Gardening Tips

8 Gorgeous Fall Perennials You Should Plant Now, Before the First Frost

Kara Jillian Brown

Photo: Getty Images / Damian Lugowski
Spring gets all the attention for bringing new blooms and fresh leaves into the world after a long, cold winter. But fall is a great time to get new plants into the ground. Perennials in particular will benefit from time spent in cool soil before the warmth of spring and summer, says Rebecca Sears, chief gardener at garden company Ferry-Morse.

"While many think the gardening season is over come fall, there is more work to be done that can increase your harvest and better prepare your garden for next year," says Sears. "To ensure successful blooms next season, it’s wise to plant perennial flowers now so they can establish their roots before frost."

Planting perennials that come back year after year makes your garden healthier over time.

"One of the greatest benefits of growing perennials is that they live for several years, saving you time at the start of each gardening season," says Sears. "Since the life cycle of perennials is several years, they’re more resilient, develop stronger root systems, better the soil they inhabit, and promote healthy conditions for the plants around them."

When planting this late in the year, you can plant seeds, bulbs, roots, or full plants. "Planting perennials in the fall as baby plants, such as the Ferry-Morse Fall Plantlings, allows you to enjoy them during the fall season and give them time to establish their root system before the winter months," says Sears. The key is to plant before the first frost and ensure that what you're planting can survive in your region by checking the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. "Be sure to consult the map to find out what zone you are in and review the zone information on the seed packet, label, or website if buying online," says Sears.

8 fall perennials

Echinacea Cheyenne Spirit Coneflower
Echinacea cheyenne spirit coneflower plantlings — $20.00 to $40.00

The Echinacea Cheyenne Spirit Coneflower is one of Spears’ favorite fall perennials to plant because “they are low maintenance and pollinators love them,” she says. These plants survive well over winter and are drought-tolerant. They grow best in full sun to partial shade.

Violet Ranunculus bulbs, fall perennials
Violet Ranunculus bulbs — $40 to $120

Ranunculus loves an area with full sun and the bulbs perform great when planted during the fall growing season in zones 8 through 12. If you live in another zone, you can begin to grow your bulbs inside and plant them in the spring. These bulbs will ship in October.

Panorama mix monarda bee balm
Panorama mix monarda bee balm — $20.00 to $40.00

Sears also love planting bee balm in the fall. This mix will yield blooms in many shades of scarlet, bright red, pink, salmon, and crimson. It’s also great at attracting bees and hummingbirds.

Papaver Orientale roots, fall perennials
Papaver Orientale roots — $20.00 to $80.00

These eye-catching, deer-resistant plants grow best in areas with full sun or partial shade. Pre-order these roots now and they will ship in October.

Re-blooming bearded Iris bulb mix
Re-blooming bearded Iris bulb mix — $39.00 to $130.00

A mix of Iris bulbs will bloom both in the spring and the fall. They’re easy-to-grow, deer-resistant, and prefer full sun and well-drained soil. These bulbs will ship in October.

Hidcote blue English lavender plantling, fall perennials
Hidcote blue English lavender plantling — $9.00

Hidcote Blue English Lavender loves to be planted in warm, fall soil to allow the roots to mature before facing hot summer weather. In warmer climates, it’ll survive all year.

Jumbo Shirley Temple peonie roots
Jumbo Shirley Temple peonie roots — $24.00 to $90.00

Shirley Temple peonies feature white double blooms with hints of pink that fade to ivory white as the season progresses. Buy these roots now and they’ll ship in October—just in time for planting.

Early sunrise coreopsis plantling, fall perennials
Early sunrise coreopsis plantling — $20.00 to $40.00

Early Sunrise Coreopsis are bright golden yellow flowers that thrive when planted in full sun.

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