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Q & A: Fall-Flowering Plants

What can I plant that will flower into the fall?

I’m trying to cut back on my expenses, and my yearly fall purchase of mums and ornamental cabbage seems like a place to start. Can you recommend some perennials I can plant for fall color year after year? Are there any annuals I can enjoy all summer and into the fall?

--EK, New Jersey

As dewy mornings develop into mellow days, and colder nights warn of impending frosts, here come the brave and beautiful flowers of autumn. Delicate colors and graceful habits belie their hardiness; some continue their display into early winter. Here are some perennials for a floriferous fall:

o Japanese anenomes (Anemone hupehensis, Zones 6–9; A. vitifolia, Zone 4–8)

o Asters (Aster amellus, Zone 5–8; A. ericoides, Zone 3–7; A. xfrikartii, Zone 5–7; A. novae-angliae, Zone 2–8)

o Hardy chrysanthemums (the Rubellum Group, Zones 5–9, including C. ‘Clara Curtis’ and ‘Emporer of China’; “My Favorite” mum series from the University of Minnesota)

o Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea ‘Indiaca’ and ‘Razzmatazz’, Zones 4–8; E. angustifolia, Zones 3–8; E. paradoxa, Zones 4–9)

o Rudbeckias (Rudbeckia fulgida, Zones 4–8; R. laciniata, Zones 4–9; R. occidentalis, Zones 3–10)

o Schizostylis coccinea, Zones 6–8

o Sedums

If frosts and heavy rain hold off, fall can be the most colorful and beautiful time of the year, even among annuals. Bold, richly colored annuals, having reached their stride in late summer, will continue to grow and bloom, looking wonderful in clear, low sunshine against a backdrop of fall foliage. These annuals will make a powerful impression in a good fall:

o Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis)

o China aster (Callistephus chinensis)

o Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)

o Annual mallow (Lavatera trimestris)

o Clavel de muerto (Tithonia rotundifolia)

o Zinnia

Read more about coneflowers

See a favorite zinnia

Read past weeks’ Q & A