From The Tribune staff reports
As your summer garden fades, the next round of flowers and plants are getting ready to shine! Fall flowers are just as beautiful as the flowers that bloom all summer long. And they’re hardy enough to withstand some cool nights and light frosts, too.
Some plants that bloom in the autumn are perennials, so they’ll return every year– giving you reliability and value! Just make sure that the perennials you choose will withstand winters in your USDA Hardiness zone, and get them in the ground several weeks before the ground freezes so they can establish root systems before it’s time for a long winter’s nap. Ditto for shrubs, which actually like being planted in the autumn when temperatures are more mild and rainfall typically is plentiful. And you do need to pay attention to your plant’s watering needs: Some of those hot, dry days of fall can be hard on plants, so don’t forget to water if you haven’t had rain lately. In addition, plants in containers, pots, and window boxes tend to dry out faster, so you’ll need to keep an eye on them after planting.
Now, here are our favorite fall plants and flowers for autumn color.
Asters: Asters are late bloomers, and they also attract tons of pollinators so you’ll enjoy the flowers and their visitors.
Heuchera: This perennial is grown mainly for its gorgeous, saturated foliage which comes in every shade from lemony yellow to watermelon red. It’s versatile and keeps its leaf color from spring to the first hard freeze.
Sedum Autumn Joy: There are many types of sedums, but this variety is known for its upright form and bright pink flowers in late summer and early fall. The blooms on this perennial last for weeks, and pollinators love them!
Dahlia: These gorgeous flowers come in an array of sizes from tiny buttons and balls to giant dinner plate-sized flowers. In warm climates, leave the bulbs in ground. But in the north, you’ll need to dig them up after a hard frost and save the bulbs to replant next spring.
Oakleaf Hydrangea: Hydrangeas come in many forms, but only the oakleaf variety has bright autumn leaves. Make sure not to prune this shrub in the fall or you will cut off next year’s blooms as this plant blooms on what’s called “old wood.”
Sunflower: Sunflowers range in size from a few feet to more than 10 feet tall! Plant the seeds in spring for late summer and fall color. And yes, some types have edible seeds you can eat or share with the birds.
Shrub Rose: Shrub roses, also called landscape roses, are hardy and reliable, and new varieties are more disease resistant. These beauties bloom well all season long, and many types get an especially beautiful flush of blooms in early to mid-autumn.
Burning Bush: This hardy bush turns a brilliant red in fall, earning its name! Plant as part of a mixed border or privacy screen.
Celosia: Also called cockscomb, this flame-like flower adds a pop of color to any container or garden bed with bright yellow, pink, orange or red feathery blooms.
Aronia: This bush gets incredible autumn color that makes it a stunning foundation planting or accent in your landscape. Aronia also boasts spring flowers.