in containers?
Here’s a shortlist of fall flowering plants that thrive in porch pots and containers:
- Coral Bells
- Creeping Jenny
- Ornamental Cabbage
Bonus tip: Trade out your tired container tomatoes for cool-season salad greens. Mesclun mixes, spinach, leaf lettuces, and kale are excellent choices. Add a few fall pansies in the mix for an edible fall container garden.