After sunny summer days have passed, many plants lose their leaves and cease to bloom. During this time, gardens can become colorless and dreary, unless you plant a selection of seasonal plants.

If you want to have a bright, colorful garden in the fall, it is important to find plants that bloom when many other plants are past their best. To do this, find out the zone you live in, so you are able to find plants native to that area and climate.

"Native plants are great choices for fall gardens, because they also provide food and shelter for native birds, butterflies, moths, bees and other pollinators," said Dr. Dennis Albert, senior research faculty member at Oregon State University's horticulture department.

One of the most effective plants for an autumn flower display are those in the aster family, such as sunflowers, coneflowers, prairie dock, black-eyed Susans, coreopsis and boneset.

According to Dave Whitinger, executive director of the National Gardening Association, gardeners should always make sure to have a decent layer of mulch on your flower beds.

"As late fall comes and perennial seed heads dry on the plant, consider leaving them so that birds can enjoy the seeds from the heads through the winter," Whitinger said.

Here are 10 flowers that will keep your garden bursting with vibrant color into the fall season.


Sunflowers can tolerate light frost. They will usually remain standing following heavy frosts, with some even persisting in heavy snow.

These flowers provide an important food source for birds and mammals through the colder months.


Dahlias are colorful flowers which generally bloom from midsummer to the first frost.

These flowers come in a rainbow of colors and a wide array of sizes. Dahlias start blooming about eight weeks after planting, starting in mid-July.


These blooms last until the first frost and some varieties will continue to bloom as long as temperatures stay above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

To increase the number of zinnia flowers and extend their blooming period, experts recommend removing the flowers as soon as they begin to die.

Black-eyed Susans

Members of the sunflower family, these flowers are native to North America and one of the most popular wildflowers grown.

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Fall crocus

"There are a number of fall-flowering species, the most common of which is C. autumnale. The plants grow from summer-dormant bulb-like corms, producing flowers in late summer into fall. Foliage appears in the spring before the plant goes dormant," said Neil Bell, community horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service.


Anemones are great late-season bloomers in the perennial border.

The flowers come in a range of colors, from white to carmine red, and bloom from July until frost.


These vigorous blooms appear later in the season, just when other flowers begin to fade. These flowers are a food source for Monarch butterflies, who rely on the nectar of late-season blooms to fuel their fall migration.


Fall is a good time to plant clematis, as they will bloom through spring, summer and fall. Clematis will do best if planted in the spring so they have time to become established before winter sets in.


Many roses give great shows in the fall. Grandiflora, Hybrid Tea and Floribunda roses usually bloom in the spring and again in the fall.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

"'Autumn Joy' is a plant that everyone loves," Albert said. "It has to be planted earlier in the year and then it blooms in August/September."

This plant is very dependable and adaptable while it shows its flowers from August into November.

Sedges, shrubs and trees

Sedges and grasses can provide dramatic texture and color through fall and winter with spikes of seed heads and shades of green, yellow and brown. Many nurseries now carry a selection of plant species native to their region.

Shrubs provide great fall color and fruit, since their leaves often change colors and persist for days or weeks. Albert recommends looking for hazel, viburnums, dogwoods and roses to add to your landscape.

"Berries can provide spots of color and are also important food sources for both birds and mammals," Albert said.

"Trees can be an important structural component for larger gardens. Red and sugar maples; white, red, and black oaks; American beech; American basswood; eastern hemlock; and white, red, and jack pines are a few to consider," Albert said.