As we slip away from the pastel scheme of summer, you may believe the days of a colorful garden are in the past. For, beyond its ever-changing leaves, autumn may not be the first season you associate with vibrant gardens and bold plants. However, it should be.
Gardeningetc sought advice from some of the most trusted experts in the industry to discover their go-to plant that will add autumn color to your garden. From ornamental grass to a host of late-blooming perennials, these are the experts' favorite autumn flowering plants – flowering in gardens on both sides of the Atlantic.
Experts share their favorite autumn flowering plants
'My favorite futumn plant is the chrysanthemum,' shares Isabelle Palmer – better-known as The Balcony Gardener. The chrysanthemum is synonymous with the season, but as Isabelle suggests, there is a reason why its popularity endures.
'It has a fairly old-fashioned reputation, but to me, it's a very welcome burst of flamboyancy when most of the garden is starting to fade,' she explains.
'Forget the idea that they are more suited to a petrol station flower. There are some wonderful verities in rustic shades that look great in a container, filled with other plants or on their own.'
While The Balcony Gardener is famed for her small garden ideas, this expert's favorite autumn flowering plants will enrich gardens of all sizes. So, which variety does Isabelle recommend if you're keen to learn how to grow chrysanthemums?
'Try Chrysanthemum 'Allouise Salmon', Chrysanthemum 'Fairweather' and Chrysanthemum 'Barnardo's Hope', she suggests.
2. Geranium 'Rozanne'
While the geranium begins to bloom in the May sunshine, you can still enjoy its regent hues throughout early fall – making it one of garden designer Tom Howard's favorites.
'One of the best doers in a garden as it likes most aspects and flowers from May all the way through to September or October,' he says. The designer also praises the plant for its simple maintenance. '[It's a] lovely purple color that complements many schemes,' he adds.
Plus, if you're looking for how to grow hardy geraniums, our guide will ensure they remain healthy throughout the cooler months and beyond.
3. Ornamental grass (with a twist)
When looking for an expert's favorite autumn flowering plants, you could do worse than follow the advice of New York-based designer – and Backyard Envy star Garrett Magee. He urges you to invest in a conventional plant for the season ahead.
'From September to November, a lot of ornamental grass has beautiful and feathery plumes, and they come in really interesting colors too – from whites to beautiful pinks,' explains Garrett, in the discussion of his favorite plant. Plus, as Garrett suggests, you don't need to leave the ornamental grass untouched.
'Sometimes, what I like to do, is mix that with different textures and colors, like a sedum (often flowers of late summer and fall) and a late-blooming perennial like a Russian Sage that has beautiful, silvery foliage with little purple flowers,' he suggests. 'By combining all these different plants, you get a beautiful color palette.'
4. Japanese anemones
'Autumn is definitely the best time of year to plant, as the soil is warm from the summer sun and moist from the autumn rain,' shares the Plant Manager at Squire's Milford, Chris Carpenter. He suggests turning to the Ranunculaceae buttercup family to indulge in the ornate beauty of Japanese anemones.
'Japanese anemones are great autumn flowers. There are different colors, and tall and short varieties are available – so they can be placed at the front or back of borders,' he says. Chris adds that they look great in pots on a patio, so of course we'll be reshaping our container gardening ideas to include this delightful species.
Of course, this list wouldn't be complete without checking in with one of our in-house experts – Gardeningetc's Beth Murton. But what is setting the tone in our editor's autumn garden?
'Flowering from late summer through to fall, asters come in a stunning array of colors, ranging from pinks and purples through to white and blue,' she says. 'These pretty perennials look similar to large daises and prefer to be planted in a relatively sunny spot with well-drained soil. They're easy to grow and will provide some welcome splashes of color in your garden borders when other plants have finished blooming as summer draws to a close.
'As they're rich in nectar, they're also a great way to ensure that pollinators such as bees and butterflies get to enjoy plenty of nectar when other feeding opportunities are declining at this time of year.
'And if you need a final reason for learning how to grow asters, they also make brilliant cut flowers and can easily last more than a week in a vase. It means you'll get to enjoy the beautiful blooms inside your home as well as out in the garden.'
Will these experts' favorite autumn flowering plants set the tone for your garden this fall? We certainly hope so.
Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Gardeningetc, Livingetc, and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.
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