Want to grow a gorgeous garden this autumn? Follow these tips and tricks to planting for a fall garden that is full of flowers and foliage.

As the vibrant colors of summer begin to fade, it’s time to shift your focus to creating a stunning fall garden.

With the right planning and techniques, you can ensure a bountiful and beautiful garden that will flourish well into the autumn months.

Here are some essential tips and tricks to help you get started.

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close up of creme caramel coreopsis

Planting for a Fall Garden Tips

To plant a garden that’s always in bloom, it’s important to consider a few things so we get lots of color throughout the growing season.

Whether we get that color through blooms or foliage, the gardens look full and beautiful all the time because something is always happening in the beds.

And if you want to get that cottage garden vibe too, check out THESE tips.

planting for fall garden beauty with annuals and perennials in front of garden shed
My former backyard cottage garden

Fall Bloom Time

For starters, it’s important to look at when flowers bloom when planting a fall garden.

Look for the best fall garden flowers that will be in bloom from August-ish through October. But there are so many other fall garden plants to choose from too.

Chrysanthemums are always a great option, but the blooms don’t last long so keep that in mind when you pick them up from the nursery.

Here are some more flowering plants that bloom in the fall.

  • Pansies
  • Celosia
  • Dahlias
  • Sedum Autumn Joy
  • Black Eyed Susan
  • Snapdragons
  • Marigolds
  • Joe Pye Weed
  • Ornamental Grasses
  • Solidago (non-invasive only)
  • Caryopteris
  • Butterfly bush
  • Asters
  • And More!

If you are short on growing space, you can plant any of these in a container garden too.

And if you are looking for other fall planting ideas, check out this post that shares what to plant in a fall garden.

Whiskey barrell planted with plants for fall garden such as garden mums and pansies with a pumpkin
Fall garden in a whiskey barrel

Types of Fall Flowers

In addition to looking at bloom time, choose flowers that have different shapes, color, and sizes.

Different flower types with various shapes and sizes will add lots of texture and dimension to the gardens.

When you are shopping around at the garden nursery, each one likely has different stock so shop around to see what inspires you.

You may not find all of the plants you want to use at the same nursery. So you may need to visit a few if you can.

plants for fall garden

Plant in Groupings

Depending on the size of your garden and plant varieties, plant in odd numbers.

And I would plant more of the same perennials and annuals in larger groupings. You’ll achieve a greater visual impact and it’s more pleasing to the eye to see larger groupings of the same plant instead of a bunch of different plants.

When I first started gardening in my former garden, I tried to squeeze different varieties in my half-acre landscape, so I squeezed smaller groupings in.

It looked pretty, but as I’m moving through my gardening years, I’m leaning towards larger drifts of plants that provide a greater impact in the garden.

Especially here in my new gardens.

So depending on what you want and how large your gardening area is, consider the size of your groupings.

backyard zen garden in fall with round paving stones

Foliage Color

In addition to the blooms, look at plant foliage color, texture, and dimension.

Don’t underestimate the power of foliage color both in fall and throughout the gardening season.

Even if a plant does not bloom or produces insignificant blooms, the foliage can have a huge visual impact on the garden.

While shopping around, look for different types of foliage that complement each other. And, consider how that foliage changes in fall.

Because even when those flowers fade, that foliage adds a huge impact to the overall garden design. Some plants get amazing fall foliage color just before the leaves fall and they are worth adding to your landscape.

backyard garden with bench carved from tree with japanese maple turning color and chrysanthemums
driveway garden in fall with chrysanthemums, pansies and fall foliage in New Jersey garden zone 6a

Plan Ahead When Planting for Fall Garden

While this is one of my money-saving gardening tips, it is worth planning ahead to the fall garden when planting summer flowering annuals.

If you choose plants with colors and textures that will look amazing in both spring and autumn, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and money when you start planting for the fall garden.

In spring, I tend to gravitate to marigolds, celosia, snapdragons, euphorbias, petunias, and nasturtiums to keep the garden going throughout fall.

But there are so many other options out there to choose from.

So see what’s available at your garden nursery and keep that in mind when purchasing plants in spring.

good directions birdhouse with celosia on a shepherds hook in the garden
Good Directions Birdhouse surrounded by celosia

Growing and Maintaining a Fall Garden Tips

If you are itching to get started on your garden, here are some tips to help you begin.

Choose the Right Plants

Opt for plants that thrive in cooler temperatures and shorter daylight hours. Consider options like ornamental kale, cabbage, garden mums, pansies, celosia, snapdragons, and ornamental grasses for a burst of fall colors.

I love grasses in fall because they add a lot of movement to the garden. And you can’t beat those feathery plumes!

Timing Matters

Plan your planting schedule carefully. You can get started in late August or early September, but keep in mind that it’s much hotter then and you’ll be watering much more often to keep things looking good.

For me, I prefer to wait until late September to plant so it’s easier to care for and requires much less time from me.

close up of purple pansies and violas

Prepare the Soil

Ensure your garden bed has good well-draining soil. Amend the soil with compost to improve its structure and fertility, providing a healthy foundation for your plants.

And if you are gardening in containers this fall? Use fresh potting soil in your planters. Even if you have existing soil, remove about 1/2 and refill with fresh to give plants a good start.

Mulch for Insulation

Apply a layer of mulch around your plants to help retain soil moisture, regulate temperature, and prevent weed growth.

I don’t always do this in the fall because I add so much mulch in spring.

other fron tporch in fall with rudbeckia and pumpkins with sedum autumn joy and mustard colored front door with two fall wreaths

Water Wisely

While fall brings cooler weather, your plants still need consistent moisture. Water deeply and less frequently to encourage deep root growth.

If you plant when it’s still pretty hot out, you may be watering more often. Particularly if you are growing chrysanthemums.

Pruning and Deadheading

Regularly prune dead or diseased plant material and remove faded blooms. This will not only keep your garden tidy but also redirect the plant’s energy to new growth.

Keep in mind when flowering shrubs bloom. If you have a spring flowering shrub, do not prune it until after it blooms the following spring or you risk cutting off next season’s blooms.

And where hydrangeas are concerned, leave them alone until the following growing season.

purple fall garden mums with autumn foliage

Fertilize with Care

Avoid heavy fertilization in the fall. Plants want to go dormant in fall as they slow down for winter.

However, it’s good to fertilize your fall annual flowers to keep them looking good. Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to provide essential nutrients.

Garden Tip: If you are fertilizing roses or houseplants, do not feed them anymore after mid-August so they can transition into dormancy before winter.

Consider Container Gardening

For more flexibility, consider planting in containers. This allows you to move sensitive plants indoors during sudden temperature drops so you can keep your garden growing until winter officially arrives.

Close up of ornamental kale, creeping jenny, millet, calamint in Container Garden for Fall

Protect from Frost

Keep an eye on weather forecasts. When frost is expected, cover your delicate plants like dahlias and marigolds with frost cloth or old blankets overnight to shield them from cold damage.

Plan for Spring

As you plant for fall, keep next spring in mind. Plant spring-blooming bulbs like tulips and daffodils in the fall for a burst of color as winter fades away.

fuschia colored chrysanthemums

Perennials vs. Annuals? What Should You Plant

When planting for the fall garden, I’m often asked what’s better to plant, annuals vs. perennials.

And the answer is…

It really depends on how much work you want to do and your fall gardening budget.

I prefer to have more perennials in my gardens than annuals because they are easier and come back every year.

BUT, I tuck in annuals to get that seasonal color that just won’t quit while perennials and shrubs grow, blooms, and change during the season.

So it’s really all a matter of preference.

Sunset in the front porch cottage garden in fall with rudbeckia, sedum autumn joy and snapdragons overlooking the valley

More About Planting for Fall Garden Design

Do you have any fall garden design tips or tricks you’d like to share? I would love to know more in the comments below.

And don’t miss joining my Gardening DIY and Decorating Community on Facebook for more chatter. And follow along there and on Instagram as well. There are behind-the-scenes daily things that I share on Instagram that don’t make it to the blog. Would love to see you there too!

If you prefer to binge-watch Bricks ’n Blooms on TV, we go more in-depth with tours and posts on my YouTube channel. Would love to hang out with you there!

And… If you’re catching up on blog posts you may have missed, be sure to sign-up to get my newest posts via email to stay up to date with everything that’s happening here on the blog and more.

flea market finds potted up with heucheras on the front porch with porch swing, fall pillows and cozy blanket in autumn

Garden Supplies I Use

I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. From pruners to deer repellents, here are some of my favorites in no particular order.

dahlia kogane fubuki in the potager garden

Click here to shop my favorite garden supplies!

Looking for More Flower Garden Ideas?

If you love flowers and want to grow more in your garden, here are some posts that will get you on your way.

From tucking in flowering plants that are deer-resistant or ones that attract more butterflies and hummingbirds, to shade-loving flowers like the lenten rose, these posts will get you on your way to growing a garden that will bring joy for years to come.

Here are more cut flower and cottage garden growing tips, tricks, and design inspiration.

view of the front porch cottage garden with sugar pumpkins, sedum autumn joy, rudbeckia, celosia and snapdragons
Click here to shop my vintage farmhouse with close up of the front porch with flowers

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cottage garden in bloom
daffodil garden in early spring

Bricks ‘n Blooms Weekly 178

Hi there! I hope you had a great week! Random Things Happening Behind the Scenes at Bricks ‘n Blooms What a week it was! We had a massive earthquake here on Friday morning (for New Jersey) and it was really scary! It was centered very close to where I live and was a 4.8! At…
Read More Bricks ‘n Blooms Weekly 178
variety of vibrant dahlia flowers in a colorful cut flower garden

Small Space Gardening: The All-You-Need Guide to Growing Showstopping Dahlias in Pots

Short on growing space but want to grow dahlias? This comprehensive guide empowers you to cultivate stunning dahlias in pots. Discover the right pot size, sun needs, feeding tips, and expert techniques for endless blooms.  If you’ve got limited growing space but still want to grow beautiful showy blooms, this post is for you! Today,…
Read More Small Space Gardening: The All-You-Need Guide to Growing Showstopping Dahlias in Pots

Thank you so much for following along.

Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

Stacy Ling

Want to learn more about me? I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years and author of the best-selling book, The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden. Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging here.

stacy ling cutting dahlias in her garden
stacy ling cutting dahlias strawflowers, dahlias and zinnias in the potager garden

If you like this post, please follow me @bricksnblooms on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel. Or join my Facebook Group.

close ups of flowers blooming in fall garden
close ups of flowers blooming in fall gardens
close up of cafe au lait dahlia - Dahlias in cottage garden -Planting for fall garden beauty with dahlias
My dahlia ‘Cafe Au Laits’ finally bloomed! Better late than never.
planting for fall garden design on the potting bench with terra cotta pots, pumpkins and garden mums
Plants for fall garden that include asters, marigolds and sedum autumn joy
The bright yellow marigolds (need to be deadheaded) but look so festive for fall with sedum autumn joy and these gorgeous asters.
close up of penhill watermelon dahlia
Dahlias are gorgeous late summer and fall garden flowers. Dahlia ‘Penhill Watermelon’
hostas, joe pye weed and wood picket fence panel ingarden nj shade garden
close up of Dahlias Jowey Winnie
Dahlia ‘Jowey Winnie’
garden NJ in late summer with joe pye weed, japanese anemones and a garden shed in the backyard garden
dahlias in the front yard fall garden
fall gardens and curb appeal ideas with tan center hall colonial -Limelight Hydrangeas are the best fall flowers
fall garden flowers with asters, sedum autumn joy and zinnias in front of suburban center hall colonial home
DIY Birdhouse in fall garden with limelight hydrangea flowers -How to Build a Birdhouse
Fall garden in front of tan house with black door and a walkway with front steps

Want to See the Full Fall Garden Tour?

Click on the video below and walk the beds with me!

YouTube video

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9 Comments

  1. I’m loving this post, Stacy! Your garden looks so pretty. We have a lot of the same flowers blooming right now.

  2. Pingback: Dirt Road Adventures - Beach Cottage Renovation & More - The Ponds Farmhouse