Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Fall Garden-Fall Blooming Perennials & Shrubs

Fall Garden

Autumn has arrived in the northeast and as daytime temperatures decline there are still a variety of fall blooms that can brighten and add longevity to your landscape.  As many of the summer blooms start to fade fall blooming perennials and shrubs such as Sedum, Aster, Liriope, Goldenrod, Butterfly Bush and dwarf grasses among others can add interest to your late summer-fall garden and bring you enjoyment late into the planting season.  The varieties of shrubs and perennials mentioned below have proven to be hardy and reliable in my zone 7 northeastern garden and will be sure to add delight to your outdoor space.
Variegated Liriope (Lillyturf)
Zones 6-11
Sun-Part Shade-Full Shade
Height 8-16", Width 8-12 "

Variegated Liriope or Lillyturf is a wonderful perennial for all summer long with interesting texture and grass-like variegated foliage followed by vibrant eye-catching spikes of purple blooms in late summer and fall.  It fits nicely into either a formal or informal landscape and lasts into winter.  At this time of year it is at its peak and is spectacular!

Sedum 'Brilliant'
Zones 4-8
Full Sun to Part Shade
Height 18-24", Width 18-24 "

Sedum 'Brilliant' is a more compact form of sedum which stays upright while other varieties such as 'Autumn Joy' tend to get top heavy and fall over.   'Brilliant' displays vibrant deep pink blooms that turn orange in fall on top of succulent-like clumping foliage.  Planted along with dwarf grasses it makes a nice fall statement.  I have plenty of these on my own property and they always add wonderful interest to the fall garden.
Aster Michaelmas Daisies (Pink)
Zones 5-9
Full Sun
Height 12-24", Width 12-18"

Asters are a known sign of autumn and are commonly seen in perennial borders or in container plantings.  They add an eye-catching display of color to the garden.
Aster Michaelmas Daisies (Purple)
Zones 5-9
Full Sun
Height 12-24", Width 12-18"

Asters come in a variety of colors including pink, purple, red, blue and white and serve nicely in a cut bouquet or as dried flowers.
Solidago sphacelata 'Golden Fleece'  (Goldenrod)
Zones 4-9
Full Sun - Part Shade
Height 18-24", Width 18-24"

Goldenrod is a bright fall perennial that displays golden-yellow flowers on arching branches and is popular in the New England cottage garden. Do not confuse it with Ragweed which blooms about the same time and is an allergen to many! Goldenrod comes in a number of varieties ranging in size from two to six feet. 'Golden Fleece' (above) stays at a more compact height of only two feet.
Hydrangea 'Tardivia'
Zones 3-8
Full Sun-Partial Shade
Height 3-6', Width 3-6'
Hydrangea 'Tardivia' is a beautiful long blooming variety of hydrangea that lasts well into fall with large elongated white blooms on dark green foliage. While other varieties of hydrangea have completed their bloom season 'Tardivia' steps up to the plate and lasts well into the first frost.   The gently fragrant blooms are an added wonderful delight as one passes by.

Dwarf Fountain Grass
Zones 4-9
Full Sun -Part Shade
Height 2-3', Width 2-3'

Dwarf fountain grasses are a popular addition to the garden due to their wispy silvery bottle brush plumes produced in fall.  Fountain grasses add interest and movement in the garden throughout the season and provide winter interest as well. The variety pictured above is 'Hameln' which stays as a compact 2-3 foot plant and serves well in just about any type of garden.
Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus' (Purple Coneflower)
Zones 4-9
Full Sun
Height 24-36",  Width18-24" Wide

Echinacea or Coneflower forms showy upright clumps of vibrant blooms from late summer into fall that are a feeding station to many species of butterfly. There are many varieties of this beautiful perennial ranging from pink to yellow to white and they serve beautifully in a perennial border, cottage or prairie garden.

Zones 3-9
Full Sun-Partial Shade
Height 2-3'. Width 18-24"

Rudbeckia or "Black Eyed Susan" is a popular perennial in cottage, woodland  and prairie gardens and blooms from late summer throughout fall into the first frost.  Bright golden-yellow petals surround a darker central portion that pop in the garden.  Rudbeckia spreads freely and serves nicely as a mass planting in sun or part shade.  Rudbeckia and Echinacea complement one another beautifully.

Knock Out Rose 'Radrazz'
Zones 5-10
Full Sun
Height 3-4, Width 3-4'
Knock Out Roses are an excellent addition to the garden since they produce continuous blooms from summer throughout fall.  The above variety 'Radrazz' puts on a show of vibrant pinkish-red fragrant blooms all the way until frost and is a favorite of garden enthusiasts.   This one is also a personal favorite of mine right along with Pink and Red Double Knock Outs. 

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
Zones 4-9
Full Sun
Height 3-4', Width 2-3'

Russian sage produces bushy upright stalks of grayish leaves that are lacy and fragrant.  Spikes of violet-blue blooms appear in late summer and last well into fall.  The open informal habit of Perovskia makes it a great filler in the backdrop of a cottage style perennial garden or border.
Chelone lyonii 'Hot Lips' (Turtlehead)
Zones 3-8
 Sun-Part Shade-Full Shade
Height 24-30",  Width 18-24"

I recently discovered Chelone (Turtlehead) in a friend's garden this fall.  Turtlehead are native wildflowers that adapt easily to garden conditions.  Showy and long-lived they are a magnet to bumblebees and butterflies and bring nature to the garden.  They serve nicely in an informal perennial border. 
Chrysanthemum morifolium (Hardy Garden Mum)
Zones 5-9
Full Sun-Part Shade
Height 1-2', Width 2-3'

Last but not least is the traditional fall flower..the hardy Garden Mum.  Mums come in a vast variety of colors and last well into the first frost.  They are often planted in containers for a fall punch of color or can be placed in the garden for autumn blooms. 

The arrival of Autumn does not mean the end of the gardening season. By simply adding one or more of these selections to your landscape your garden blooms will be prolonged well into fall and bring extended enjoyment to your outdoor space.

What's blooming in your garden?

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2013. All rights reserved



  1. I have been browsing your blogposts. You have a beautiful garden with lots of interesting plants. I am from The Netherlands and love gardening in my own garden, making garden designs for other people and enjoying the great outdoors with my border collie Snarf. I will be a new follower.

  2. Lee you've just given me the answer to a question. I've a large clump of sedum and I'd noticed that some were smaller and more compact than others - obviously I have 'Brilliant' growing amongst 'Autumn Joy'. :) You've such a lovely array of autumn flowers.

  3. Thank you for visiting Janneke and Rosie and for your comments. I have enjoyed reading your posts as well. Rosie-I am pleased to have answered your question...yes 'Brilliant' is smaller so that is probably the case. Happy Gardening!

  4. I wish that Variegated Liriope would grow in the Poconos -- we are both northeast, but a zone apart, Lee. I just purchased a sedum that had no label and I think it may be 'Brilliant' -- I'll wait to see if the pink blooms turn orange. I MUST HAVE the dwarf fountain grass -- I buy purple fountain grass every year, but it is an annual here. A lot of useful information, thanks. P. x


Thank you for visiting. I love reading your comments and knowing you have been here, and will try to reciprocate on your blog. If you have any questions I will try my very best to answer them. As always...HAPPY GARDENING!