Fall Flowering Perennials

Heat of summer gives way to crisp mornings and shorter days. Foliage begins to change and  the perennial beds begin their final chapter before the winter chill sets in. Many of these perennials carry blooms from late summer to first frost. They are hearty and bright bringing texture and personality long after many others have gone dormant. We’ve provided images and descriptions of our most successful and long-lasting fall garden staples.

Monkshood- Aconitum camichaelii

Zone: 3-7

Light Requirements: Full sun to Part shade

Soil Preference: Prefers moist, organically rich, well-drained soils. Does not tolerate excessively dry or excessively wet conditions well

Pests/Disease: Crown rot and powdery mildew. Very poisonous. Wear appropriate Personal Protective equipment when handling this plant. No serious insect threat.

Attributes: a stunning dark blue hooded flowers cluster on an 8” long panicles atop a 2-5’ stiff leafy stem. Leaves are deeply divided into 3-5 lobes, leathery, dark green in color.  Blooms late summer, August -September. Dead head for late season bloom.

Our Experience: Difficult time with  crown rot possibly attributed to overwatering. In areas with continuous full sun exposure throughout the season, plants produce flowers well into fall. Make excellent cut flowers.

Hyssop- Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’

Zone: 5-10

Light Requirements: Full sun

Soil Preference: Average, well-drained soil.

Pests and Disease: No serious pest or disease problems

Attributes: Agastache is a long blooming (late summer through fall) perennial growing 2 to 3’ and featuring lavender blue bottlebrush flowers that sit on top of licorice scented deep green foliage. Blue fortune Agastache is a cross between Agastache rugosa and Agastache foeniculum.

Our Experience: We utilize Agastache in full sun, well draining mixed borders on Great Hill. It pairs well with common yellow, orange and red flowers blooming late in the season. Needs little care, but requires good drainage and soil on the drier side to thrive. Also performs in seasonal containers.


Windflower- Anemone japonica

Zone: 5-8

Light Requirements: Full Sun to Part Shade

Soil Preference: Grows easily in average well drained soils, but prefers consistent moisture, neutral to slightly alkaline soils with adequate drainage

Pests/Disease: No real pests or disease issues. Risk for foliar nematodes

Attributes: Slow to establish, but spreads with fibrous suckering roots. 2-2 ½’ tall with dark green three-parted leaves on long petioles, with large tooth margins and fine hair on the underside. Flowers appear late July/August, they are pinkish white with 5-7 round petals. The button-like center is lime green with a ring of yellow stamens lining the circumference.

Our Experience: We have had no issue growing in full sun, in fact we have greater success with them in full sun than in part shade. Every year they must be dug and removed as they form large colonies and can easily take over a bed. However their airy attractive flower bring wonderful character to the late season garden.

Milkweed- Asclepias

Zone: 3-9

Light Requirements: Full Sun

Soil Preference: Average dry well drained soils

Pests/disease: None serious

Attributes: A butterfly magnet! Asclepias is late to emerge in the spring, has a hefty taproot (which makes division difficult) and is very drought tolerant. The flowers resemble yarrow and are pink, white or orange depending on variety. Asclepias is both late and long blooming, and has attractive seeds pods after bloom.

Our Experience: To keep asclepias blooming throughout the fall, deadhead after initial bloom. This plant can be slow to establish, but once it takes hold, it’s very long lived and seeds itself in seasonally. Its fragrance along with its pollinator attracting qualities make this perennial a great addition to any border.

Smooth Aster- Aster laevis

Zone: 4-8

Light Requirements: Full sun to part shade

Soil Preference: Average, well-drained, medium to dry soil.

Pests and Disease: No serious pest or disease problems

Attributes: Smooth aster is a showy, long blooming fall perennial growing 2 to 3’with branching sprays of blue or lavender ray flowers around a central yellow to reddish disc. They are magnets to beneficial insects and pollinators and are ideal in meadows, cottage gardens and border settings.

Our Experience: Aster laevis is a standard fall blooming favorite that flourishes in several perennial borders on the estate. It benefits from pruning mid summer to control height (to avoid staking) and delay bloom resulting in a long fall bloom time. Our chief complaint with this plant is that while it is deer resistant, both rabbits and woodchucks have no problem devouring stems and have eaten many specimens to the ground, effectively killing them.

Chrysanthemum “Hillside Sheffield Pink”- Dendranthemum

Zone: 5-9

Light Requirements: Full Sun

Soil Preference: Prefers consistently moist, well-drained, fertile, humusy soil

Pests/Disease: Can be prone to infestation by Aphids, Thrips, Spider mites. Disease issues include Botrytis, Rust, Powdery Mildew, Rot, as well as diseases specifically afflicting asters

Attributes: Light pink daisy-like flowers profusely bloom fall until frost.. They form masses 2-3’ in height and width. Flowers attract butterflies providing a late season food source. Leaves are approximately 2” long, lobed, medium green in color.

Our Experience: Sturdy plant, a staple in fall. We haven’t had issues with pest or disease, some years they perform better than others. Must be pinched back mid-summer to control the height and maintain a more compact bushy form. We grow this variety as a perennial in our zone.

Coneflower- Echinacea purpurea


Light Requirements: Full sun to part shade

Soil Preference: dry to medium, average, well-drained soil

Pests/Disease: occasionally succumb to japanese beetle and leaf spot, yellow aster disease. Generally extremely hardy and reliable

Attributes: Tolerant of drought, humidity, heat, and poor soil. Grows from 2-4’. Large purple flowers bloom atop stiff hairy stems. Leaves are dark green in color and range in shape from ovate, to broad-lanceolate. Needs dividing approximately every 4 years as they self seed and can become overcrowded. Deadheading will improve general appearance but is not necessary for reblooming. Attract pollinators.

Our Experience: Could be featured in summer or fall flowering as they have a very long bloom season, and continue bringing color to the gardens well into fall. Great cut or dried flower. We use with success in summer and fall urns and arrangements. Have a harder time cultivating in beds due to rodent activity.

Sea Holly- Eryngium ‘Big Blue’

Zone: 3-8

Light Requirements: Full sun

Soil Preference: Average, well-drained, medium soil.

Pests and Disease: None serious. Intolerant of overly wet soils.

Attributes: A large sea holly with green spiny foliage and blue spiky bract flowers. Grows 2 to 3’ and blooms late summer through fall. Sea holly are salt tolerant and deer and rabbit resistant.

Our Experience: We’ve trialed Big Blue sea holly in our English border garden, and while it thrived for a single growing season, we didn’t have success in overwintering the following year. We do plan on re trying this plant as its long lasting and unique flowers brought a lot of color and texture into the garden during the transition from summer to fall blooms and beyond. As sea holly is tap rooted, it does not transplant well and is best suited left where its been planted.



Joe Pye Weed- Eupatorium

Zone: 2-9 (depending on cultivar)

Light Requirements: Full Sun

Soil Preference: Average medium to wet well drained soils

Pests/disease: Leaf scorch if dries out, groundhog browsing

Attributes: A large group of plants found all over the northern hemisphere. Species native to the northeast prefer wetter soil and full sun. All cultivars have purple to pink compound inflorescences that appear during the fall and green whorled leaves. This plant can grow to 6’ depending on cultivar.

Our Experience: Joe pye weed is a low maintenance, long blooming addition to many of our back borders. It’s a pollinator magnet and provides nice contrast to the fall blooming landscape. Plants can be pinched back to control height in some of the taller cultivars, but not in some others who might fail to bloom. Be sure and do your research!

Sneezeweed- Helenium

Zone: 3-9

Light Requirements: Full Sun

Soil Preference: Medium moist well drained soils

Pests/disease: Powdery mildew occasionally

Attributes: A prolific wildflower with daisy like flowers that bloom in a variety of colors from orange, red, gold to yellow, with many single plants blooming in a mixture of these colors. Cut plants in half in early June to delay flowering into the fall and keep compact. If mildew develops prune affected plant material or cut to the ground.

Our Experience: This clump forming perennial adds a lot of fall color to our Monet border. We’ve started regularly pruning this plant in June to avoid staking, and delay blooming. While it likes wet areas, it is often plagued by mildew and we’ve had seasons where it needed to be cut back shortly after blooming. Keep a close eye and use preventative measures when possible. Divide every 2-3 years to maintain vigor.

Ox eye Sunflower- Heliopsis

Zone: 3-9

Light Requirements: Full Sun

Soil Preference: Average dry to medium well drained soils

Pests/disease: Red Aphids

Attributes: A summer to fall blooming perennial with orange yellow rays and a brown center. This plant tolerates a wide range of soils, is great for wildlife (birds in particular) and good as a cut flower. The most common cultivar grows to 18,” but other varieties can grow as tall as 4.’

Our Experience: Heliopsis is a late flowering staple in our Monet garden. While younger plants require little to no deadheading, with older plants, pruning greatly increases bloom period. Aphids can be an issue with this plant. We’ve had seasons where we’ve had to cut entire plants to the ground in September due to infestation. We keep a close eye and start applying horticultural oils once we spot aphid presence, as early detection helps to combat complete plant destruction. Pinch back in June for a shorter plant with an even later bloom. 

Yellow Wax Bells- Kirengeshoma

Zone: 5-8

Light Requirements: Full to Part Shade

Soil Preference: Average moist well drained soils

Pests/disease: None serious

Attributes: A fall blooming shrubby perennial. Kirengeshoma has smooth maple like leaves tipped with narrow, drooping, waxy yellow bells that make way for horned, brownish green seed capsules.  Grows to 48.”

Our Experience: A really interesting, low maintenance perennial that graces our shade garden. Needs good soil and doesn’t tolerate a lot of wind.

Montauk Daisy- Nipponanthemum

Zone: 5-9

Light Requirements: Full Sun

Soil Preference: Average dry well drained soils

Pests/disease: None serious

Attributes: A partially woody perennial resembling a shasta daisy in flowering. Has shiny, dark green foliage, and is one of the last plants to bloom in the garden making it a fall asset. Grows to 3.’

Our Experience: Montauk Daisy, while technically a perennial, is often categorized under sub shrub for its woody stems and shrub like habit. Our daisys are late blooming and long lasting. We prune the top third of this plant after blooming every season to keep it compact and tidy.

White Fleece Flower- Persicaria polymorpha

Zone: 5-7

Light Requirements: Full sun to part shade

Soil Preference: Average well-drained soil.

Pests and Disease: None

Attributes: Persicaria polymorpha is a large, clump forming statement perennial with sizeable white fleecy blooms atop branching stems with green, lance shaped leaves. Persicaria polymorpha grows 3 to 5’ and blooms mid to late summer through the fall. White blooms make way for pinkish red seed heads later in the season.

Our Experience: We use persicaria polymorpha at the back of our English border garden for its ‘wow’ factor and long lasting fluffy blooms. Its proven to be especially tolerant of soils and reliably hardy despite seasons with prolonged drought and or high heat/humidity.

arly spring.

Sedum ‘Autum Joy’- Sedum

Zone: 2-9

Light Requirements: Full Sun/ Part shade

Soil Preference: Normal, sandy, or clay-like, will thrive in neutral, acidic, or alkaline soil

Pests/Disease: No serious threats

Attributes:  Tough, drought tolerant, very easy to grow,reliable plant. 12-24” tall, very large plate like blooms in late summer early fall. Lasts until frost. Makes an excellent cut or dried flower.

Our Experience:Very Hardy, one of the last perennials to be cut down in the gardens. Useful in arrangements as well as reliable texture and interest throughout the season. We cut back by a third mid season to maintain a tight tidy appearance into fall.

Goldenrod- Solidago

Zone: 3-9

Light Requirements: Full Sun to Part Shade

Soil Preference: Medium, well drained soils

Pests/disease: None serious

Attributes: New cultivars have transformed this weedy fall bloomer into a gardeners autumnal favorite. Hybrids such as Solidago rugosa ‘fireworks,’ are compact, clump forming, and have impressive rays of long arching golden yellow flowers that persist throughout the fall. They are tolerant of a variety of soils and attract a number of pollinators. Grow 2-5’ depending on cultivar.

Our Experience: We started utilizing golden rod in our English border for fall interest a few years ago with great success. For leggier hybrids, prune plant in half in early June for a more compact plant with a later bloom. While maintenance is relatively low for this plant, it does need to be kept in check as it’ll spread if left to its own devices.

Toad Lilly- Tricyrtis Formosana

Zone: 4-9

Light Requirements: Part shade to full shade

Soil Preference: well drained, average, medium to wet soils. Does not tolerate dryness.

Pests/Disease: No serious disease or pest problems. Occasionally snails and slugs can present a problem

Attributes: Unique addition to a shade or woodland garden. Leaves are shiny, dark green ranging in shape from broad lanceolate to obvate. Flowers bloom in clusters at the stem ends but also at the leaf joints in late summer to early fall. Flowers are approximately 1” in diameter, white with distinctive dark purple spots. Foliage remains attractive throughout the season.

Our Experience: Easy grower, has begun to naturalize in certain areas. A somewhat exotic flower to experience in late summer. Holds up well until frost. Cut back to the ground for winter.