Fall Flowers

Natives to Extend the Blooming Season



Fall flowers, there are many native plants that bloom throughout the Autumn.

In fact, Autumn flower gardens not only provide extended blooming, but foliage, berries, bark, and other focal points can also provide additional color and interest. Additionally, fall gardens offer food and shelter to wildlife at a time when it may otherwise be scarce.

If you are like me, transitioning from summer to autumn can be a bit difficult.

I don't like to see the long warm days of summer shrink and disappear. It is even worse for me when the vegetable and flowers gardens begin to fade away.

However, with some planning and planting, I can have some native flowers blooming into late October and early November.

You can too, when you plant some of our native Fall Flowers..

Gaillardia

Add these Fall Flowers to your annuals and plants that offer attractive foliage and berries and you are all set to go.

I have placed the Asters together instead of in alphabetical order this time. There are several species of Aster and truly at least one species for your garden, no matter where you live.

Most of these plants begin bloom time in August and September and continue to bloom into October.

You will find unique Fall Flowers that bloom and enjoy the shade like Actaea.

Perennial sunflowers are plentiful, as are cultivars of other plants.

You will also find many bright colored Fall Flowers in reds and yellows.

I hope you enjoy the options presented to you and realize they are all native to the United States and Canada.

Cardinal flower

Cardinal flower may still be blooming in September and with some pruning and coaxing, you can keep your Tall phlox, Echinacea, and Rudbeckias going a bit longer.

There are so many cultivars and colors to choose from, so you can't go wrong with any of these native beauties.

Echinacea and late summer and Fall Flowers.

'Tiki Torch', 'Tomato Soup', 'Sunset', 'Sundown' and others add to the coneflower collection.

Late summer and early Fall Flowers

'Prairie Sun', 'Autumn Colors' and others add to the otherwise typical Rudbeckia or Black-eyed susan.

Tall Phlox come in so many colors and so add much to any garden.

All of these will continue as Fall Flowers into September.

Still other perennials like Crocosmia and Gaillardia will continue to bloom until the weather says to stop.

For the hummingbirds, there are a couple of Texas natives that have found their ways into many gardens, including my Michigan gardens.

Salvia greggii (Autumn sage) is treated like an annual in colder climates, but this tender semi-evergreen perennial starts to bloom in late spring or early summer and really puts on a show for me in late summer well into Autumn.

A plant that thrives in the heat and into fall.

Zone hardy to 7/8.

Agastache Cana (hyssop)

Agastache cana (cana hyssop or Texas hummingbird mint) lives up to its nickname. Some species and cultivars of Agastache are hardy to Zone 5.

This is a must to add to your Fall Flowers.

Natives of Texas and parts of the Southwest, Agastache also thrives in the heat and most are quite drought tolerant once established in your gardens.

Mine thrive with regular water, in well drained soil.

Once these critter resistant plants start to bloom, they only get bigger and better as the season wears on. By September and October, they are a wash with color and yes, hummingbirds.

Plant in clumps for a spectacular display for mid summer flowers, to Fall Flowers and hummingbirds.

I think you will enjoy these plants in any flower garden, no matter the time of year.

For a list of Fall lowers that start their show in Late August or September, these natives are a must for your late season gardens.

A very attractive yet under looked plant for the shade gardens and a late summer to fall flowers, are certain species of Bugbane.

I believe to be very attractive native plant and I think you will too.

Actaea, snakeroot or bugbane

Actaea americana:

Common Name: Bugbane, Snakeroot, formerly known as Cimicifuga
Zone: 3 to 9
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Ranunculaceae
Native Range: Eastern United States
Height: 3 to 7 feet
Spread: 2 to 4 feet
Bloom Time: August - September into October
Bloom Color: White
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium

Attractive showy Fall Flowers attract pollinators, a great accent plant in the shade garden or for mass plantings.

Easily grown in average, medium moisture soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers humusy, moisture-retentive soils. Foliage tends to scorch and otherwise depreciate if soils are allowed to dry out. Best sited in a location sheltered from strong winds. A slow-to-establish plant.

This species of bugbane is native to moist woods in the Appalachian Mountains from Pennsylvania to Tennessee and Georgia. It is very similar in appearance to Actaea racemosa except for very minor differences in the flowers and resulting fruits.

Features ferny, deeply-cut, deep green, 2-3 ternate leaves with 3-lobed, oval to oblong leaflets, on branched stems which form an attractive foliage clump to 3-4’ tall. Flower stems rise well above the foliage clump to a height of 5-6’ bearing terminal, bottlebrush-like, branched racemes (to 20” long) of apetalous, fluffy, creamy white flowers. Flowers have no fragrance.

Blooms for late summer to offer early Fall Flowers. Many plants in the genus Actaea are commonly called bugbane in reference to the odoriferous insect repellent properties attributed to most plants in the genus.

Synonymous with and formerly known as Cimicifuga americana. All plants in the genus Cimicifuga have recently been transferred to the genus Actaea.

Flower spires add architectural height to shaded borders, shade gardens, woodland gardens, cottage gardens or naturalized areas. Ferny foliage provides excellent texture and color to the landscape throughout the growing season. Best in groups, although single plants have good specimen value once established.

There are several species of Actaea native the the Eastern United States.

Aster novae-angliae (New England Aster)

Aster novae-angliae:


Common Name: New England aster
Zone: 4 to 8
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Height: 2.5 to 4 feet
Spread: 2.5 to 4 feet
Bloom Time: August - October
Bloom Color: Rose-pink, purple, white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Low to Medium
Maintenance: Low

Fall Flowers that attract butterflies, other pollinators and birds, makes an ideal cut flower for fall arraignments.

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Pinch back in early summer if more compactness in growth habit is desired. Pinching back will also delay flowering.

New England Asters are becoming more popular in fall gardens as this tall plant features masses of daisy-like flowers (to 2" across) which bloom for 6 weeks or longer in late summer (September-October).

Provides color and contrast to the fall perennial border front. Mass or plant in groups. Effective naturalized in drifts in meadows or in native or wildflower gardens

Aster Novi Belgii (New York Aster)

Aster novi-belgii:


Common Name: New York Aster
Zone: 4 to 8
Family: Aster (Asteraceae)
Habitat: moist meadows, thickets, and shores Height: 1-3 feet
Flower size: flower heads around 1-1/4 inches across
Flower color: purple rays around a yellow disk
Flowering time: August to October
Origin: native to the North and Mid-Atlantic states and Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.
Sun full sun to partial shade.
Water medium to damp in well drained soils.

New York aster is an excellent upright perennial for a mixed bed or border. This species provides a color accent, bringing fall flower colors to the garden.

A fall bloomer that is known for attracting butterflies and moths to areas where it is found growing. This is a good bee plant providing nectar in the autumn. Most species in this genus seem to be immune to the predictions of rabbits.

Leave seed heads for birds and some winter attraction.

Heath Aster

Symphyotrichum ericoides:


Common Name: Heath aster
Zone: 3 to 10
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Central and eastern United States, Canada
Height: 1 to 3 feet
Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet
Bloom Time: August - October
Bloom Color: White with yellow centers
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low

Fall Flowers that attract butterflies, bees and make good cut flowers.

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun.

Heath aster is native plant that typically occurs in open rocky woods, prairies and often along roads and railroads. A bushy, somewhat compact plant with many-branched stems which typically grows 1' to 3' tall. Small, 1/2" daisy-like flowers are borne in profusion in spreading, often one-sided, dense sprays (racemes) in late summer to early fall. Ray flowers are usually white, but infrequently blue or pink and center disks are yellow. Distinctive leaves (to 3" long) are narrow (1/4" wide), rigid, linear and heath-like (hence the common name).

Provides profuse, late summer to early fall bloom for the border, rock garden, wildflower garden or native plant garden.

Other fall blooming asters for the south.

Aster praealtus

A tall (up to 8 feet), beautiful bluish lavender perennial that grows in large colonies. The individual flowers are larger than those of the fall aster and the profusion of blooms on the 6 to 8 ft. plants is a sight to behold.

The plants will grow in almost any soil type and can be found in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi from September to frost.

Fall Aster Aster ericoides
Savanna Aster (Symphyotrichum chapmanii)

Boltonia asteroides

Boltonia asteroides:

Common Name: False aster
Zone: 3 to 10
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Eastern two, thirds of the United States and parts of Canada
Height: 3 to 6 feet
Spread: 2 to 4 feet,
Bloom Time: August - September
Bloom Color: White, pink, lilac, purple with yellow centers.
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium

A fall bloomer that attracts birds, butterflies and other pollinators. Good as a cut flower too.

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun.

Tolerates a wide range of soils including moderately dry ones. Plants grown in part shade or in rich, moist soils tend to flop and need support. Plants grown in drier soils will grow shorter, but often less vigorously with inferior flowering.

Chelone glabra (Turtlehead)

Chelone glabra:


Common Name: Turtlehead
Zone: 3 to 8
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Plantaginaceae
Native Range: Most of the United States and Canada
Height: 2 to 3 feet
Spread: 1.5 to 2.5 feet
Bloom Time: August - October
Bloom Color: White with pink tinge and solid pink
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low

Showy fall flowers attract pollinators, including hummingbirds.

Best grown in moist to wet, rich, humusy soils in part shade. Appreciates a good composted leaf mulch, particularly in sunny areas.

Consider pinching back the stem ends in spring to reduce mature plant height, especially if growing plants in strongly shaded areas where they are more likely to need some support. In optimum environments, however, staking is usually not required.

This species of turtlehead is a stiffly erect, clump-forming, leafy-stemmed, typically grows 2-3' tall and occurs in moist woods, swampy areas and along streams. Hooded, snapdragon-like, two-lipped, white or pink flowers appear in tight, spike-like terminal racemes from late summer into autumn.

Flowers purportedly resemble turtle heads. Coarsely-toothed, lance-shaped, dark green leaves.

Use this fall flowers in shade or woodland gardens. Bog gardens. Pond or water garden peripheries. Wildflower or native plant gardens.

Use in borders as long as the soil moisture requirements can be met.

Clematis virginiana (woodbine)

Clematis virginiana:

Common Name: Woodbine
Zone: 3 to 8
Plant Type: Vine
Family: Ranunculaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Height: 12 to 20 feet
Spread: 3 to 6 feet
Bloom Time: August - October
Bloom Color: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wetMaintenance: Low

Showy, fragrant, Fall Flowers that attract bees and other pollinators.

Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. This species will thrive and bloom in considerable shade. Blooms on current year’s growth. May be pruned back hard (to 8-12” from the ground) to strong leaf buds in fall after flowering or in late winter to early spring.

Needs adequate supply of nutrients during the growing season to support rush of growth. Can spread aggressively by self-seeding and suckering.

Woodbine is a fragrant, fall-blooming clematis that is somewhat similar in flower to sweet autumn clematis, but lacks the tough, leathery leaves of the latter. It is native to eastern North America, where it typically occurs in moist low woodland areas and thickets bordering streams, ponds and fence rows.

It is a vigorous, deciduous, twining vine with a rampant growth habit. If given support, it will climb rapidly with the aid of tendrilous leaf petioles to 20’. Without support, it will sprawl along the ground as a dense, tangled ground cover. Features sweetly aromatic, 1.25” diameter, pure white flowers in axillary panicles from late August to October in a profuse bloom which typically covers the foliage.

A dioecious species, with the pistillate flowers giving way to attractive, plume-like seed heads. Compound green leaves, each with 3-5 oval to elliptic sharply-to

An attractive native fall Flower vine.

Perhaps best in woodland and native plant areas where it can be allowed to scramble along the ground, over shrubs and along fences. Also may be grown on trellises, arbors, or posts. If grown through large shrubs, growth should be monitored to insure that the shrub is not overwhelmed.

Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate'

Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate':


Common Name: White Snakeroot
Zone: 4 to 8
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Height: 3 to 5 feet
Spread: 2 to 3 feet
Bloom Time: September - October
Bloom Color: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low

Attracts butterflies and other pollinators with its showy white flowers.

The chocolate colored foliage makes this plant attractive in its own right.

Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers full sun in moist, humusy soils, however, plants do well in light shade and generally have better shade tolerance than most other species of Eupatorium/Ageratina. Deadhead spent flower heads to avoid any unwanted self-seeding.

This cultivar of Eupatorium features small white fluffy flowers (composites with rays absent) arranged in rounded, broccoli-sized heads (corymbs to 6" across) atop shiny purple stems typically rising 3-5' tall. Sharp-toothed, lance-shaped to elliptic-oblong leaves (4-7" long) are chocolate-tinted, thus giving rise to the cultivar name.

An exclusive introduction of the Mt. Cuba Center of Greenville, Delaware. This plant is synonymous with and often sold as Ageratina altissima 'Chocolate'. The species (commonly called white snakeroot) is native to woodlands in the Eastern United States.

Other Joe Pyes bloom in July, and often continue in September.

A true fall bloomer that is used in borders, cottage gardens, wild gardens, woodland gardens and naturalized areas.

I like maine as it also adds a contrast with the chocolate foliage.

Helenium autumnale (Sneezeweed)

Helenium autumnale:


Common Name: Sneezeweed
Zone: 3 to 8
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Height: 3 to 5 feet
Spread: 2 to 3 feet
Bloom Time: August - October
Bloom Color: Yellow rays and dull yellow center disks
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium

Showy flowers on the fall bloomer attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Attractive cut flowers.

Several cultivars like add color and beauty to any native garden.

Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun. Prefers rich, moist soils. Intolerant of dry soils. Avoid overfertilization which may cause plants to grow too tall.

Although not required, plants may be cut back in early June (at least six weeks before normal flowering) to reduce plant height and to encourage branching, thus leading to a more floriferous bloom, healthier foliage and less need for support.

Remove spent flowers to encourage additional bloom. Cut back plants by 1/2 after flowering. Divide clumps as needed (every 3-4 years) to maintain vigor.

Sneezeweed is an erect, clump-forming, North American native perennial which occurs in moist soils along streams, ponds or ditches and in spring-fed meadows, prairie and wet open ground. It typically grows 3-5' tall on rigid, distinctively winged stems which branch near the top.

Features clusters of daisy-like flowers (2" diameter) with distinctive wedge-shaped, bright yellow rays (three-lobed at the tips) and prominent, dome-like, dull yellow center disks. Flowers appear over a lengthy late summer to autumn (sometimes to first frost) bloom as indicated by species name. Alternate, lance-shaped, dark green leaves (to 6" long).

Powdered disk flowers and leaves of this species have in the past been dried and used as snuff, thus giving rise to the common name of sneezeweed.

Effective in borders, prairies, meadows, cottage gardens, wild gardens, naturalized areas or in moist soils along bodies of water.

Helianthus salicifolius (willow-leaved sunflower)

Helianthus salicifolius


Common Name: Willow-leaved sunflower
Zone: 4 to 9
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: South central United States
Height: 5 to 8 feet
Spread: 1 to 3 feet
Bloom Time: September - October
Bloom Color: Yellow rays and dark brown center disks
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium

true fall bloomer that attracts bees and butterflies while blooming and the seed heads attract an array of birds

Great cut flowers for the fall bouquets.

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerant of wide range of soil conditions. If grown in part shade, plants tend to be taller and more open, produce fewer flowers and require support. Spreads over time by creeping rhizomes to form dense colonies. Divide every 3-4 years to control spread and maintain vigor.

Willow-leaved sunflower features clusters of 2-2.5" wide sunflowers with bright yellow rays and dark brown center disks atop rigid, whitish-green stems typically growing 5-6' (less frequently to 8') tall. Narrow, drooping, willow-like, pale green leaves (5-7"). Blooms from late summer to fall. Good fresh cut flower.

There are several species and cultivars of Helianthus (perennial sunflower), you can enjoy at least one plant in your fall gardens, no matter where you live.

Salvia azurea (blue sage)

Salvia azurea:


Common Name: Blue sage
Zone: 5 to 9
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Southern United States
Height: 3 to 5 feet
Spread: 2 to 4 feet
Bloom Time: July - October
Bloom Color: Blue
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium

Showy blue Fall Flowers attract butterflies and other autumn pollinators.

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. It tolerates very light shade, but best in full sun. Also tolerates heat, humidity and drought. Cut plants back by 1/2 in late spring to keep plants shorter, combat stem laxness and promote bushiness.

Blue sage typically grows 3-5' tall and features whorls of two-lipped, azure blue flowers in upright spikes which rise above the foliage. Flowers bloom in summer to fall. Narrow, lance-shaped, gray-green, basal foliage (to 4" long) with smaller stem leaves. Noticeably hairy stems.

A mint family member that is attractive to bees and butterflies. This plant is synonymous with and sometimes sold as Salvia pitcheri or S. azura spp. pitcheri.

You can use this Fall Flower in borders, cottage gardens, native plant gardens, prairie-like areas, wild or naturalized plantings.

Vernonia noveboracensis (New York ironweed)

Vernonia noveboracensis:


Common Name: New York ironweed
Zone: 5 to 9
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Eastern and southeastern United States
Height: 3 to 5 feet
Spread: 3 to 4 feet
Bloom Time: August - September
Bloom Color: Purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium to wet, tolerates drier conditions but wont grow as tall.
Maintenance: Low

Showy purple fall flowers attract pollinators while seed feed birds and small mammals.

Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun. Tolerates wide range of soils, but prefers rich, moist, slightly acidic soils. Remove flower heads before seed develops to avoid unwanted self-seeding. Overall plant height may be reduced by cutting back stems nearly to the ground in late spring.

This species of ironweed is a tall, coarse, upright perennial which typically occurs in the wild in moist thickets, low areas and along streambanks from Massachusetts to Mississippi. Features numerous tiny, fluffy, deep purple, composite flowers (rays absent) in loose, 3-4" wide, terminal clusters (cymes) atop stiff, leafy stems typically growing 4-6' tall.

Blooms late summer into fall. Rough, pointed, serrate, lance-shaped leaves (6-8" long). Flowers give way to rusty seed clusters. The source of the common name has been varyingly attributed to certain "iron-like" plant qualities including the tough stems, the rusty-tinged color of fading flowers and the rusty colored seeds.

Background plant for borders. Cottage gardens, wildflower gardens, meadows or naturalized areas.

Return to the Top of Fall Flowers

Native Flowers of North America Home Page

Native Grasses add Fall Color

Native Shrubs Add Food and Color

Hummingbird Gardes

Butterfly Gardens


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