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Fall Flowers go along with leaves falling. Air chilling. Pumpkin carving. Sweater wearing. Fall is known for many things. But even if you are a die hard gardener, you might not immediately associate fall with flower planting. When the harsh heat of summer dissipates, you might be wondering if all of the flowers go away with it.

fall flowers - purple chrysanthemum plant

Chrysanthemum

But do not be afraid! Many plants bloom into the fall, and there are some varieties of flowers, plants and shrubs that are made especially for the fall. Even when temperatures cool and darkness comes early, you can still enjoy the beauty of fall flowers to spruce up your garden.

When Should I Plant Fall Flowers

In order to plant flowers that will bloom long into the fall, you need to understand the zone you live in. If you begin to plant flowers that will work in your zone around the middle of August, watering them carefully, you will have plenty of time to enjoy them before the first hardy frost comes.

There are many tricks to the trade when it comes to planting fall flowers, and how to make the most of the cooler air and shorter days as a gardener. Read on to make sure you don’t falter in the fall.

When it comes to fall foliage, there are many plants that bloom in the summer and keep on blooming into the fall. This is great news for gardeners that want to enjoy their earlier handiwork all through the season.

But on the other hand, there are some fall flowers that should be planted in mid to late August that will brighten up your garden until the first harsh frost arrives.

Fall Flowers – Annuals

To plant fall annuals, wait until the heat of the summer has dissipated. This exact time varies depending on the zone in which you live. Fall annuals appreciate the cool air, and will wither if planted too soon when the summer heat is still sizzling.

So for most zones, the optimum time to plant fall annuals is mid-August through the first week in September. This will ensure that the heat of the summer has passed, but also give you time to enjoy your flowers before the hard frosts of winter.

Most flowers will want to be spaced between 12-18 inches apart to give them room to grow, and they are looking for full sun and well-drained soil. Although there are more fall flowers than you probably realize, there are a few heavy hitters that keep making the fall flower lists. They include

  • Chrysanthemums (of course)
  • Aster
  • Dianthus
  • Flowering Kale
  • Celosia
  • Purple Fountain Grass
  • Delphinium

Many of these flowers grow in clumps and make a festive fall carpeting for garden beds as they spread themselves out.

aster flowers

Aster Flowers

Almost without exception, fall flowers like full sun and well-drained soil. After planting your new flowers, soak with water for their first good watering, and then consider one long watering a week instead of several short ones.

Obviously fall flowers can survive dipping temperatures and less daylight. Some can even withstand a light frost or two. But when a heavy frost comes to your region, the flowers will stop blooming.

If your fall flowers are perennials, make sure to deadhead plants to encourage new growth for the following year. Annuals can be pulled out and added to composting piles to become fertilizer for the coming growing season.

FAQS About Fall Flowers

Although each flower of course is different, as is each zone where you are gardening, here are some frequently asked questions that can help set you on the right path to gardening in the fall.

Are There Flowers In The Fall

Yes, there are! Perennials come back year after year. Often they bloom from spring all the way through fall. There are also annuals that are planted in the spring and continue to blossom into September and even October.

Often, there will be fewer blooms in the heat of summer and then they will pick up the pace again when the temperature cools off. Finally, many gardeners plant special flowers in the fall to add color and life with plants that can withstand cooler temperatures.

Can You Still Plant Flowers In The Fall

Although many gardeners start winding down in the fall, it is actually a great time of year to plant flowers. Adding some annuals will give your gardens a pop of color and make your yard look put together well into the fall.

Chrysanthemums, zinnia, and viola are all great choices for fall planting. You might also want to plant some perennials in the cool air of fall that will continue to grow back year after year.

fall flowers - purple zinnia

Zinnia

Tickseed is a hardy favorite that features bright yellow flowers that are even drought tolerant. Fall crocus and witch hazel are other beautiful choices, and they will continue to come back year after year.

Do Any Flowers Bloom In Fall

Depending on the zone in which you live, many flowers begin blooming in spring and keep on blooming through the fall. There are also some that bloom only in the fall, after the heat of the summer has dissipated.

Although many gardeners think of spring and summer as prime flower-blooming seasons, fall has many flowering friends to choose from. Having blooming flowers in the fall can also improve your mood as the air starts to chill and the days get shorter.

What Are Some Fall Blooming Perennials

There are flowers that bloom from spring through fall, and then there are flowers that grow all summer but wait to bloom until the cool fall air arrives, along with the shorter days.

Many fall blooming perennials that have been growing all summer grow top heavy when they actually bloom. Sneezeweed (Helenium) is such a flower, and needs to be staked. These beautiful two-toned flowers are reminiscent of cone-flowers and russet in color.

There are other fall favorites as well. Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) is another gorgeous perennial with stalked flowers that are lavender cones and smell like anise, drawing bumblebees and butterflies to your yard.

Sedum, especially varieties like Autumn Joy or Desert Red, feature variegated leaves and bright colors of pink and red that grow 12-18 inches high and in clumps. Although there are many other fall blooming perennials, these are some of the best.

What Flowers Bloom Well In Fall

There are many flowers that bloom well in fall. Chrysanthemums are the tell-tale flower of fall, hardy enough to withstand the falling temperatures, but colorful enough to create a bold statement. They are generally the go-to flower as the air gets cooler.

But don’t discount the plethora of other choices that will perk up any corner of your yard or garden. Asters, for instance, are a beautiful choice. Colorful asters in pink, white, and purple will look striking against dark leafy backgrounds.

Another fall favorite, pansies, will liven your garden paths. They have a playful shape and come in such a variety of colors that they can be planted in garden beds, containers, or borders.

What Flowers Bloom In Late Fall

There are several flowers that bloom late into October, so if you want the longest-lasting garden possible, try these varieties. Goldenrod (Solidago) is a true late bloomer. As one of the last flowers to bloom in the fall, it boasts over 100 species to its name and grows to be five feet tall, with bright yellow clusters of flowers.

Turtle heads (Chelone sp.), as their name implies, are two-headed lipped flowers that actually resemble a turtle poking its head out of the shell. Although these are relatively unknown flowers (why do mums get all the fall credit?) their pink and lavender flowers look stunning atop their 24-36 inch foliage.

Many flowers will bloom long into October, especially in warmer zones, and will last through the first hard frost.

What Flowers Can You Plant In Fall

Fall is a very important time for planting. Many perennials can be planted in fall that will bloom for many years to come. Some of them, like mums, will bloom when you plant them but are also hardy enough to come back year after year.

Other flowers that are annuals, can be planted in late August and grow beautifully from that time through to the first hard frost.

In addition to the plants mentioned above such as chrysanthemum, aster, and pansies, try ornamental cabbage and kale which will turn beautiful shades of red and purple, and will be as hardy of a plant as you can find.

purple and yellow pansy flowers

Pansy Flowers

Another creative idea is planting joe pye weed, which grows six to eight feet tall with lovely clusters or pink or purple flowers, and even smells like vanilla.

Another great fall plant is the hardy begonia. Although not all types of begonias can withstand colder temperatures, hardy begonias can be planted in the fall and add a sweet delicacy to your flower beds.

When Should You Start Fall Flowers

When considering when to plant fall flowers, mid-August to late August is the best time to plant. The time frame can be tricky. You want to make sure the heat of the summer has fallen away, so that the flowers will not wither when you plant them, but you also need to plant them early enough so that you can enjoy them before the harsh winter arrives.

For most zones around the country, the last week of August is a fairly safe time to plant.

Why Do Some Flowers Bloom In Fall

If you have ever heard the term “late bloomer,” then you probably already instinctively know why some flowers bloom in the fall. When a flower blooms has to do with many factors, such as the amount of chlorophyll in the plant and the amount of daylight they are exposed to.

Some plants are hard-wired to bloom in colder temperatures, and they wait for the sizzling heat of summer to fall by the wayside. Others have to wait till the chlorophyll or nutrients build up in the plant before they are able to flower.

The important thing to understand is that many people see fall as a time when plants are dying off, but there is actually a good number of plants that don’t start blooming until the fall arrives.

Although some novice gardeners might think that gardening is over in the fall, or that chrysanthemums are the only game in town, there is a world of color and life awaiting you in fall planting. By planting fall flowers you will add joy to your garden and your life, and stave off the impending winter.

Types of Fall Flowers

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2021-09-20T14:03:38-04:00