11 Fall Flowers That Will Bloom Beyond A Frost (with pictures)

strawflowers

There’s no need to let your flower garden dwindle as the season moves from summer to fall. A midsummer planting of cold-tolerant flowers will transition your garden from one season to the next. Most of the flowers on this list will continue blooming through the first fall frost.

For a bonus, let some of the fall flowers go seed in the garden, and you’ll be providing food and bushy habitat for birds and bugs alike during the cool fall days.

If the flowers on this list catch your eye, but you’re not sure how to plan for fall flowers, be sure to check out this article, Too Late To Plant Flowers? A Guide To Summer Planting, to get all the information.

Sunflowers

procut orange sunflower

Sunflowers can handle cooler weather than we give them credit for. As long as they grow during the still-warm end of the summer, they will bloom even as the days start to cool.

  • Days to maturity: 50-60 for single stem, 75-85 for branching
  • Direct sow in garden. You can also do multiple sowings a week or two apart for a longer blooming time.
  • Recommended varieties:
    • ProCut Orange: this single stem variety has the classic sunflower look. It will only produce one flower, but grows quickly.
    • Autumn Beauty: a branching variety that will produce many stems and blooms over two or more weeks.

Snapdragon

Snapdragons are a fun, spiky addition to the garden. It takes planning to get them in the garden in time to bloom in the fall, but once they get going, they will bloom through light frosts. To me, that makes them worth planning for.

  • Days to maturity: 100
  • Start indoors during the summer, preferably by June so they are blooming in September
  • Recommended varieties:
    • Chantilly Bronze: the Chantilly series will bloom best in cooler, shorter days. Bronze is a beautiful salmon color.
    • Chantilly Mix: get all the colors with a mix of pink, white, bronze, and purple.

Calendula

two yellow calendula flowers

Calendulas are a prime candidate for fall flowers. Cool temperatures and light frosts don’t slow them down, and they’re quick growers, so even a late planting in August or even September will yield blooms during the fall.

  • Days to maturity: 50-55
  • Direct sow in garden, or start seeds indoors four weeks before transplanting to garden.
  • Recommended varieties:
    • Snow Princess: these blooms start of yellow and fade to cream as they open. Very prolific plants become covered in blooms.
    • Pacific Beauty: a mix of orange and yellow blooms in single and double formations. Beautiful in the vase!

Strawflower

This multipurpose flower grows quickly in the summer heat, then continues blooming through the cooler days. If well enough established during summer, it will make it through light frosts. Try drying some by hanging them upside down in a cool, dark location for blooms that are “everlasting.”

  • Days to maturity: 75-85 days
  • Start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting into garden.
  • Recommended varieties:
    • Sultane Mix: a rainbow of red, yellow, pink, white, and orange. Tall stems are beautiful in the garden or cut for bouquets.
    • Copper Red: gorgeous copper petals and a yellow center just shout fall vibes

Black eyed Susan

Indian summer rudbeckia with gold petals and brown center

Also known as rudbeckia, these flowers are similar in color to sunflowers but with a completely different growing habit. Black eyed Susans are bushy, prolific plants that take the summer garden straight into fall. Birds love balancing on the old blooms to pick out seeds.

  • Days to maturity: 90-105
  • Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before transplanting into garden.
  • Recommended varieties:
    • Indian Summer: golden petals and a brown center show why rudbeckia is also known as black-eyed Susan.
    • Cherokee Sunset Mix: beautiful single and double blooms in shades of yellow, red, and orange

Flowering Kale

This is another flower that needs a long time to grow and establish before blooming, but so worth it for the frost hardiness. Flowering kale (also called ornamental cabbage) will plow right through frost and snow to produce little cabbage roses for winter color.

  • Days to maturity: 90-110
  • Start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting. Allow at least three months of growth in garden before first frost so plants get well established.
  • Recommended varieties:
    • Crane Pink: emerald green outer leaves and pink-purple centers make a pretty cabbage rose.
    • Crane White: creamy white centers are a great complement to Crane Pink.

Pansy

Pansies might make you think of short bedding plants, but some varieties have long enough stems to pick a posey during fall days. Plus, if well-established, pansies will soldier through the first light freezes of the fall season.

  • Days to maturity: 60-70
  • Start seeds indoors 7-8 weeks before transplanting in garden
  • Recommended varieties:
    • Brush Strokes: tall stems and splattered petals make beautiful flowers for cutting into a mason jar arrangement.
    • Historic Florist Mix: a typical short variety, these panies are charming vintage colors of lavender, rust, and purple that cheer up the fall garden.

Bachelor Buttons

  • Days to maturity: 65-75
  • Direct sow in garden, or start indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting out to garden.
  • Recommended varieties:
    • Classic Magic: lavender, plum, and purple blooms on delicate green foliage? Yes, please!
    • Florist Boy Blue: one of the few blue garden flowers, the blooms will stand out among your other blooms.

Dusty Miller

Soft, silvery-green dusty miller makes a great multipurpose plant. Left in the garden, it provides a wintery look. Cut for bouquets and it provides a soft background for other fall flowers.

  • Days to maturity: 55-90
  • Start indoors and plant out at least 60 days before first expected frost.
  • Recommended variety:
    • New Look has broad leaves that can be grown for the garden or for bouquet filler.

Marigold

A garden workhorse, marigolds will last through the summer straight into fall. You can start fresh plants midsummer and they’ll keep blooming until a hard freeze.

  • Days to maturity: 70-90
  • Direct sow in garden or start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting into garden.
  • Recommended varieties:
    • Giant Orange: round, puffy blooms are long lasting in the garden. Try cutting some for a cheerful orange arrangement.
    • Queen Sofia: a French marigold with scarlett petals tipped with golden yellow. The petals are edible, too!

Nigella

Nigella is a steady producer all summer and into the fall. The whispy foliage, pointy flowers, and round seed pods provide visual interest in all stages of growth.

  • Days to maturity: 70-90
  • Direct sow in garden or start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting into garden.
  • Recommended varieties:
    • Love In A Mist: the most common type, these nigella produce a mix of blue, pink, and chartreuse flowers.
    • Delft Blue: streaked lavender and purple petals with white tips give a moody feeling to this variety.

All photos are courtesy of Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an excellent source of seeds for the home gardener.

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