Looking for fall garden ideas? Wait until you see my must-have fall plants for flower beds and container gardens.

If you are looking for planting ideas that will bring the color through flowers and foliage, you came to the right place.

Cause I’m all about it!

Because fall garden plantings can be so much more than Chrysanthemums (mums) to spruce up the beds for autumn.

Don’t get me wrong, I love garden mums and tuck them around my home and garden, but there are so many other options that will add interest, color, and texture throughout the season.

Wait until you see what else you can plant for a gorgeous fall garden.

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What Should I Plant in My Garden in the Fall?

While garden mums are a go-to for many home decor enthusiasts and fellow gardeners, there are so many other great options to include that will bring an autumn color palette to your garden.

From annuals and perennials to vegetables, shrubs, and trees, what should you plant?

Fall Plant Ideas

Fall is a great time to plant your garden both for the season and for long-term color with blooms and foliage. It’s the perfect time to plant perennials, shrubs, and trees as they have more time to establish a good root system over the winter through the spring without having to endure a hot dry summer.

But it’s also a GREAT time to score some deals if you want to plant your garden for a long-term look.

Wait until roughly October to hit the nurseries, and you’ll see they will start reducing the cost of their stock to sell them off before winter.

So if you want to grow a garden in a particular area of your landscape? Do it in the fall and wait for those deals so it’s more budget-friendly.

good directions birdhouse in fall garden at peak with celosia rudbeckia snapdragons and pansies

Best Annuals for the Fall Garden

If you want to seasonally decorate your garden or outdoor living space with fall plants, there are some incredible annual options to grow that do well in both containers and the garden.

Next time you visit your local nursery or big box store, look for:

close up of purple pansies and violas

When the temps officially cool down for fall, I love to plant winter pansies in the garden. These pansies add fall color, will overwinter in some zones (like mine gardening zone 6a), and bounce back in spring.

So you can get two seasons out of them instead of one!

It’s a great way to save a few bucks because you won’t need to purchase them again in spring if you plan ahead now.

Pansies do not last through the dog days of summer so you’ll get more out of them by planting them in fall!

And if you want a pretty fall planter idea using some of these annuals, you’ve got to see my favorite container garden recipe for fall.

Container Gardem for Fall

Best Perennials for the Fall Garden

While annuals provide seasonal color, I plant perennials as much as possible because they return yearly and add color without having to plant every year.

Perennials that I love to add in my garden for fall color include:

Perennials are great to plant because they return year after year. And if you plan it well, you can have a succession of blooms through the entire growing season. Not sure whether to plant perennials or annuals? Read this post help you decide!

Backyard cottage garden in front of garden shed -cut flower garden in nj in late summer with sedum autumn joy just starting to bloom
Sedum autumn joy as it starts to bloom in backyard garden

Sedum Autumn Joy

Hands down, my favorite fall-blooming perennial is Sedum Autumn Joy. While it is more of a fall plant, It is a four-season, low-maintenance plant that is super easy to propagate.

Sedum Autumn Joy adds greenery to the garden in spring, color, and texture with its chartreuse flower buds in summer, they produce an array of pink blooms throughout fall and the dried seed heads add winter interest.

Not to mention, I use the dried seed heads in floral arrangements and winter container plantings.

Want to increase your stock? Dig and divide these plants or take a cutting and plant it directly in the ground – it’s that easy to propagate! You can learn all about it in this video.

sedum autumn joy close up in fall
garden shed with beautiful cut flower garden in fall with sedum autumn joy, dahlias and ornamental grass with pumpkins9 ways to start preparing the garden for winter
Backyard garden with sedum autumn joy.

Late Flowering Trees and Shrubs With Fall Color

Since fall is a great time to plant, consider adding late-flowering trees and shrubs to add fall color without the extra work of planting annuals.

Shrubs and trees help anchor smaller plants in the garden and provide interest through the changing seasons. When I consider flowering trees and shrubs, I also look at what their foliage does in fall.

Some late-flowering trees and shrubs that I have and love are:

There are many others so do your research for what grows best in your climate.

Backyard zen gardens in fall with changing foliage at sunset with tree sculpture shaped like koi fish

When you shop around for shrubs and trees, look at the identification tag to see what kind of fall color it has, if any.

There are lots of beautiful shrubs and trees that flower in other seasons but look GORGEOUS in fall as the foliage changes and the leaves drop.

Take a look at shrubs like:

  • spirea
  • viburnum
  • dogwood
  • smoketree
9 ways to prepare the garden for winter
As much as I love the flowers, I grow Oak Leaf Hydrangea for this beautiful fall foliage.

Cool Season Vegetable Garden Ideas

If you love to grow your own food in your vegetable garden or potager garden, there are lots of cool-season varieties that do really well in the fall.

These vegetables are often frost-tolerant and can withstand cooler soil temperatures.

Examples of cool-season vegetables include:

  • Leafy Greens: Lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, and Swiss chard are popular cool-season leafy greens.
  • Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale fall into this category.
  • Root Vegetables: Carrots, radishes, beets, turnips, and parsnips are cool-season root vegetables.
  • Peas: Both shelling peas and snap peas are cool-season vegetables that thrive in cooler temperatures.
  • Alliums: Onions, leeks, and garlic are considered cool-season vegetables.
Before harvesting the onions
celery, lettuce and marigolds in raised garden bed in potager garden

More About Fall Garden Plantings

Do you love to plant a fall garden too? What do you love to grow? 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.

Garden Supplies I Use

Since I’ve been gardening for well over twenty-five years, 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 that I use in no particular order.

dahlia kogane fubuki in the potager garden

Click here to shop my favorite garden supplies!

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best fall garden plants with rudbeckia, celosia, and snapdragons

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Thank you for following along.

Happy planting – enjoy your day! xo

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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. With a deep passion for gardening, I enjoy helping others find their inner green thumb with all things plants and flowers, as well as finding ways to bring the outdoors inside their homes.

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

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best plants for the fall garden graphic with 4 pics of fall flowers in bloom
Best Plants for the Fall Garden
The basics of Hydrangea care - limelight hydrangea, callicarpa, smoke tree and juniper
My Early Spring in the Garden Tour
fall in the woodland garden
Now Let’s Tour My Gardens (2019 Garden Tour)

During the 2019 growing season, I photographed the gardens each week to document how they grew and changed.

It’s so fun to look back and see how different they are from then until now.

garrdening zone 6a backyard garden

I picked up a few plants at the nursery.

Not that I have much room in some of my borders, but hey, I’ll make them fit!

They look so amazing and I can’t wait to show you!

Front Yard Garden Tour

When I went to the nursery this week, I picked up some Asters and the annual Ornamental Grass.

The Asters really grabbed my attention because they are a gorgeous shade of purple.

I had to have them!

I also picked up some Ornamental Grass because I love how the fronds add much movement to the front border.

Since this border spans the width of my house, I bought five plants of each for the front border.

When designing a garden, plant in odd numbers.

Odd numbers are more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

Best Plants for the Fall Garden

The biggest change to this garden is my freshly painted front door!

Doesn’t it look great?

I spent Labor Day Weekend changing it from red to black.

I chose a soft black, which almost looks more like a dark charcoal gray, but I love how it looks with my garden!

Best Plants for the Fall Garden
The front border after planting the Asters and Ornamental Grass.
Best Plants for the Fall Garden
Sedum Autumn Joy is pinking up and adding to the color and texture to the front garden.

The Dahlias I planted in spring are doing incredible!

They are a must-have for the garden but are considered tender in NJ.

This means dahlias must be dug up and stored for the winter because the tubers will not survive freezing temperatures.

Best Plants for the Fall Garden
While sitting outside enjoying my garden, a beautiful monarch butterfly was enjoying the Sedums.
Rose Mallow

The Rose Mallow I planted in spring produced these gorgeous blooms this week.

They are about 8″ in diameter.

They look stunning!

Best Plants for the Fall Border
Love how this section of the front entry garden looks right now!
Best Plants for the Fall Garden
Best Plants for the Fall Garden
Love how the purple Asters and Grasses kick up the fall vibe!
Mailbox Garden Tour

To fill in the holes where I cut back my Daylillies, I tucked in two Asters to flank the Sedum and they look awesome!!!

I love that it adds that vibrant purple color where my Jackmanii Clematis is fading.

Best Plants for the Fall Garden

I absolutely love how the Sedum envelope the mailbox!

This photo was taken before tucking in the Asters.

Best Plants for the Fall Garden

Because I love this purple color in mailbox garden, these Asters are the perfect addition.

They will help maintain that vibrant purple while the Clematis blooms fade out.

Best Plants for the Fall Garden
I love how the Sedums look at sunset. Have I mentioned how happy I am that I painted that front door black?
Fall Garden Flowers in the Well Garden Tour

The Well Garden is starting to wind down.

My Phlox and Peonies are starting to get powdery mildew so I’ll need to cut them back soon to neaten up the bed.

Right now, the stunners in this garden are Caryopteris and Callicarpa.

Caryopteris is a gorgeous late summer flowering shrub with these bluish-purple blooms.

Best Plants for the Fall Garden
The Peonies are starting to suffer from powdery mildew. But Smoketree and Zebra Grass continue to put on a show with their foliage.

The bees love this shrub and it looks amazing paired with my Zebra Grass and Smoketree.

In addition to Caryopteris, Callicarpa, aka Beautyberry, has grown the purple berries I told you about a few blogs ago.

This is one of the main reasons I love this shrub – check out the photos below to see why.

Best Plants for the Fall Garden
I love how Caryopteris pairs with my Zebra Grass and Smoketree.
Best Plants for the Fall Garden
Zebra Grass has grown so large is it now covering my garden decor.
Caryopteris Flowers
Best Plants for the Fall Garden
These are the beautiful purple berries on Callicarpa. Aren’t they gorgeous? Love love love this shrub!
Backyard Fall Garden Tour

Nothing says fall more than my backyard borders right now.

They look so festive and amazing! I noticed some of the Hostas and Raspberry leaves are starting to brown.

Combined with the Sedum, Ornamental Grass, and Joe Pye Weed, this garden is totally giving me the fall feels!

Best Plants for the Fall Garden
This might be my favorite spot in the backyard border. The color and texture of the foliage is incredible!

As I walked these beds, I noticed my double flowering Impatiens are starting to yellow and lose their leaves.

This is a sign they are almost done for the season.

Since these plants are finishing out their summer show, my container gardens are starting to say good-night.

Best Plants for the Fall Garden
Sedum Autumn Joy and the Ornamental Grass are totally giving me the fall feels in the shed and fire pit garden.
Japanese Anemone

I was given these Japanese Anemones from a local gardener two years ago.

I planted them immediately but they did not return at all last year.

Not even a leaf! This year, it grew these beautiful blooms!

It was such a nice surprise.

Endless Summer Hydrangea

The first full bloom of the Endless Summer Hydrangea.

They did not have a good season this year. CLICK HERE to find out why.

I’m going to wrap these in a few weeks to protect them better from the harsh NJ winter.

Hopefully, it will produce more blooms next year!

Best Plants for the Fall Garden
View of the lower deck garden and container plantings. My containers are becoming less vibrant as the temps cool down.
Best Plants for the Fall Garden
I love how full and lush the deck looks with my container gardens! It’s still my favorite place to hang!
What Do You Think?

I am so excited to get back to the nursery and add fall touches to my home and garden. What was your favorite garden this week?

I would love to know – let me know what you think in the comments here. 

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed this week’s garden tour and appreciate you joining me!

If you missed a few tours or want to see how the garden has progressed during the growing season, you can see them here:

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