Autumn Flowers: 8 Cool Weather Stunners

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The fall is a lovely time of year. As nature transitions seasons, we get to watch foliage come to life with the oranges, yellows, and reds of autumn. As pretty as it is, this time of year also means the end to all of the flowers and plants we worked so hard all summer maintaining. Outside my back door, for example, is a flowerbed where pretty lavender plants grow in the sun, but in the fall wither away. After doing a lot of research, I've found there are a number of flowers and plants that actually thrive in the cooler seasons. This article will feature my findings as well as give tips and suggestions for what to grow for the success of an autumn landscape.


1. Chinese Lantern (Physalis alkekengi)

Chinese lantern plant with red flowers.

This enchanting plant looks typical in its beginnings, but blooms to do something unexpected. In the fall, the white blossoms turn into bright orange or red paper-y flowers that, as you may have guessed, perfectly resemble the traditional Chinese lantern. (Inside is a fruit that most do not consider very edible.)

2. Swamp Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius)

A close-up image of a sunflower against a green field.

A derivative of the common sunflower, swamp sunflowers are valued for their ability to grow and thrive late in seasons, most notably for our purposes in autumn. Also, as their name may suggest, they have an innate knack for survival, independently warding off pests and animals (such as deer), and can grow in a variety of environmental conditions.

3. Autumn Joy (Sedum spectabile)

A pink flowering plant called Autumn Joy.

If you love pretty pink flowers, then you will love this fall beauty. Known for long-lasting lifelines and hardiness against the elements, this flower species births a light pink color in the end of summer and turns darker shades of rose as fall approaches. This plant has even been known to survive into snowfall. Why not give it a try in your backyard?

4. Blue Beard (Caryopteris)

A close-up image of a violet flower called Bluebeard.

This flower is interesting because it blooms in late summer and fall, with unique gorgeous blue and violet flowers. It's also known for having a lovely floral aroma when gently brushed. This plant is hardy, pretty, and will be sure to stand out among the fall foliage with its blue shades. It seems to be a perfect option for all gardening needs.

5. Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)

A close-up image of a black eyed susan flower.

An odd name, I agree, this plant is also commonly called "coneflower." From late summer well into fall, it offers bright yellow flowers with black centers. This all-American flower is ideal as it require minimal care and attention, usually naturalizing back into its own environment at the end of its lifespan.

Plants and Trees

6. Sumac Trees
A sumac red flowering blossom.
If you like so many have trouble with the trees in your backyard turning brown or loosing leaves too quickly in the pre-winter months, a Sumac tree may be a great option for you. Native to North America, these plants vary in size, though in a garden they can be as small as four feet tall. The leaves can be many colors including creamy white, green, and, most notably, red. What makes these trees ideal for the fall is that beside their long-lasting nature, they propagate seeds in the fall and winter seasons. This means that, even if you don’t want the offspring of the plant (many use it as a spice), you can still enjoy the color and beauty the tree creates.

7. American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
A close-up image of the plant beautyberry.
This plant is a native shrub of greenery and, true to its name, beautiful purple flowers. Like the Sumac mentioned above, this plant also grows lovely berries of white and purple in the fall and winter months. With that said, unlike other fall plants, the fruit you'll find on it shouldn't be eaten. (It's not toxic, but it doesn't taste as good as it looks.)

8. Morning Light (Miscanthus sinensis)

A fall shrub called Morning Light.

This plant is a bit different from the others studied. It's actually a large green bush that blossoms tall purple flowers as the seasons turn. Around mid-November the color turns golden and, with the forests of winter, turns beige as the weather gets colder. The plant requires very little work (no cutting or pruning) and thanks to its hardy nature beautifies an otherwise dull landscape in the winter very well.