Though it’s August, the weather has already turned unseasonably chilly once. It was a nice departure from the usual heat and humidity, but also an all-too-early reminder of what lies ahead. Cool or warm, there’s still plenty of summer to enjoy, and plenty of pretty, blooming flowers, too. Look for those color holes your finished summer flowers have left and add some fall bloomers to keep the gardens going strong.

Late-season blooming perennials

Rudbeckia or Black Eyed Susans

Yellow black-eyed Susan flowers

A staple of the perennial garden, these beauties bloom well into fall. Their deep golden color is the perfect fall accent and they’re frost tolerant, too. Goldsturm is the standard, and Little Goldstar is perfect for along a walkway or at the boarder of a perennial bed. This is also a cute little addition to fall container combos. Looking for something tall? Autumn Sun is here – yup, that one that is as tall as (or taller than) you!

Coneflowers

Yellow, pink and orange coneflowers

Check out the hot fall colors! Pow Wow Wildberry, Cheyenne Spirit, and Flamenco Orange add bright, hot color to the garden and containers. Leave the seed heads and the birds will thank you.

Sedum

These chunky, tough plants can handle the hot weather as well as the cooler temps. Another pollinator favorite, plant uprights and groundcovers in hot, dry areas and enjoy the show. Autumn Joy, Autumn Fire, and Autumn Charm (variegated leaves!) are some of our favorites, and we can’t wait to watch Rock-n-Grow Lemon Jade bloom – it’s our new upright yellow sedum, and it’s just starting to crack.

Mums

We’ve got every color – pink, purple, orange, burgundy, red, yellow, gold, white – but when they’re gone they’re gone (until next year, anyway).

Joe Pye Weed

Monarch butterfly feeding on Joe Pye Weed

Great for garden height and late-season pollinator food, this stunner is a perfect addition for the back of the garden.

Asters

These are just starting to bloom, so they’ll serve as pollinator food for weeks to come. Plus, they can handle the cold.

Chelone

Bright pink blooms and a bush-like habit make this stunning plant a must-have, and bumble bees love it, too!

Grasses

Grasses are in their prime in late summer and early fall. Their “blooms,” or seed heads are forming and for some grasses, the foliage begins to turn colors. Heavy Metal Switch and Shenandoah are turning shades of red and purple, and Karl Foerster and Prairie Dropseed are blooming their heads off.

Daylilies

Grab a repeat bloomer and enjoy the show all the way up until the snow flies.

Hydrangeas

Green and pink hydrangea flowers

The cooler temps intensify the color of panicle type hydrangeas (those that turn from white or chartreuse to pink or red) and since the bloom can be left for winter interest, they can certainly handle a little temperature dip in fall.

Frost-Tolerant Annuals

Annual chrysanthemums

These are a must-have for containers this time of year. They harden off as the temps continue to cool, and they have the ability to withstand slightly below freezing temps. Fall annuals come in all the best fall colors, and they won’t droop and drape after a chilly start to the day. Best options include kale, cabbage, mums, parsley, sage, chives, dusty miller, asters, and grasses. Bonus – you can use the herbs for Thanksgiving dinner!

Kale

Gardeners sure appreciate cooler temps that make working in the garden so much more pleasant, and they’re not the only ones. Newly planted plants love it, too. Heat on top of transplanting can really cause a lot of stress to plants and make them quite grumpy. With cooler temps the plants have a chance to settle in, take up water, and get growing in a nice, calm environment. A little rain goes a long way for newly planted plants, too.

Need another good reason to add some color? Monarchs returning to Mexico, and late-season bees need food to keep going strong this time of year. And though we may not want to think about it, we will experience frost sometime soon. These plants are great additions for late season color, pollinator food, and they can bounce back from the cold. Plant now for a colorful transition into fall!