Five Best Plants for Fall

In temperate climates, gardeners look for plants that transform from summer ornamentals to autumnal focal pieces. Gardeners in warm climates also look for autumn plants that fare well in cooler temperatures, even if foliage doesn’t change color. Whether you are a warm-weather gardener or a temperate gardener, here are five of the best plants for fall.

1) Rudbeckia

Rudbeckia plants are also known as black-eyed Susans and coneflowers. They are extremely hardy and drought-tolerant. With many varieties and cultivars available, gardeners are easily able to find Rudbeckia that flower from summer into early fall. The yellow leaves and dark centers complement changing autumnal foliage but can also add vibrancy to warm weather gardens as summer flowers fade.


Cyclamen is a perennial plant that thrives from hardiness zones 5-9. The hardy Cyclamen hederifolium emerges when the weather cools. The plants are propagated from tubers and produce glossy, green foliage and delicate flowers that range in color from purple to pink to white. They are low-lying and do well in winter shade gardens. In cooler climates, the plants die back in mid-autumn.

3) Beautyberry

American beautyberry, or Callicarpa americana, grows throughout the Southeastern United States. Asian varieties have greater cold tolerance and are often seen growing in areas with harsh winters. Regardless of variety or range, the beautyberry produces decorative purple berry-like clusters that add color throughout the winter months. The plants are attractive bushes that do well in most soils but prefer sunlight and space.

4) Oakleaf Hydrangea

Oakleaf hydrangea are hardy throughout zones 5-9. In cooler climates, the shrubs change color and are considered an excellent plant for a showy fall garden. Gardeners like the large, white pannicular flowers that serve as camouflage to building foundations or other landscape distractions. The shrubs are deciduous, low-maintenance and also provide winter interest.

5) Caryopteris

These blue-blooming flowers provide warm-climate gardens with a cool autumnal touch, while cold-weather gardeners might enjoy a vibrant escape from the typical orange and red tones of fall. Caryopteris thrives in hardiness zones 5-9 and are often grown in mixed borders and alongside other shrubs. Easy to care for, carypoteris yields berry-shaped buds that bloom into crown-shaped blue flowers. They are aromatic and bloom from the late summer into the autumn months.

Chrysanthemums, marigolds and winter pansies are lovely fall plants, but if you are looking to break away from the typical, then the five plants listed above will make your garden a stand-out. Many of the shrubs and flowers listed above do well in a range of soils and temperatures. Choose a variety adapted to your region and enjoy them before the winter frost comes around.

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