Want to keep the color in your flower garden going from spring through fall? Plant these 10 late summer blooming flowers to help bring your garden into fall with extended bloom times and beautiful fall colors.

Before fall planting season begins, the garden tends to quiet down while the summer blooms fade. As the flowers fade, the garden’s color palette mutes and isn’t as vibrant.

However, we can keep the garden colorful, blooming, and gorgeous by planting flowers that have an extended bloom time in mid-late summer. Plant these beautiful garden flowers that help the borders transition from summer to fall.

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Backyard cottage garden in front of garden shed -cut flower garden in nj in late summer

When to Plant Late Summer Blooming Flowers

The best time to plant late summer blooming flowers, which include perennials, annuals, and seeds, varies depending on your location and the specific species you’re interested in.

In general, I recommend planting perennial flowers in spring or fall to give them ample time to establish strong root systems before the heat of summer or the arrival of freezing temperatures. This gives them time to establish and ensures healthier growth with more abundant blooms.

Personally, I like to plant my late summer blooming perennials alongside my other spring plantings. This way, the root systems are established and ready to bring vibrant color to the garden as the spring and early summer flowers begin to fade.

That said, I’ve also been known to snag some end-of-season bargains when nurseries offer their remaining stock at a discount.

If you are planting annual flowers or seeds, it’s important to wait until your last frost date. And if you are direct sowing flowers, it’s a good idea to wait until the soil temperature is 60 degrees or higher.

Remember, planting time isn’t one-size-fits-all. Make sure to select late summer flowers that are suited to your climate and soil conditions, and provide them with ample sunlight, water, and nutrients throughout the growing season for the best results.

close up of rose mallow perennial flower - summerific hibiscus or hardy hibiscus

Plant These 10 Flowers for a Spectacular Late Summer Garden

If you are looking for plants with mid- to late-summer bloom times, these garden flowers are my favorite to grow because they are easy-care, low-maintenance, and help the garden transition from summer to fall without skipping a colorful beat.

Plant or divide these summer garden bloomers in spring or fall to keep the color going as summer winds down and fall kicks in.

These late summer blooming flowers are perfect for the cottage garden.

But they are also wonderful blooms to include in a cut flower garden too as they make beautiful additions to flower arrangements.

sedum autumn joy zinnias gomphrena in the cottage garden with superbells

Sedum Autumn Joy

I’m a huge fan of Sedum Autumn Joy. They are super simple to care for,  propagate with ease, and are a beautiful late summer blooming flower for the garden.

And to me, they are a four-season perennial. Here’s why.

Sedum Autumn Joy adds visual interest in spring while it grows, adds a chartreuse color and texture to the summer garden, starts to flower in late summer, and turns a gorgeous deep burgundy in fall.

And if you leave the seed heads up all winter, it adds interest when the snow sits on it. Not to mention, I love adding these seed heads to my winter container designs.

Hardy to zones 3-10, it grows to roughly 18-24″ tall and wide and prefers full to part sun in sandy, loamy well-drained soil.

To learn more about sedum autumn joy and why I love them, watch this video.

A vibrant garden featuring a sedum plant with large clusters of pink flowers, surrounded by lush green foliage and smaller yellow blooms, set against a bed of mulch. (sedum autumn joy)
Sedum Autumn Joy as it begins to bloom

Joe Pye Weed

Much like Sedum Autumn Joy, Joe Pye is a great easy-care perennial for the garden.

It adds a lot of color and interest while it grows and blooms spring into summer, the dried seed heads color the fall landscape with additional texture.

Joe Pye Weed is also a butterfly magnet, so if you want to see more pollinators in the garden, you’ve got to grow it.

In general, they are hardy from zones 4-9, prefer full to partial sun, and thrive in rich, well-drained soil.

And if you leave those seed heads up in winter, the snow looks so pretty on them

close up of Joe Pye Weed

Summerific Hibiscus

Rose mallows, a type of hibiscus, are one of my new favorite late-summer blooming flowers. They are real show-stoppers in the garden as they have 8-10″ blooms that will pump up the garden with gorgeous color and interest.

And the foliage is just as beautiful as the flowers!

In general, hardy hibiscus grows best in zones 4-9, prefers full to part sun, and prefers rich to medium-wet soil moisture.

Rose mallow hibiscus flowers grow very large, so make sure to leave a lot of room for them in the garden as they can reach 2-4′ tall and wide. Hardy hibiscus is not deer resistant so they’ll need protection or you can spray them with deer repellent like this.

pink hardy hibiscus in the front yard garden

Dahlias

Dahlias are definitely one of my favorite late-summer blooming flowers! I avoided planting them back in the day because they are a little more work than I cared to do while I was raising my family.

They need to be staked and in my hardiness zone 6b, they need to be dug up before winter because they are tender.

After my kids were grown and I had a little more time, I invested more into growing them and have not looked back! Dahlias make gorgeous cut flowers, look so beautiful in the garden, and are wonderful cut flowers for bouquets.

Dahlia 'Tropical' is great for the cut flower garden
Dahlia ‘Tropical’

In general, dahlias are hardy to zones 8-10 but I’ve known gardeners in zone 7 that have been able to keep them in the ground without lifting them out for winter.

Depending on the variety, they can grow to be 1-6′ tall and 1-3′ wide. Dahlias prefer full sun and thrive in loamy, well-drained soil.

The flowers are cut and come again, so the more you cut the more blooms you’ll have to enjoy both in and out of the garden.

variety of dahlias in potager garden
dahlia bouquet in potager garden with fountain

Limelight Hydrangeas

There are SO many hydrangea varieties out there but I am a huge fan of limelight hydrangeas.  

They start blooming in summer and keep blooming through fall and are even more beautiful as they age because the gorgeous white blooms change to pink.

They make beautiful cut flowers and are super easy to dry. If you cut them for arrangements, there are a few ways to keep fresh cut hydrangeas from wilting.

In general, limelight hydrangeas grow well in zones 3-9, they prefer full to partial sun in well-drained soil.

Limelight hydrangeas grow about 6-8′ tall and wide, so give them plenty of room to grow.

I love to make simple wreaths from the flowers for my fall decor too. I shared how to make a simple hydrangea wreath in this post.

Vibrant light green hydrangea paniculata blooms with white tips flourishing in a lush garden setting, showcasing healthy growth and dense foliage - limelight hydrangeas
Close up of limelight hydrangea flower as blooms fade -9 ways to start preparing the garden for winter limelight hydrangea
Limelight Hydrangea

Sunflowers

Sunflowers are one of the best late-summer flowers to grow in the garden. These are classic blooms that add a ton of interest (and height!) to a garden. There are so many varieties of sunflowers that can add beautiful, autumn colors to your property in late summer and into early autumn.

​​Sunflowers are also surprisingly easy to grow. They grow well from seed, even for beginners, and many varieties reward you with blooms quickly. They’re also wonderful for cutting. You can even harvest sunflower seeds to enjoy as a nutritious snack!

Sunflowers thrive in sunny locations with well-draining, fertile soil. They need about 6-8 hours of full sun to get the most out of the flowers. Don’t forget to give your flowers plenty of space – these grow big!

Giant sunflowers may need about 3 feet between plants, while dwarf varieties can be spaced as close as 1 foot apart.

A vibrant sunflower with a large, bright yellow bloom and a thick green stem, standing in front of lush trees. Three bees are visible harvesting sunflower seeds from the flower’s disc.
Classic sunflower blooms

Zinnias

Zinnias are one of my favorite flowers throughout the entire growing season – including late summer and early fall! These easy-care blooms have a very long growing season. The blooms begin in early to midsummer and last well into fall. And with regular deadheading, the blooms can last for weeks.

In addition to their stunning beauty, zinnias also make excellent cut flowers, adding an explosion of color and freshness to any indoor space.

Zinnia flowers prefer full sun, so choose a spot in your garden that receives at least 6-8 hours of sun each day and plant in areas with good airflow to prevent diseases like powdery mildew. They also like well-drained soil that is moist and rich in organic matter. 

I like to start my zinnia seeds indoors and then transplant the seedlings to the garden after the last frost date in my area. Plant seedlings about 9 inches apart to ensure they have enough space as they grow and bloom.

But you can also directly sow them outdoors after all danger of frost passes and the soil has warmed to 60 degrees. Learn more about growing zinnias.

Senora Zinnias in cut flower patch
Zinnia blooms

Cosmos

Cosmos are flowering annuals with cheerful, daisy-like blooms that add lots of dainty blooms and beautiful texture to your gardens. They are also very low-maintenance plants that are perfect for beginner (or just busy) gardeners.

Their long, sturdy stems make them fantastic cut flowers, lasting for days in a vase and bringing a touch of summertime cheer indoors. They also look beautiful in garden beds or containers (especially in a cottage garden!).

Cosmos typically start blooming in early to mid-summer and continue to the first frost of fall. So you’ll get lots of enjoyment out of these blooms with proper care and maintenance!

Cosmos need full sun (6-8 hours) in well-drained soil to grow, bloom, and be healthy. So make sure you have a spot like that in your garden before you start the seeds.

Taller cosmo varieties will also need support to keep the plants from flopping over in your garden. To keep them blooming, you’ll need to deadhead and cut flowers often because the more you cut the more they’ll flower. Learn more about growing cosmos as late summer blooming flowers.

red and white cosmos
Red and white cosmos

Japanese Anemone

Japanese anemones are elegant, graceful, and come in beautiful pinks and whites Their simple, delicate blooms move in the breeze – an eye-catching addition to the garden!

They’re also a favorite plant of pollinators and they couldn’t be easier to grow.

I first started growing them many years ago when a neighbor posted on Facebook that they wanted to give away some divisions.

Of course, I jumped on that one and loved that plant until the day we moved. I have big regrets about not digging it up to bring it with me to our current house. 

I planted ‘Fall in Love Sweetly’ by Proven Winners and LOVE IT! It bloomed shortly after planting and returned with ease this year. Japanese anemones bloom in late summer and early fall. They thrive in shade and can grow well even in dry soil. They’re also great for container gardening.

Japanese Anemone fall in love sweetly by proven wnners
Japanese Anemone Fall in Love Sweetly by Proven Winners

Tithonia

Tithonia, or Mexican sunflowers, bring beautiful orange hues to the late summer and early fall garden. These tall plants create a stunning visual impact and are a magnet for butterflies and hummingbirds.

These late summer blooming flowers get pretty tall, so you may want to give them additional support with staking so they don’t topple over after a storm or other inclement weather.

I haven’t seen these sold at my local nurseries, but you can easily start them from seed like you would with sunflowers.

Tithonia grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. Avoid planting in heavily fertilized soil or your plants are likely to grow excess foliage that can weaken stems. You can pinch back plants to encourage bushier growth and more blooms.

Three vibrant red-orange flowers on a tithonia plant with prominent yellow centers and lush green leaves in a garden.
Tithonia

Create a Vibrant Fall Flower Garden: Design Tips

Now that we have an idea of what flowers bloom into fall. Here are some tips for helping you create a vibrant garden that blends into fall. Here’s how to create a showstopping fall display:

  • Embrace the Autumn Palette: Think rich reds, burnt oranges, golden yellows, and deep purples. Fall flowers like mums, asters, goldenrod, rudbeckia, and helenium offer these classic fall hues.
  • Vary Textures and Heights: Don’t just focus on blooms. Ornamental grasses (like Miscanthus or Pennisetum) add breezy movement and a different texture. Include tall focal points like Joe Pye Weed or Russian Sage alongside lower-growing blooms.
  • Consider Evergreens and Shrubs: A backdrop of evergreens or shrubs with colorful fall foliage keeps your garden looking robust even when some blooms fade. Think dwarf conifers, Japanese maples, or viburnum shrubs.
  • Plant in Drifts: Instead of scattering individual plants, group them in bold swaths. This massing technique creates a more dramatic, eye-catching effect.
  • Extend the Bloom Time: Choose flowers with different peak blooming periods. Early fall bloomers like asters or sedum will lead the way, while late-season stars like dahlias and mums will keep the color alive long into autumn.
  • Don’t Forget Foliage: Plants with striking leaves, like coleus, coral bells (heuchera), or Japanese painted ferns, add color and interest long after flowers fade.
rudbeckia gomphrena and sedum autumn joy by front porch in fall

More About Summer Garden Flowers That Bloom into Fall

Do you have any late summer flowering favorites you would like to share? I would love to know more in the comments below.

For more information about growing late summer flowers, read this article from the Cornell University Cooperative Extension.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear! And feel free to share this post with anyone you think would find it helpful too.

To drill down on more beginner gardening techniques and tips, please read these posts:

Thanks for stopping by the blog today.

Enjoy a beautiful day! xoxo

stacy ling signature
close up of sedum autum joy - a gorgeous plant for the fall garden
New cottage garden by front porch in fall with rudbeckia, sedum autumm joy, and celosia
LImelight hydrangea by the potager garden with green garden fence
Limelight hydrangea by the potager garden with moonbeam coreopsis.
summerific hibiscus evening rose in garden nj - rose mallow or hardy hibiscus
Home and Garden Blogger Stacy Ling cutting zinnia flowers in her cottage garden with wood picket fence in front of garden shed
5 Late Summer Flowers to Bring Your Garden Into Fall
summer garden flowers that bloom into fall like solidago
black lab in fall garden with sedum autumn joy - what to plant in fall

Former Garden Photos

It’s amazing to look back and see my former garden. It is much different than the garden I have now. Here are the perennial flowers I mentioned above in my former garden.

The bricks \'n Blooms guide to a beautiful and easy-care flower garden book by stacy ling
The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy Care Flower Garden
  • Have you never met a plant you couldn’t kill?
  • Have you dug around in the dirt with nothing to show for it except a sunburn and a sore back?
  • Do you currently enjoy growing flowers, but are looking for more tips and ideas to level up your gardening game?

Then the Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide is for YOU

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22 Comments

  1. Pingback: An Enchanted Evening Stroll Through the Garden - Shiplap and Shells
    1. Thank you Danielle! Do you grow lots of succulents? I have a friend on IG who grows a lot of them and I love how she designs her containers!

  2. Your garden is so beautiful Stacy! I too love growing sedum autumn joy and dahlias in the garden. It’s such a great pick-me-up when other blooms are fading.

  3. Great set of fall flowers and they will help to beautify the garden during the fall season.
    Keep Sharing more on the maintenance of fall garden.
    Thank you.

  4. I’m always looking for ways to make my garden shine year round. I definitely need to add some dahlias! Thanks for sharing.

  5. A few other great fall blooming flowers I like to have in my garden are Pineapple sage,(red) Ironweed(purple) Goldenrod(yellow) and lots of grasses that send up beautiful plumes beauty berry (callicarpa)bushes which provide purple berries.

    1. Oh I LOVE pineapple sage too! I had callicarpa at my old house – need to plant it here. It’s a favorite!

  6. Do you have any experience with lusifer crosmosmias? I planted 8 bulbs in a pot in June and it appears that only 2 survived. And by survived I mean each of the 2 bulbs sent up 2 shoots that are currently about 8 to 10 inches tall. I am in zone 5. Should this be growing a little faster? The pot is in full sun and I check the moistness of the soil frequently and water as needed. Maybe these are more suited to being planted in garden vs. in a pot? I was so looking forward to their brilliant red flowers.

    1. I’ve grown crosmosmias before in a pot. But only one season. Have you fed them? Are they in full sun? Is it possible the bulbs weren’t great quality?

  7. These are great flowers. I love sedums, hydrangeas and dahlias. I will have to add the others to my garden.