20 Gorgeous Perennials to Plant This Fall

Image by Elżbieta Michta from Pixabay

As summer wanes and the days grow shorter, our gardens often begin to echo the changing season. But what if you could defy the inevitable fade and cultivate a vibrant haven that thrives well into fall? The secret lies in planting perennials – resilient beauties that return year after year, rewarding you with bursts of color and captivating textures long after summer’s annuals have succumbed to the chill.

Here, we unveil 20 phenomenal perennials that will transform your fall garden into a captivating tapestry of color and life. From the early whispers of autumn to the season’s frosty finale, these plants will keep your outdoor space bursting with personality.

Embrace the Early Show: Heralds of Autumn’s Arrival

1. Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)

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This statuesque perennial boasts tall, spiky flower stalks adorned with vibrant purple blooms. A magnet for butterflies, Blazing Star thrives in full sun and well-drained soil, adding a touch of prairie charm to your fall borders.

2. Goldenrod (Solidago)

Often unfairly maligned for causing allergies, Goldenrod varieties like ‘Little Lemon’ and ‘Golden Fleece’ offer a dazzling display of sunny yellow blooms that attract pollinators while adding a cheerful touch to your garden. Plant them in full sun and watch them illuminate your space as the days shorten.

3. Japanese Anemone (Anemone hybrida)

Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Delicate and sophisticated, Japanese Anemones bring a touch of elegance to the fall garden. Their saucer-shaped flowers, available in shades of white, pink, and red, rise gracefully above ferny foliage, creating a captivating focal point in shaded areas.

A Symphony of Color: Perennials for Peak Fall

4. Aster (Symphyotrichum)

Image by Mary Basket from Pixabay

A quintessential fall flower, Asters come in a kaleidoscope of colors, from vibrant purples and blues to soft pinks and whites. Their daisy-like blooms provide a vital source of nectar for late-season pollinators, making them a delightful addition to any sunny border.

5. Sedum (Hylotelephium): Often prized for their succulent foliage, Sedums also boast clusters of star-shaped flowers in shades of pink, red, and burgundy. These drought-tolerant perennials thrive in full sun and well-drained soil, adding a splash of color and interesting texture to your fall garden.

6. Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium): More commonly known as Mums, Chrysanthemums are synonymous with fall. With blooms in every color imaginable, they offer endless possibilities for creating vibrant fall displays. Plant them in full sun and enjoy their cheerful presence until the first frosts arrive.

Nature’s Jewels: Perennials that Shine in the Cooler Months

7. Coral Bells (Heuchera): Valued for their vibrant foliage that comes in a stunning array of colors and patterns, Coral Bells are a versatile choice for fall gardens. While their delicate white flowers add a touch of charm, it’s the kaleidoscope of foliage that truly steals the show. Plant them in part shade to full shade for optimal results.

8. Ornamental Grasses: From the feathery plumes of Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis) to the swaying stalks of Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca), ornamental grasses add movement, texture, and architectural interest to fall gardens. Many varieties boast captivating colors as the season progresses, with foliage turning shades of gold, red, and copper.

9. Witchhazel (Hamamelis): A true harbinger of winter, Witchhazel defies the season with its stunning display of spidery blooms. Available in shades of yellow, orange, and red, these fragrant flowers appear in late fall or even early winter, adding a touch of magic to your garden when most other plants have gone dormant.

Fragrant Fall Delights: Perennials that Perfume the Air

10. Caryopteris (Blue Spirea): Often called Blue Mist Spirea for its airy clusters of tiny blue flowers, Caryopteris offers a delightful fragrance reminiscent of honeysuckle. This sun-loving perennial thrives in well-drained soil and is a magnet for butterflies, adding a touch of sweet scent and captivating color to your fall garden.

11. Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium): Don’t let the name fool you! Joe-Pye Weed is a stunning fall bloomer with tall, branching stems adorned with clusters of lavender or purple flowers. Its fragrant blooms attract butterflies and other pollinators, adding a touch of sweetness to the crisp fall air.

12. Autumn Crocus (Colchicum): These captivating flowers resemble their springtime cousins but bloom in the fall, defying expectations. Available in shades of white, purple, and mauve, Autumn Crocus boast a delicate beauty that adds a touch of whimsy to fall borders.

Important Note: While the flowers are beautiful, be aware that all parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested.

Food for Thought: Perennials that Attract Beneficial Wildlife

13. Coneflower (Echinacea): A North American native, Coneflower is a magnet for butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. Its daisy-like blooms, with drooping central cones, come in shades of orange, yellow, and purple, adding a touch of cheer to your fall garden.

14. Sedum Spectabile: This particular variety of Sedum deserves special mention. In addition to the wonderful characteristics mentioned previously for Sedums (drought tolerance, star-shaped flowers), Sedum Spectabile boasts large, showy flowerheads in shades of pink and burgundy that are particularly attractive to pollinators.

15. Milkweed (Asclepias): An essential food source for Monarch butterflies, Milkweed is a must-have for any wildlife garden. Its clusters of small, fragrant flowers come in shades of pink, purple, and orange, adding a touch of color while also supporting vital pollinators.

Low-Maintenance Marvels: Perennials for Effortless Beauty

16. Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia): This airy perennial boasts tall spikes of lavender-blue flowers that bloom throughout the summer and well into fall. Russian Sage is a low-maintenance wonder, thriving in well-drained soil and full sun with minimal watering required.

17. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): Renowned for its calming fragrance and beautiful purple blooms, Lavender is a classic choice for fall gardens. This drought-tolerant perennial thrives in full sun and well-drained soil, attracting beneficial insects with its sweet scent and adding a touch of Provençal charm to your space.

18. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): A cheerful and carefree bloomer, Yarrow boasts flat clusters of tiny flowers in shades of yellow, orange, pink, and red. This sun-loving perennial thrives in well-drained soil and requires minimal care, making it a perfect choice for busy gardeners.

Beyond Blooms: Perennials with Stunning Foliage

19. Hosta: While their bell-shaped flowers add a touch of charm in early summer, Hostas are truly prized for their stunning foliage. Available in an incredible array of colors and patterns, from deep greens and blues to variegated shades of gold and cream, Hostas provide a lush backdrop for fall blooms and add textural interest throughout the season. Plant them in part shade to full shade for optimal results.

20. Heuchera (Coral Bells) – Revisited: As mentioned earlier, Coral Bells are a versatile choice for fall gardens due to their vibrant foliage. However, certain Heuchera varieties boast not only stunning leaves but also reblooming flower stalks that extend the color palette well into fall. ‘Autumn Glow’ and ‘Blackberry Ripple’ are just two examples of these exceptional Heuchera cultivars.

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