While you might think that summer is the ‘best’ season for flowers, don’t be tempted to discount the others, especially autumn.
During this season, when everything starts to wind down a little, and the flower production isn’t as explosive as spring or summer, the flowers that appear are often much brighter and more unusual than those in other months.
Combine that with the golden light of autumn, and you can be treated to some spectacular shows in your garden.
But you might not be familiar with what will grow during the autumn, and what will grow well.
Here’s a list of plants that flower during the autumn months, and everything you need to know about them.
Lobularia maritima, or Alyssum, is an annual which is a favorite of many. Some people use it to fill out containers with sprays of petite, perfumed flowers in white, red, pink, orange, and purple, depending on the variety.
As it is low-growing, it’s also used as a border plant, or as a ground cover plant.
Alyssum grows in both spring and summer, but the blooms last for a long time in fall, making this plant a versatile option for any garden scheme.
It’s also quite robust once it has established a good root system in the soil, as long as it receives well-draining soil, and at least partial sunlight.
If you have a tropical-themed garden, or you’d like more unusual flowers blooming in the autumn, Amaranthus is a great choice.
This plant produces cascading clusters of tiny blooms, which look fantastic both on the plant and as cut flowers, or even as part of dried flower bouquets.
Amaranthus is an annual plant, so if you want it every year, you will need to make sure you sow seeds for the following year.
This plant will thrive in both full sun and partial shade.
Known as the flaxleaf aster, the ankle aster, or Lonactis linarrifolia, these asters are perfect for autumn as they flower profusely.
Unlike some asters, the flaxleaf aster is low-growing, and it will happily appear between larger neighbors that are coming to the end of their life cycle, injecting some much-needed color in the meantime.
You can recognize ankle-asters by their typically soft blue, light purple or white rays of petals, surrounding a yellow central eye.
The leaves of these asters are also petite to match the flowers.
Also known as common mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris can also be referred to as felon herb, riverside wormwood, and chrysanthemum weed, among others.
In some places, it is considered invasive, so check with your local authority before you plant it. You may even have some growing near you already, along roadsides, and other areas which aren’t cultivated.
This perennial can get up to 2.5 meters tall, and the foliage is a dark, rich green, with hairs on the undersides.
You’ll notice the tiny flower heads appearing from midsummer into the early days of fall, usually in white, contrasting well against the dark purple stems.
The long, leggy appearance of mugwort works well against grasses, taller flowering plants, and flower spikes which have huge, architectural seed heads.
Acis autumnalis, or the autumn snowflake, is one of the curious plants that produces its flowers before its leaves.
While it is part of the Amaryllis plant family, it is much shorter when compared to some of its relatives, at a maximum of 15cm.
This plant flowers in September until November, producing brilliant-white blooms, contrasting well against the rich purple stems.
In the wild, you can find them in meadows, or stony soil. While they flower near enough at the same time as the autumn crocus, they don’t need nearly as much water, making them perfect for dry climates at this time of year.
Also known as colchicums, these plants are incredibly striking, usually flowering from September until the end of October.
You will need to plan ahead if you want autumn crocus in your garden, as they need to be planted out in May or June for them to establish properly before their flowering season.
While they resemble a normal crocus, (see also Crocus Flower Meaning) they are not technically related, and they belong to the lily family.
While you can plant them ornamentally in clumps, they look better if you grow them in shaded woodland areas, at the front of borders, rockeries, or in grass.
They need partial shade and well-draining soil in order to thrive, and once established, they will treat your garden with displays of vivid color for years to come.
Callicarpa dichotoma, or the beauty berry, is renowned both for its globular clusters of light pink flowers, and the striking purple berries which follow.
The beauty berry drops its leaves during autumn, and the flowers grow in place of the foliage, providing your garden with much-needed color when most flower heads have gone to seed.
You will need some room if you go for this plant, as this shrub can reach up to 9 feet tall in the right conditions, growing about a foot each year until it reaches a mature size.
It also has the benefit of being extremely disease and pest resistant.
Like both the autumn crocus and the autumn snowflake, the belladonna lily produces gorgeous flowers without any basal leaves, and all three bear the name ‘Naked Lady Flower’ as a result.
Unlike most relatives of the amaryllis family, the belladonna lily produces baby pink or white flowers, instead of the shades of crimson that amaryllis flowers are known for.
You may also see the belladonna lily under the name Jersey lily. It’s a perfect plant for cut flower gardens, gravel gardens, borders, and container planting schemes.
While it can attract numerous pests if the conditions aren’t right, it is very disease resistant.
It does need as much sun as you can provide, in a sheltered location where the wind cannot break the delicate flower stems.
When you see a plant with the name ‘wort’ in it, this usually means that the plant has had a specific use in the past. ‘Throatwort’ refers to how Trachelium caeruleum was used to help alleviate throat problems.
Blue throatwort produces airy, dome-shaped clusters of tiny, true-blue, dark purple, or white flowers, similar to those petite flowers which make up an allium flower head.
These flowers grow tall above the toothed foliage, which is either dark green or purple, and the entire plant can grow to about 3 feet, spreading about the same.
If you don’t feel you have the room for blue throatwort year round, you can grow it as an annual, or in pots, if you prefer.
The flowers are perfect for cutting gardens, to provide a perfect contrast against much showier flowers such as dahlias (see also Dahlia Varieties) or sunflowers.
Blue throatwort needs some shade in the hottest part of the day, but otherwise it loves as much sun as you can give it. It will thrive in both neutral and slightly acidic soil, provided that it drains well.
While typically thought of as a summer flower, depending on where you live and the type, cannas can flower throughout the autumn months, too.
In ideal conditions, the leaves alone can reach 8 feet tall, and the flowers appearing at the top are just as beautiful. They can last well into October.
If you’d prefer to have cannas year round, you can keep them in pots and bring them indoors during the winter months, if you have enough space! It does also help that dwarf varieties are available, too.
Chelone Glabra ‘Turtlehead’
While the glossy foliage is quite fantastic on its own, pair that with the flowers of a chelone plant, and you have something spectacular.
The flowers come in purple, white, or pink, and are shaped exactly how you might imagine.
They grow in asymmetrical clusters, so this is not a plant for a formal planting scheme, but it is perfect if you want something very unusual.
If you have somewhere with damp soil in your garden which only gets partial sunlight, chelone is the perfect plant to bring some life and color into those tricky areas of your garden.
It can reach a maximum of 3 feet high, spreading about the same.
While you may know cosmos as a summer flower, when all of those classic summer-flowering plants have finished, cosmos is one of the last to go, provided that the weather is kind.
The airy foliage towers above other plants which have finished in the autumn, still producing an abundance of symmetrical flowers in beautiful shades, though they are a little smaller than the cosmos flower heads which are produced in summer.
Closed Gentian is a very interesting perennial, producing crowds of bottle-shaped flowers which resemble tulip buds, except these flowers never open.
The blooms themselves are usually a true blue or a purple, appearing in the later days of summer into the early autumn.
You’ll notice that if you plant a closed gentian, it is a favorite of bumblebees, as they can get past the closed buds without any problems.
It’s a plant perfect for partly shady areas, where the soil is acidic, wet, but well-draining.
This makes it an ideal choice for borders which edge streams, ponds, or as part of a woodland garden.
It also helps that the closed gentian is very robust against diseases, and pests, even including deer.
Lysimachia nummularia or creeping jenny prefers wet soil, and you’ll often find it growing wild along riverbanks, ponds, or wet woodland or grassland.
You’ll recognize it by the bell-shape, bright yellow blooms, as well as its distinctive heart-shaped leaves, both appearing in only damp or wet soil.
As this is a plant that grows vigorously, you need to keep your eye on it, and trim it back when it gets too large for the space you have in mind.
Any off cuts you take can be propagated in water if you choose to do so.
It’s typically confused with yellow pimpernel, which has star-shaped flowers.
Another moisture-loving plant, creeping vervain needs wet soil in order to thrive, preferably near streams, rivers, or ponds.
Also known as Capeweed, Fogfruit, or Licorice verbena, creeping vervain has a spreading, mat-forming habit which makes it perfect as a ground cover plant, producing abundant white or pink flowers all the way from spring into late autumn.
It helps that the plant is evergreen, providing your garden with color even in the coldest months. Once mature, it is capable of spreading up to a meter wide.
For the best growth possible, keep it in a sunny position in well-draining soil, but it will also adapt to other conditions, which are shadier or drier.
It won’t stand up to a lot of frost, so mulch around it to protect it from freezing temperatures.
Be aware that creeping vervain – like most creepers – has the potential to become invasive or to take over your garden, so make sure you keep an eye on it.
A vigorous climbing plant, you may come across crossvine also under the name Bignonia capreolata, this is a spectacular plant which produces trumpet-shaped blooms in red and yellow.
Unfortunately, these flowers don’t really appear in colder regions, and need to be kept under glass in these parts in order to flower.
The plant itself produces many tendrils to anchor itself, and the glossy leaves provide a perfect backdrop for these unusual flowers.
If you do live somewhere that gets cold winters, it is worth going for Bignonia capensis, or Bignonia australis, as these related vines will produce blooms in much colder areas, as long as they sit in a very sunny position, somewhere sheltered.
Cyclamen have that rare trait of being very easy to grow while also looking absolutely beautiful. While you can get cyclamen that flowers in the spring, they can also bloom from autumn into late winter.
Most types go dormant during the summer, the top growth shrinking back to the tubers, and appearing again in early autumn.
The flowers themselves come in a range of pinks, purples, whites, reds, and they are sometimes bi-colored, usually a mix of white and pink.
When not in flower, the two-toned leaves are a gorgeous sight in themselves, marbled in silver or dark green.
You can also grow them indoors if you prefer, but remember that cyclamen plants are toxic to both humans and animals.
They love partial shade, or bright, indirect light, and acidic soil.
It’s worth noting that while you can grow them from seed, it is much quicker and easier to buy them as established plants, as growing them from seed is tricky, and trying to divide the tubers often fails.
You may picture dahlias as the perfect summer flower, and while this is true, you can also get dahlias that flower long into the autumn months.
Most dahlias that include ‘autumn’ in the name flower during the later months, but some are named just for the color, so if you’re unsure, look at the label or ask the retailer.
Late-flowering dahlias are usually those that flower continuously from mid-summer into autumn, provided that the temperature doesn’t drop too soon.
Typically, it is the smaller, pom-pom dahlias that flower later, but as there have been so many hybrids introduced, this isn’t true of every dahlia.
Also known as silver ragwort or Senecio cineraria, this plant is sure to attract attention whether it’s in flower or not.
The foliage is very pale green, and because it’s covered in soft hair, it looks nearly completely silver.
This plant is sure to steal the show in any garden, especially when it produces rays of daisy-like flowers in bright yellow.
As the aster-shaped flowers might imply, dusty miller needs full sun in order to thrive, like many of the daisy family, and this plant prefers well-draining soil.
To get the maximum impact out of this plant, place it next to dark foliage to really show it off.
Cuphea hyssopifolia, Mexican heather, or false heather, produces bright purple flowers among dark, lance-shaped foliage.
It needs conditions similar to its native environment in order to survive, so a very sunny position is key, and well-draining soil also helps.
If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere very warm, it will bloom year after year.
It grows as an annual in colder parts of the world, getting to a maximum height of 60cm, by 90cm wide, making it perfect for edging a border.
Fried Egg Plant
Gordonia axillaris, or the fried egg plant, is noted for its unusual flowers, its rapid growth (see also Types Of Fast-Growing Flowers), and its similarity to a Camellia.
The foliage is striking on its own, with glossy dark green leaves, usually toothed at the edges. These leaves turn red just before they fall, injecting perfect color into your garden.
When the flowers appear, this plant really comes into its own. The petals are huge, and blousy in white, contrasting well against the central, golden eyes, the exact shade of fried eggs.
These blooms also drop before they start to brown, making for an interesting carpet of flowers before they fade.
If you fancy growing your own fried egg plant, you’ll need to put it somewhere that gets partial shade, where the soil is slightly acidic, and drains well.
In the right conditions, it can get to a maximum of 5 meters high, but you can trim it to your desired height to keep it manageable.
Gladiolus ‘Autumn Red’
Maybe you’ve never grown a Gladiolus before, or one which flowers during the autumn months, but you should try it, at least once.
‘Autumn Red’ boasts perfect, bright crimson blooms which last well into fall, and provides much-needed food for pollinators at this time of year when most flowers have died back.
Gladioli in planting schemes have endless uses, from adding some height and variation into planting schemes, adding tall spikes of color at the backs of borders, or acting as a privacy screen during the summer and autumn.
While you’re probably familiar with how we use artichokes, you may not picture these plants as particularly beautiful.
If you let the buds of the flowers open, these blooms resemble huge purple thistles, which are also highly scented.
One advantage of letting these flowers grow is that the plant itself is perennial, so you can harvest the artichokes before they flower in the following year, so letting the flowers grow isn’t a huge waste when it comes to the plant’s lifespan.
Provide globe artichoke plants with freely-draining soil and well-sun, and they should last 5 years or so.
Globe artichokes are very vulnerable to slugs, so plant some alliums nearby, as the scent of the alliums will help deter the slugs.
Golden Ear Drops
Also known as Ehrendorferia chrysantha, or Dicentra chrysantha, Golden Ear Drops is usually classified under the poppy plant family, Papaveraceae.
It is a tough wildflower, which grows in dry, brushy places prone to wildfire, and can reach anywhere from 2 feet and 5 feet tall.
The yellow flowers are heavily scented, and resemble the fleur-de-lys.
Before you consider planting goldenrod, it’s important to know that they have a very high pollen content, so choose a different plant if you, your family, friends, or neighbors are susceptible to hay fever.
Once you plant goldenrod, it is very hard to get rid of it, as it can be invasive. To keep it under control, plant it in a container, but you will see the plant self-seeding after a while.
It’s also easily confused with ragweed.
Goldenrod is very easy to grow (see also How To Grow Goldenrod), as long as you provide it with plenty of space, somewhere in full sunlight.
Also known as purging cassia, golden shower, or the pudding-pipe tree, you may see a resemblance to Wisteria in the way the flowers of a cassia tree cascade downwards from the branches, as they are both part of the legume family.
It’s especially suitable for anywhere that needs a large plant fairly quickly, as it has a rapid growth rate.
However, it can and does reach a maximum height of 66 feet tall in the right conditions, so you will probably need to prune it back before it gets unmanageable.
The real star of this plant is in the golden yellow flowers. Each flower can range from 4 to 7cm in diameter, in clusters up to 40cm long, providing any garden with a huge amount of color.
It is worth noting that the fruit produced on this tree has a very strong, unpleasant smell, so avoid planting it near seating areas.
Gomphrena globosa, (see also How To Use Gomphrena In Your Garden) is a beautiful annual which likes full sun and moist, well-draining soil.
It’s an extremely drought-tolerant plant, making it perfect for dry climates, low-maintenance gardens, or the climate conscious gardener.
Also known as globe amaranth, it produces globular flower heads in pink, purple, red, and white.
These flowers make the perfect dried specimens, as they keep most of their color, and they don’t decay over time. They are also perfect for cutting flower gardens, or simply adding some unusual flowers into your planting scheme.
These beautiful flowers appear from summer well into the first few weeks of autumn, as long as it stays clear of frost.
While not as blousy or as some fuchsias (see also How To Grow Fuchsia), fuchsia magellanica is one of the most hardy, which means that it can flower well into the autumn months, provided that you keep it somewhere sheltered.
When frost forms on the flowers, this is a sight to see by itself.
While this plant isn’t too concerned about temperatures, it is fussy when it comes to soil type, as it cannot deal with hot, bone-dry, or wet soil.
One of the many plants in the aster plant family that flowers in autumn, telekia speciosa, or the heartleaf oxeye produces huge flowers with flat, disc-like central eyes, rayed with thin, spindle-like petals.
These unique flowers are bright yellow, standing out against the heart-shaped leaves, which are somewhat scented.
In most places, the heartleaf oxeye requires partial shade for at least part of the day, and soil which drains well.
While they can reach up to just over 3 feet tall, the stems are fragile, so they will need support as they grow.
These gorgeous flowers are also a pollinator magnet, bringing more life into your garden, and benefitting the health of all the plants within it.
Heather is a low-growing, very hardy shrub plant, and while that doesn’t sound like it would provide your garden with a huge amount of color, any heather absolutely produces a plethora of beautiful flowers.
The flowers bloom during the middle of autumn, in purple, white, pink, or yellow. In some types of heather, the leaves turn silvery once the blooming period begins.
Heather is perfect for adding a border into your garden, as it takes care of itself. You may also want to plant it on rockeries, or in containers, wherever your garden could do with an injection of color.
Hens and Chicks
The Sempervivum succulent plant genus are also known as hens and chicks, famous for their hardiness, referenced in the name, which translates to ‘always alive’.
The common name, hens and chicks, refers to how readily these plants produce plantlets, looking as though they are crowded adult hens, surrounded by chicks following them around.
You can keep them both indoors and outdoors, as long as it’s in the brightest light possible. The foliage grows in succulent rosettes, and while some flower in summer, others really come into their own during the autumn.
These unique succulent plants produce star-shaped blooms, usually in shades of pink, which are impossible to miss.
Native to the Himalayas, this particular honeysuckle features heart-shape foliage, and the most striking red or deep purple bracts, ending in trumpet-shaped flowers which point toward the floor (see also How To Care For Honeysuckle).
It is a very vigorous shrub, thriving in both full sun and partial shade, flowering repeatedly from July until October, depending on the conditions you grow it in, and where you live.
You’ll also see it labelled under Leycesteria formosa, which is its scientific name.
Once it has finished flowering, it does also produce purple berries, which are highly sought after by many birds.
It is capable of reaching heights of 2.5 meters and spreading about the same, but pruning it back hard won’t harm it, if you don’t want it to get to that sort of size.
Flowering from September through until October, the Japanese anemone (see also Flower Names Beginning With J) produces showy blooms in baby pink or brilliant white.
These plants are absolutely perfect for dark areas which are very dry, such as under large shrubs or trees that monopolize both the light and the moisture in the soil.
Most Japanese anemones will spread by themselves, and you’ll need to divide large groups of them every couple of years to keep them healthy.
Japanese Toad Lily
Tricyrtis hirta, or the Japanese toad lily, is one of the most unique flowers on this list, and that is saying something.
A beautiful perennial, this plant grows to about 75cm tall, producing white flowers which are heavily spotted in deep purple, each bloom reaching 2cm in diameter.
It needs well-draining soil, though it isn’t fussy about the type, as long as it gets a lot of moisture. This plant also requires full or partial shade, somewhere sheltered, in order to thrive.
The autumn aster or Michaelmas daisy is the resulting hybrid of a cross between the New York aster and the panicled aster.
It is a low-growing aster which thrives in fertile, wet soil, in a very sunny position. It grows quickly, and the common name refers to when it blooms, coinciding with the Feast of St. Michael.
Monarch of The Veld
Also known as the Cape Daisy, or Arctotis fastuosa, this lovely annual produces striking flowers with large central eyes, ringed with orange, contrasting well against the white petals.
These flowers can also come in orange or white with purple. More and more cultivars are being introduced, with more color combinations available.
It grows to a maximum of 90cm high, making it perfect for the front or middle of sunny borders.
Both names that this flower carries are very interesting. The common name, monkey flower, refers to the grin of a monkey, which the maroon spots on the lower petals resemble.
The scientific name Mimulus lewisii also refers to this strange pattern, but instead calls it the ‘mime’. Lewisii refers to Meriwether Lewis, who first recorded the plant in the 1800s.
This is the perfect planting choice for boggy or consistently wet soil, as monkey flowers can be found naturally in river banks, marshes, and any border of water.
These plants aren’t fussy about light, as long as they get some sunlight, and you give them plenty of water, they will take care of themselves.
They are also a vital food source for the larvae of Common Buckeye and Baltimore butterflies.
New York Ironweed
Also known as Vernonia noveboracensis, the New York Ironweed is also a lover of wet soil, but it needs a fully sunny position in order to thrive.
This perennial grows naturally along stream banks, producing rich purple flowers atop large stems.
If you live somewhere that gets a lot of heavy rainfall, this is one of the perfect plants to choose (if you don’t have it already), as it will withstand nearly all the moisture the weather can throw at it.
It gets to a maximum of 6 feet tall, and if this sounds a little too unmanageable, you can reduce its height in late spring to something a little easier.
It’s also deer resistant.
New Zealand Flax
Originally categorized under the agave plant family, New Zealand flax, or Phormium tenax, received its own classification.
It’s a little like Crocosmia, in that it produces large, sword-shaped leaves, and flower spikes which tower above the foliage, in shades of red.
Except, it’s much taller. It can reach a maximum height of 3 meters, but you can keep them fairly small by planting them in pots.
The common name comes from people using it in the past to make linen or rope.
New Zealand flax is perfect for when you want to add some architectural foliage into your borders, but you still want an injection of color and height.
This particular plant is a collector of unusual names. Not only is it known as the obedient plant as the flowers will bend in any direction without snapping if you’re gentle, but it’s also called the false dragonhead.
As it is a member of the mint plant family, it has a very aggressive growth habit, where it can easily take over your garden.
The easiest way to help keep it under control is to keep it in containers, making sure the drainage holes can’t get into contact with the ground, like on a patio. This will stop the opportunist roots from taking over.
You do need to sow seeds in late autumn, and they’ll come up the following late summer, flowering all the way through until mid-fall.
These flowers will form symmetrically on flower spikes, like foxgloves, only their clusters are neater, and the blooms themselves come in purple, white, or pink.
It also helps that they are a favorite of pollinators.
This is a plant that’s rarely cultivated outside of its natural habitat in Western Australia, probably because it is so prickly, and a little complicated to handle (see also Australian Plants To Know And Grow).
Having said that, this parrot bush is very hardy, withstanding both snow and drought, either of which could kill a lot of plants on this list.
It also has a lot of ornamental value, as the succulent leaves grow into a rosette (see also Rosette Succulent Varieties), and the large, yellow or white flower forms in the center.
Both parrots and bees love the nectar produced by the flowers.
While most pansies aren’t drought tolerant, some can withstand all but the fiercest frosts, especially if you have them somewhere sheltered.
Bear in mind that plants in containers are more vulnerable to frost than if they were in the ground, even if that pot is ‘frost-proof’.
You can help get around this by leaving your containers by the sides of your house to keep them a little more sheltered, and mulch the top of the soil to add another layer of protection.
For pansies, keep them in a sunny position where possible, within well-draining soil.
One of the longest lasting ‘imitation lilies’ out there, the Peruvian lily or Alstroemeria will treat any garden to a fantastic display in an array of colors, usually bi-colored blooms.
When cut, these striking flowers can last up to a fortnight, making them a favorite of florists everywhere.
As these are perennial plants, they will come back annually with hardly any attention needed, and you’ll find a few more of them every year.
You can plant them in containers, as part of a bedding planting scheme, or as part of a colorful border.
Purple Fountain Grass
Using grasses as ornamental plants is not a new concept, but it is still something that not a huge amount of people are familiar with.
Luckily, the uptick in people wanting to naturalize their garden has meant that they are increasing in popularity, and having grasses benefits the health of your whole garden.
Purple fountain grass is a great choice if you want a perennial grass, as the color of the blades is a deep burgundy, and the soft, light brown flower heads add another element in the autumn.
There is one downside with purple fountain grass, and it is not winter hardy. While it will withstand some cold, you’ll either need to treat it as an annual plant, or put it somewhere very sheltered.
If you want a very odd plant in both nature and looks, the pitcher plant is a great one to choose.
It’s carnivorous, so if your garden has problems with flies (see also What To Do About Flies On A Patio) or too many other crawling insects, a pitcher plant will put a dent in it.
Over time, it has evolved to trap insects in its pitchers, killing and extracting these bugs for nutrients which are naturally deficient in the soil, in their normal habitats.
While the pitchers are a beautiful feature in themselves, the flowers that a pitcher plant produces are something else.
A wide stalk grows from the plant, producing a globular disc, surrounded by fleshy petals, usually matching the color of the pitchers.
Some smell lovely, while others smell horrendous, so this may be something you should check the variety of the plant before you buy it.
Limonium vulgare, or the sea lavender (see also How To Grow Sea Lavender), is found in coastal habitats and salt marshes, typically extremely muddy areas near to the sea.
While it starts to flower in July, it doesn’t normally finish flowering until October, providing a decent window of lavender-blue color in petite, star-shaped blooms.
These flowers grow in large clusters, and there can be hundreds of them, sometimes in yellow or pink, rather than the named purple.
They make great cut flowers, often utilized to contrast much bigger, grander flowers. Despite their size, they are also prized for their longevity, where they can bloom for up to a month in a vase.
Duranta erecta, or the sky flower, is a shrub which produces beautiful flowers not dissimilar to an orchid.
It’s an evergreen shrub which flowers profusely for an extended period of time, and can reach anywhere from 5 to 15 feet tall, spreading between 4 and 8 feet wide.
While this plant is very beautiful, producing cascading show-stopping purple flowers edged in white, it’s worth mentioning that it is toxic if ingested, so it’s not a plant for you if you have pets or children visiting your garden.
It will happily stand both full sunlight and partial shade, as long as the soil drains well. It will die back in hard winters, but it will spring up again once the weather warms, and once established, it pretty much takes care of itself.
Even before the flowers are finished in mid-autumn, this shrub also produces yellow berries.
Ageratina altissima, deerwort, or snakeroot can reach a lofty 1.7 meters tall. It bears leaves that look similar to nettles, and petite clusters of white flowers during mid summer and the early days of autumn.
These flowers are loved by pollinators everywhere, which helps your garden’s overall health. You may also see it under the names Eupatorium urticifolium, Eupatorium ageratoides, milk ipecac, or mist flower.
In the past, it has been used to treat snake bites, hence the name ‘snakeroot’.
It thrives in both well-draining soil and poorly-draining soil, as long as it is fairly damp. The pH of the soil needs to be either alkaline or neutral.
For very long-lived flowers, keep the plant somewhere sheltered, in partial shade.
You may recognize sneezeweed as Helenium, and these gorgeous flowers appear during the late summer into autumn, in shades of orange, red, and yellow, perfect for fall.
You can grow them pretty much anywhere you like, as long as the soil drains well, and they get full sunlight for at least part of the day.
They are great alongside ornamental grasses, or plants of a similar color palette, such as red-hot pokers or marigolds.
They attract plenty of pollinators, while they are also a staple of many cut flower gardens, as they last a fairly long time. You can recognize a helenium by its prominent central eye, and rays of petals surrounding it.
The soapweed yucca has been cultivated for many years as a very useful plant, although it has a lot of ornamental value, too.
Some people still use the tough leaves for weaving, and the roots are utilized in natural shampoos and soap, as they contain a lot of saponin, hence the name ‘soapweed’.
They provide any garden with a lot of architectural value, producing huge yucca leaves (see also Indoor Yucca Care), but the plant really comes into its own when it matures, and becomes capable of producing a huge waterfall of white flowers.
It’s worth mentioning that the leaves of a soapweed yucca are very sharp, so don’t plant this next to a path, walkway, or driveway. It may be better to choose something else if you have pets or children, too.
This plant can withstand long dry spells, deters pests with its thorny leaves, but the most impressive resistance of all is its ability to withstand wildfires.
In order to thrive, soapweed yucca needs as much sunlight as possible, and soil which drains freely.
There’s not a huge amount of maintenance that you need to keep on top of, but getting rid of any spent leaves in spring will help new growth, and deadheading faded flowers will also help.
Once the flowers have been pollinated, the plant also produces yucca fruit.
Euonymus europaeus (see also Golden Euonymus Care Guide for another option) or the European spindle tree are large shrubs which can reach an impressive 9 meters tall in the right conditions. It’s also very long-lived, if kept healthy it will live for over a hundred years.
While the spindle tree flowers in spring, it does produce nearly neon-pink fruit in autumn, making it a great option as it produces so much autumn color, and they also look like flowers from afar.
This fruit feeds many types of wildlife, from moth caterpillars, the holly blue butterflies, and the flowers help feed the St Mark’s fly.
You may be put off when you learn that the leaves attract aphids when so many of us struggle with aphids in our gardens, especially growing fruits or vegetables.
It’s worth noting that this tree also attracts hoverflies and a whole host of other aphid predators, such as lacewings and the house sparrow, so it does bring it into balance.
There’s also some interesting superstition surrounding the spindle tree. The scientific name translates to ‘good name’ which means lucky, as it was considered good luck.
However, it was believed that if the spindle tree flowered much earlier than it was supposed to, it was a sign of coming illness or even plague.
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort is both a beautiful ornamental plant and one which is extremely useful. It produces the most vivid yellow flowers, which are speckled with black.
It’s often used to treat mild symptoms of depression, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. Topically, it’s used as a hand salve to soothe sore hands that have been gardening a little too much.
Its popularity has also endured as there’s very few pests or diseases which will affect a healthy St John’s Wort, and it can brighten up any area of your garden.
Part of the cashew plant family, sumac is a lovely shrub that produces one of the most interesting autumn displays on this list.
Also known as staghorn sumac, or the vinegar tree, it produces tiny yellow flowers in spring, and towering red fruiting heads into autumn.
The bright, fern-like leaves will turn yellow and orange in fall, making for a fantastic display of color.
As long as you place sumac in full sun, in well-draining, moist soil which contains a good amount of nutrients, it will thrive.
It is worth mentioning, however, that sumac spreads very easily, and because it produces suckers, you will need to keep your eye on it to make sure it doesn’t take over your garden.
Also known as Polianthes tuberosa, the tuberose is native to Mexico, and therefore is perfect for those sheltered, sun-trap areas of your garden.
It has incredible, night-blooming flowers which are heavily fragranced, and have been used in perfume for hundreds of years. The flowers themselves are usually either a brilliant white or a soft pink.
These blooms can last up to a whole fortnight at a time, making for the perfect autumn display if you give them the right care, including fertilizer.
While you might assume it looks similar to a rose, the name refers to the stem, which looks like a tube.
The plant gets to a maximum of 3 feet tall. The tuberose isn’t cold hardy, so you’ll need to keep it somewhere sheltered, or overwinter it indoors.
Also known as bird’s eye, speedwell, or gypsyweed, Veronica (see also How To Grow Veronica) refers to a very large genus of plants.
Quite a few cultivars are used as ground cover, to fill in gaps in borders or pots, while adding spires of color at the top of the plant.
While these flowers look very complicated to look after, they couldn’t be simpler to care for. Simply place them somewhere that will get sunlight for most of the day, and they’ll cope with anything else.
They also attract a plethora of pollinators, which benefits the health of all the plants in your garden.
Tradescantia are beautiful plants (see also Tradescantia Types And Care), also known as the wandering dude, or by the older name, wandering Jew, for the way leaves will grow and trail in every direction possible.
You can keep them both indoors and outdoors without much trouble, and in some places it is an invasive plant, so it is worth checking with your local authorities before you plant it.
There are many types of tradescantia to choose from, all with different foliage, usually bi-colored. Tradescantia zebrina features three-tone leaves, in light green, silvery-green, and purple, with deep purple undersides.
Tradescantia nanouk is light green and striped with pink, while Tradescantia pallida is dark purple with light purple flowers.
While the foliage of the plant is the star of the show, the flowers are not to be dismissed, producing tiny pops of color.
You are probably familiar with witch hazel’s healing and calming properties when it comes to skin breakouts, but what about the plant itself?
The witch hazel plant is a shrub, sometimes a tree, and Hamamelis virginiana flowers from September into November, while some bloom in January until March.
The flowers are whimsical, in shades of yellow, orange, or red, the petals spidery, curling away from the center of the flower.
The seeds explode in late autumn, and the force can propel them up to 30 feet away from the original plant.
Also known as aconite or monkshood, this is a very poisonous, but beautiful plant that will treat any garden to unusual, hooded flowers in vivid purples and blues.
It needs somewhere shaded in order to thrive, in wet, well-draining soil. It’s related to Clematis, and has the same trait of preferring its roots to be in wet, shaded soil, while its leaves and flowers in the sunlight.
As it is very poisonous – and one of its historical uses was to poison wolves – don’t consider putting this plant into your garden unless you are absolutely sure there’s no risk of children or pets getting to it.
If you do have to handle this plant – and you shouldn’t need to – make sure you wear very thick gloves.
The yellow restharrow, or Ononis natrix, is a very striking plant which brightens up any corner of your garden.
This shrub produces petite bright yellow blooms in both spring and fall, providing a source of food for pollinators.
It thrives in stony soil, making it perfect for rockeries or other well-draining spots where other plants simply wouldn’t survive. It also makes a great border plant, where it provides both color and interest.
The Zephyr lily, or Zephyranthes are perfect for rock gardens, also referred to as the rain lily, or the Atamasco lily.
If placed in the right conditions, they can carpet an area fairly quickly with offsets. They will occasionally need to be divided, like most bulbs, in order to keep the flowering vigorous.
Some flower in spring, while others, like Zephyranthes candida, flower in September. Zephyranthes citrina, the yellow rain lily, flowers in the later days of summer, into the autumn.
Most rain lilies need full sun in order to survive, and they also love a lot of rain, hence the common name. They require well-draining soil in order to keep the roots from rotting, but they are also very winter hardy.