Early spring through late summer are the months with the most vibrant colors and sweetest smells, or so people think. However, picking the right fall flowers leaves you with bright colors well into Labor Day. Annuals that bloom into fall give your home a few extra months of beautiful blooms, while other gardens start to wither away.
A fall garden is one of our favorites because the rich jewel tones bring a striking, yet calming, ambiance. Fall flowers are more resistant to cold weather, making them less likely to die when a cold front rolls in.
Fall annuals also require replanting every year. This task requires only a little work to bring a new feel to your garden each fall season.
- Attention-Grabbing Fall Annuals
- The Hardiest Annuals that Bloom into Fall: Pansies (Viola tricolor)
- Cockscomb (Celosia cristata)
- Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
- Marigolds (Tagetes erecta) – Low Maintenance Annuals with Tons of Color
- Dianthus (Dianthus caryophyllus)
- Garden Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)
- Zinnias (Zinnia elegans) – An Annual for All Hardiness Zones
- Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
- Flowering Kale (Brassica Oleracea)
- A Fall Favorite Annual – Asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)
- Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus)
- Petunias (Petunia × atkinsiana)
- Annuals with Colorful Fall Foliage – Crotons (Codiaeum variegatum)
- Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Attention-Grabbing Fall Annuals
You can find many trees, perennials, and annuals that have long bloom times. There are even some fall blooming perennials and annuals that you can add to your landscape.
Adding a variety of plants and trees is a great way to encourage year-round color and interest. Choose some winter blooming trees like camellia, palms, and magnolias and add some ferns, grasses, and long-blooming flowers beneath them.
One of the most significant benefits of annual flowers is the variety. Today’s greenhouses have a broad array of plants to put in your garden beds, hanging baskets, and window boxes. So what should you know about fall planting? It all starts with soil preparation.
Annuals that bloom into fall generally prefer well-drained soil with pH ranging from 6.3 to 6.7. Adding compost or peat moss to the ground supports the roots spreading from day one.
Always read the tag attached to the plant for particular directions on plant care and spacing. Overcrowding may seem insignificant but plays a crucial role in your plant’s health.
Most annuals prefer full sun, but some tolerate part shade as well. Once they bloom, fall annuals flower until the first frost. Grow them among some of the longest blooming perennials in your garden for a long season of bright colors and scents.
You can even choose some winter blooming perennials to add to different corners of the yard to add a little something extra in the colder months.
The Hardiest Annuals that Bloom into Fall: Pansies (Viola tricolor)
Pansies offer fall color and prefer cool weather. They grow best when temperatures are around 40°F at night and 60°F during the day, making them the perfect flowers to grow near trees with unusual fall color.
Because they are so hardy against cool weather, they survive as long as the temperature remains above freezing, making them one of the best annual flowers. Plant already established pansies in the early fall.
Pansy seedlings are often temperamental, so buying pre-grown plants provides you with quicker blooms and less work. Plant them in partial to full sunlight and space them about seven inches apart. If growing them in containers, use potting soil and place them in a cool area.
Cockscomb (Celosia cristata)
Cockscomb provides some of the most unique-looking flowers for fall. These bizarre-shaped flowers look similar to textured coral and come in deep colors of crimson red, orange, gold, and hot pink.
They grow anywhere from 12 to 48 inches tall and survive in USDA hardiness zones two through ten. Place cockscomb in full sun with well-drained soil. The more sun, the better, because too much shade doesn’t produce healthy blooms.
Adding two inches of organic matter over the roots, such as grass clippings or dry leaves, helps lock moisture in the soil and prevents weeds from popping up.
Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
Chrysanthemums, commonly called mums, are a popular late bloomer. The spiky petals come in nearly every shade you can imagine; pink, red, orange, yellow, lavender, white, you name it. Buy mums as either annuals or perennials.
Plant mums in well-drained soil and a location with at least five hours of sunlight per day. Space them 15-24 inches apart to avoid fungal growth and insect problems.
Water the plants once each week. Pinch off dead flowers once they begin wilting to prevent seeding and extend the mum’s blooming time.
Marigolds (Tagetes erecta) – Low Maintenance Annuals with Tons of Color
Marigolds are some of the easiest annuals that grow from seed. They produce bright fall colors of yellow, orange, and a combination of colors and are extremely low maintenance because of their ability to survive when neglected. These flowers provide a subtle, bitter scent that repels the worst insects, mosquitoes.
If that weren’t enough reason to plant them, marigolds are edible and add a pop of color to a salad or drink. Marigolds generally prefer dry and warm conditions, but they survive as long as the soil temperatures remain above 40°F.
Dig a six-inch hole in your garden and add a small amount of fertilizer in the hole. Dampen the hole with water and place seeds at least an inch apart. Cover with a thin layer of soil and water them to keep the soil damp.
Dianthus (Dianthus caryophyllus)
Dianthus grows in clusters and has pink and white flowers. Their spicy fragrance, similar to cloves and cinnamon, attracts gardeners to them. They only grow up to 18 inches high and have slender, sparse foliage.
This attractive flower blooms from May through October. Plant dianthus in full sun, making sure they receive at least six hours of sunlight.
They like fertile, alkaline soil and prefer to be watered only at the base to keep their foliage dry and to prevent mildew growth. Water the soil every time it fully dries and add fertilizer once every six weeks.
Garden Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)
Nasturtiums are versatile. Not only do they look beautiful around your landscaping, but they also have benefits like being edible and luring aphids away from other garden plants. These are excellent annuals for hummingbird gardens as the tiny fliers can’t resist the gorgeous flowers.
They are easy to grow and thrive when they’ve been a little neglected. They do exceptionally well in window boxes and hanging baskets since they are annuals that spill over the sides of a container.
Nasturtium has more than 50 varieties to choose from, but most prefer well-drained soil and full to part sun. If container planting, combine them with other plants that don’t like too much water or fertilizer.
Zinnias (Zinnia elegans) – An Annual for All Hardiness Zones
Zinnias are a perfect plant for people in any location because they grow in all USDA hardiness zones when used seasonally. The blooms provide an explosion of colors that last until the first fall frost. Hummingbirds and butterflies can’t resist a stop at a zinnia flower, either.
Depending on the type, zinnias grow from six inches to four feet tall. For the taller varieties, use them as cut flowers by snipping them once they’ve reached 18 inches tall. Cutting them delivers fresh flowers in your home and promotes even more growth outside.
Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
Alyssum is a low-growing plant with white and purple colored flowers that emit a sweet scent. They have slender, hairy leaves and attract essential pollinators to your garden. Some varieties self-sow and are plants that regrow after frost, but lots of people prefer to plant new types each year.
Place alyssum in a location with up to six hours of direct sunlight. Grow them in groups of only six inches apart to create a carpet effect. If the weather is particularly hot, keep the soil moist. Shear the plants by a third of their height in the mid-summer to promote fall growth.
Flowering Kale (Brassica Oleracea)
Edible kale is one of the best vegetables to plant in October, as well as ornamental kale. This plant is one of the more interesting annuals that bloom into fall. Better yet, flowering kale survives as long as the temperatures remain above 5°F, making it the perfect plant for late in the season.
These annuals with colorful foliage come in a range from white to purple to pink. Although they’re edible, gardeners love them mainly for their pretty leaves. Grow flowering kale 14 inches apart from one another in fertile soil and place the kale in an area that receives full sun.
For these seeds to plant in fall or small plants, dig a hole deep enough so that the foliage is at ground level. Water the soil with about one inch of water every time it dries out and examine it regularly for eggs and larvae.
A Fall Favorite Annual – Asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)
Autumn landscapes love aster flowers. They bloom in the late summer throughout the fall and reach up to four feet tall. They look stunning next to goldenrod and coneflowers, or in front of small bushes for landscaping like privet and boxwood, and the blooms look like more-colorful daisies.
Plant asters in well-drained soil and full sun and water them at the base to prevent mildew and fungal growth. Mulch around the roots of the plant to keep the soil moist.
Deadheading spent blooms promotes new growth. Because they are prone to mildew, spray them with insecticidal soap at the beginning of the growing season.
Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus)
Snapdragon flowers profusely bloom throughout the cool-weather season. The saturated blooms come in nearly all colors and grow up a long, thick stalk. The most important thing to remember when planting snapdragons is to keep them watered.
If you don’t, they stop blooming around mid-summer and won’t add beauty to your fall garden. Snapdragons bloom the most when placed in full sun, and they love cool weather.
Snapdragons are prone to various diseases like leaf spot, mildew, aphids, and spider mites, so keep a close eye on them. They require adequate watering, especially during the first few weeks.
Petunias (Petunia × atkinsiana)
Petunias’ long-term color makes them an excellent border plant, and they look amazing in a garden bed or for container gardening. The bright flowers typically have three to four-inch blooms that grow up but may also spill over the side of a container.
Petunia care requires regular watering and as much sunlight as possible. Prepare the soil before planting with fertilizer or composted organic matter.
Give them proper fertilization and remove spent blooms. When shopping for petunias, purchase plants that have unopened buds to prolong their growing season.
Annuals with Colorful Fall Foliage – Crotons (Codiaeum variegatum)
Crotons are one-of-a-kind plants known for their variegated fall foliage. The large leaves range in colors of green, orange, yellow, and scarlet red.
They grow as shrubs that reach as high as ten feet tall in the wild but are much smaller around our home and garden. They grow best in containers. Crotons grow upright, so choose a container that won’t tip over easily.
Fill it with well-draining potting soil and keep it moist. Place them in a sunny location and fertilize the soil once in the spring, summer, and fall. Plant new crotons from cut stems that are four to six inches long and place them in a glass of water until small roots form.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Calendula is a fall annual that loves the colder seasons. It is from the daisy family and has blooms closely resembling marigolds with bright yellow and orange flowers. The flowers are fragrant and edible, and the gray-green leaves look great in borders.
Place calendula in an area with full sunlight, but with part shade during hotter months. It is not one of the best flowers that grow in full shade as this affects flower production. Mix up to four inches of compost into the soil to promote the plant’s health.
Give them one and a half inches of water every week and pull weeds that grow near them. Regularly inspect the underside of the foliage for pests.
Purchasing annuals that bloom into fall is a great way to keep your garden lively and colorful for a few extra months. Most of the fall annuals are easy to care for and require similar needs that don’t take too much manual labor.
The bright fall colors of oranges, reds, and yellows bring rich tones to your flower beds that you don’t often see and ensure that you’re surrounded by beauty for as long as possible.
With so many fall annuals to choose from, you’re able to customize your home’s garden beds and select flowers that meet your specific taste.
If you plan on adding some annuals that bloom into fall around your home, please share ideas about these late-blooming flowers on Facebook and Pinterest.