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12 Spectacular Annual Fall Flowers

It’s time to change out summer container gardens for a fall look now that the days are growing shorter and temperatures cooling. Discover a dozen perfect plants for fall. By Justin Hancock 


Chrysanthemum

Beautiful mums create a cushion of color in festive seasonal shades of red, orange, yellow, peach, and white, as well as contrasting shades of pink. Because of their popularity, you can find these fall flowers in a wide variety of sizes. Look for dainty mini-mums in tiny 2-inch-wide pots (perfect for table décor) or giants that can grow a couple of feet across. 

Pansy

Pretty pansies provide lovely cool-season color in just about every shade of the rainbow. Wonderfully versatile and heavy blooming, pansies are perhaps the perfect fall flower. Old-fashioned varieties grow in tidy mounds. Look for new varieties, too, that trail and are ideal as groundcovers or hanging baskets. 
Bonus: Plant pansy in the fall and in many areas, they come back to bloom again in the spring. 

Celosia

Durable and easy-care celosia is a natural for fall because many varieties appear in the traditional color palette. Celosia provides bright yellow, warm orange, scarlet red, and deep burgundy purple accents to your container gardens. And don’t forget to add celosia to your landscape beds and borders. Plus, the flame-like plumes of bloom add fun vertical texture to other fall flowers. 

Purple Fountain Grass

While not a flower, purple fountain grass is the ideal accent for other fall flowers. Its burgundy-purple foliage pairs perfectly with other colors. Plus, it adds wonderful texture to plantings -- especially mounding mums and kale.

Croton

Croton is ideal for autumn. A houseplant in cold-weather regions (or a shrub in frost-free areas), it also grows well as an annual. Enjoy its flamboyant foliage in rich shades of red, orange, yellow, and purple. Look for different varieties to find the perfect croton for your fall plantings.  

Flowering Kale

Also called flowering cabbage, this is one of the toughest plants for fall. It holds up well to frosty temperatures and looks good all winter long in mild-winter areas! Kale offers dramatic color and texture and pairs well with just about every fall flower. 
Note: Flowering kale is bred for its ornamental appearance, not for taste. We don't advise consuming flowering kale varieties.

Aster

You can grow aster as a beautiful fall perennial in many regions, but it’s an outstanding annual, too. Flowering in shades of purple, pink, white, and blue, asters are an ideal break for the traditional end-of-the-season color palette. 
Bonus: Aster is one of the best plants to feed hungry bees and butterflies in autumn. 

Dianthus

A cool-season stunner, dianthus offers beautiful flowers and wonderful fragrances. Be sure to plant dianthus where you can enjoy their great scent! You’ll find dianthus in a range of colors, from white and pink to red and purple, so there’s sure to be an ideal variety for your look.  

Sweet Alyssum

Another flower to grow for its beautiful fragrance, sweet alyssum creeps along the ground creating a carpet of color in the fall. Or use it in containers to spill over the edges like a waterfall. Either way, the effect in enchanting! Sweet alyssum tolerates cool weather well, and can bloom all fall and winter long in mild areas. 

Ornamental Pepper

Bred to be looked at rather than eaten, ornamental peppers are perfect for fall. These plants offer colorful fruits in festive shades of red, yellow, orange, and purple. There are different shapes and sizes available, from perfectly round Black Pearl to the undersea look of Chilly Chili. 

Viola

Violas are cute and charming smaller cousins of pansies. They offer a multitude of flowers in just about every color. Because the blooms are daintier, they hold up better to rain and other weather. Violas come in a wider color range than pansies, making them among the most versatile fall flowers.  

Black-Eyed Susan

Bold and dramatic, black-eyed Susan offers golden-yellow daisy-shaped flowers. A favorite of bees and butterflies, it brightens any landscape or container garden planting. Black-eyed Susan looks particularly good with mums and asters.