Fall blooming Perennials are a favorite landscape plant among gardeners. After a hot and dry summer, fall bloomers are a welcome sight announcing the coming of the fall season with brilliant colors that can brighten any planting bed. There are many genera to chose from and regardless of what you chose, planting early in the fall will insure that the plants have time to become established as well as give you the maximum amount of time to enjoy their color before cold weather sets in.
Here are 3 of the top fall blooming perennials for theMidwest.
The Chrysanthemum is the tried and true perennial of the fall. It is the poster child for the fall season. With colors ranging from yellows and oranges to reds and deep purple, nothing says fall like Chrysanthemum. Used in pots or in a planting bed, the accent this plant gives is unyielding. Used in mass it gives a spectacular show. The downside to this plant is its lack of survivability. It is not the hardiest of perennials regardless that it is typically known and sold as “Hardy Mum”. Most gardeners want to cut this plant back when blooming is complete and reasonably so since leaving the dead brown stalks makes for a rather unattractive planting. But for survivability’s sake it is better to leave the stalks cutting them back in the spring when growth at their base first appears. Many gardeners just don’t want to live with the ugly stalks though and for this reason mums have come to be considered a fall annual as much as a fall perennial meaning plant them, enjoy them, and remove them from the garden when they have ceased to add beauty to the landscape.
A cousin to the Chrysanthemum, Aster yields the same blast of color but in a daisy type flower. They are also hardier. Asters need to be pinched 2 or 3 times during the growing season in order to give them a bushier appearance. This will also increase the number of flower buds that are set. With no serious disease or insect problems, this native will also attract butterflies. The Wood’s group of Aster features plants of blue, pink, and purple flowers.
Sedum encompasses a large group of plants. So large, in fact, that botanists have broken the group into several genera. Sedums that we have known and used for years and are featured by cultivars such as ‘Autumn Joy’, ‘Autumn Fire’, ‘Matrona’, and Vera Jameson are now listed under the genus Hylotelephium. These succulent looking perennials are easy to grow in part due to their ability to adapt to many different soil types and endure drought. They are upright, clump-forming plants with flower heads that are a mass of small star shaped flowers. With a color range of pink to red to even purplish, the only downside to this butterfly attractor is the fact that the flower heads may become so large that their stalks won’t hold them upright. Never the less, It's ease of care and consistent bloom make it a must for the fall garden.
The Best of the Rest.....
Other good fall bloomers include Caryopteris (Blue Mist or Bluebeard) and Solidago (Goldenrod)