red yellow and orange fall blooming mums Mammoth chrysanthemums

Too often, perennial gardens in autumn go neglected. The enthusiasm, so urgent and robust in spring, has waned. When we think of the garden, we tend to think of life bursting forth in spring, or of the floral abundance of summer. But autumn, with its subtle beauty, has a charm all its own.

There are many perennial plants that offer interest late in the growing season.

Bluestar (Amsonia)

perennial garden in autumn fall blooming flower plants bluestar amsonia halfway to arkansas

Although this plant is a late spring bloomer (silvery-blue star like flowers that combine beautifully with Siberian Iris) it also provides an outstanding autumn foliage display. The narrow green foliage is an eye-catcher all season long and turns golden/yellow in fall. This is one of the few perennials that looks as great in October as it does in May! A favorite is x ‘Halfway to Arkansas’, a new hybrid that combines the vigor of Willowleaf Bluestar with the more graceful, finer foliage of Threadleaf Bluestar.


perennial garden in autumn fall blooming flower plants anemone

Gossamer blooms atop slender stalks in August and September provide a long-lasting early fall display. A delicate, fine-textured plant with a see-through look, perfect for middle or back of a border.

Aster (Aster / Symphiotrichum)

perennial garden in autumn fall blooming flower plants aster october blue skies

There are several Asters available that combine late bloom in a wide range of colors with disease resistant foliage. A favorite is October Skies, with lavender flowers on arching stems that produces a solid mound of color around your perennial gardens in autumn.

Catmint (Calamintha)

perennial garden in autumn fall blooming flower plants catmint calamintha montrose white

Calamintha ‘Montrose White’, is a mass of airy white flowers from mid-summer through hard frost (added bonus: pollinators LOVE it but rabbits & deer won’t touch it!). Read more about the 2021 Perennial Plant of the Year, Calamintha nepeta.

Turtlehead (Chelone)