Fall Garden – What to Plant?

Are you looking for ways to spruce up your fall garden but don’t know what to plant?

I know it’s all about mums but there are so many other plants that are better for the fall garden.

Here are some planting ideas that will bring you more bang for your buck with gorgeous autumnal color.

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The Truth About Fall Mums

It’s not that I don’t love mums.

Because I do.

But the blooms are short-lived and they can be super fussy in my gardening zone 6a garden.

(If you want to get the most out of mums in your fall garden, HERE is everything you need to know.)

To me, mums have a place in the fall garden, but there are SO many options of perennials that are just better for autumnal color.

So before you head to the nursery, check out these plants that will give you more bang for your buck.

9 Simple Fall Front Porch Decor Ideas

Fall Garden – What to Plant? Perennials or Annuals?

Whether you choose annuals or perennials, is entirely up to you and your fall gardening budget.

Here are some ideas to plant that are not fall mums.

Container Gardem for Fall

The Best Annuals for Fall

There are some incredible options for annuals that do well in both containers and the garden.

Next time you visit your local nursery, take a look at the Ornamental Grasses, Ornamental Peppers, Millet, Ornamental Kale, and Winter Pansies.

Learn how to make this gorgeous container garden for fall HERE.

Why You Should Plant Pansies in Fall Instead of Spring

When the temps officially cool down for fall, I love to plant Winter Pansies in the garden.

These pansies add fall color, will overwinter, and bounce back in spring.

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.

So when you shop, be sure to choose colors that will not only look good in fall, but will look amazing in spring too.


Do Pansies Come Back Every Year?

No, pansies are annuals, but they do love cooler temperatures.

Since pansies do not last through the dog days of summer, you’ll get more out of them by planting them in fall.

9 Simple Fall Front Porch Decor ideas

The Best Perennials for Fall Planting

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

Perennials I love to add to for fall color include: Asters, Ornamental Grass, Japanese Anemones, Sedums and Joe Pye Weed.

Dahlia 'Jowey Winnie'

HERE is a great list of the best fall flowers for the garden.

While it is true perennials are a little more work than annuals because they need to be cleaned up in fall or spring, they attract lots of pollinators including butterflies, hummingbirds and bees.

(HERE are 10 easy-care, perennial plants that butterflies love.)

If you plan your garden well, you can have a succession of blooms through the entire growing season.

fall garden - what to plant

Why You Need to Plant Sedum Autumn Joy

My favorite fall blooming perennial is Sedum Autumn Joy.

I know there are lots of sedums out there, but this sedum is a must-have in the fall garden.


Because it is a four season, low-maintenance plant that is super easy to propagate.

Thrifting for the Garden at the Vintage Market

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!

Watch the video to learn more about this amazing perennial!

Late Flowering Trees and Shrubs

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.

Limelight Hydrangeas and Beautyberry are the best fall garden flowers

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: Caryopteris, Callicarpa, Oak Leaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea Paniculata, and Burning Bush (doesn’t flower but the foliage is absolutely incredible in fall).

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

How to Build a Birdhouse

Wanna learn how to make this DIY birdhouse? CLICK HERE.

Want to Grow an Everblooming, Colorful Garden But Aren’t Sure Where to Start?

If you are a beginner gardener or looking to add some easy care plants and flowers to your gardens, CLICK HERE for my FREE Must-Have Plant Guide.

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Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

Stacy Ling

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  1. Stacy, I cannot WAIT to plant my fall garden. After a summer of alot of rain (so rare here) and hot temps, I’ve hardly been in my garden. But the magic begins soon as planting begins Sept.15. Thanks for all the inspiration. I’ve enjoyed your garden this summer.

    1. Thanks Mary! I’m really excited for fall gardening season here too. We actually had lovely temps today that were perfect for working outdoors! Can’t wait to plant stuff! xo

    1. Thank you Molly! Me too – I was waiting for it to cool down enough to get started! We are just about there in NJ! Happy labor day weekend! xo

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