Whether you’re thinking of selling this fall or just looking to extend the beauty of your summer garden, you might be concerned about the coming of autumn. But if you think the start of fall means the end of your flowers — think again!
Fall décor isn’t limited to indoors. If you factor in bloom times when planning your garden and layer in any of these 10 fall-flowering plants, your home will have colourful curb appeal each spring, summer and fall (sorry winter, this is Canada).
This unfussy perennial, planted from bulbs or tubers in late summer or early fall, thrives in partial shade and is tolerant of most soils. Its dark green ivy-shaped leaves provide excellent ground cover in spring and summer and its elegant nodding flowers ranging from white to deep magenta bloom above the foliage from late summer to mid-autumn.
Chrysanthemums or “mums” are a very popular flower for autumn gardens because they have hundreds of different colour varieties (literally hundreds!). This perennial should be planted at least six weeks before a killing frost in the fall, but are more likely to survive the winter if planted earlier in the spring or summer. They prefer full sun and nutrient-rich, draining soil.
Iberis Autumn Beauty
These glossy evergreen mounds with pristine white blossoms flower twice a year—once in spring and again in late fall (talk about value!). Great for edging, Iberis do well in full sun or partial shade and need soil with excellent drainage.
Also known as woolflower—these showy annuals combine the striking colours of a sunset with a unique, reef-like appearance through summer and into fall. Plant established seedlings in a sunny spot with rich, well-drained soil in spring after the last frost. The blossoms of this plant are quite hardy and make great additions to bouquets of cut flowers.
Named for its subtle, sweet smell, Sweet Alyssum form a carpet of tiny flowers that range from white to purple. These annuals typically bloom from June through October but may continue growing all year in frost-free climates. They grow best in full sun or partial shade in rich, fertile soil.
Oak Leaf Hydrangea
Heralded for their lobed leaves and cones of hardy blossoms, the Oak Leaf Hydrangea (hi-drain-j’yah) is a perennial plant that can grow quite large over time without regular pruning—up to 10 feet tall with an eight foot spread. Plant in partial sun with well-draining soil.
Virtually maintenance-free, this large deciduous shrub, known for the medicinal properties of its bark, produces clusters of yellow, citrus-scented petals from October to December—even after some snowfall (take that, winter)! They do best with regular watering but tolerate a wide variety of soil and light conditions.
Similar to kale and cabbage grown for eating, their ornamental-leafed cousins are great for adding colourful intrigue to your garden (it’s recommended you keep them out of your salads, though). Planted in nutrient-rich soil, they’ll thrive in a range of light conditions and as temperatures get cooler but make sure to water them sufficiently during hotter months.
Russian Sage is a perennial, drought-resistant shrub that blooms for a long time from summer through fall. The bush produces small blue-ish lavender flowers on chalky silver stems and prefers full sun. It will need regular watering when first planted but, once it’s established, it can survive with very little water.
Sedum Autumn Joy
Sometimes called Autumn Joy Stonecrop, this perennial has fleshy, succulent leaves similar to a jade plant, with flowers that start in autumn and gradually open up and darken from pink to a bronzy, rust-red. They do well in sunny conditions with dry, gravelly soil. So low-maintenance, they can sometimes escape from gardens and survive in the wild.
So there you have it. If you make room in your garden for plants with staggered bloom times and include any of these in the mix, your garden will keep its colour from early spring until the first frost. Enjoy!