Yes, there are perennials that flower in autumn in Western New York

Japanese anemone 'Queen Charlotte' in Eden New York
This Japanese anemone is ‘Queen Charlotte’. Margaret Raupp has several varieties of Japanese anemone in her Eden landscape, and this is her favorite. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
blue caryopteris and pinkcelosia in garden in Eden New York
The caryopteris ‘Bluebeard’ in back has fabulous color, and paired with the annual celosia ‘Ruby Parfait’ in front, the view is especially dramatic. Annuals, such as celosia, can add visual interest to your autumn garden until the weather gets too cold. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

“Who doesn’t have Japanese anemones?” Margaret Raupp asked as we toured the flower gardens at her home in Eden.

Me. I don’t have Japanese anemones, and I bet many of you don’t have then either. Why? Because we don’t visit gardens when they are blooming.

That’s why I asked Raupp, who shares her landscape on Open Gardens, to show me some of the flowers that bloom in September. I visited her about 10 days ago, on Sept. 9.

Japanese anemones spread easily and can take over, Raupp cautioned. She weeds out the extra plants.

“Most years I pull out handfuls, fistfuls,” she said.

Japanese anemones prefer full sun, but they can take some shade. The area where she has several varieties has gotten shadier over the years, but her plants are still doing well.

A colorful but less dependable plant is a shrub called caryopteris ‘Blue Beard’.

“It dies every couple years,” Raupp said. “It’s not especially hardy. But I keep putting it back in because it has such fabulous color.”

hydrangea 'Everlasting Revolution' in Eden New York
Perennials, such as this hydrangea ‘Everlasting Revolution’, can be planted in containers. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

She enjoys the blue-purple flowers of ‘Blue Beard’, especially when grouped with celosia ‘Ruby Parfait’. The celosia is an annual, and many of the annuals in her gardens are still going strong.

The celosia comes back from seeds every year.

“I’ve had no luck starting them in the house,” Raupp said. “I just collect the seed heads and throw them around.”

Under a pergola, Raupp showed me a potted hydrangea called ‘Everlasting Revolution’.

“It’s been blooming since June,” she said.

In winter, she usually puts her potted hydrangeas inside her barn. Last year, it was so cold that it damaged some of the plants, so she plans to put them in her garage this year.

plumbago beginning to flower in Eden New York
This plumbago begins to flower in September and, later on, the leaves turn red. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

During the summer, you might overlook plumbago, a groundcover, but it draws your attention when it begins to bloom in autumn. Not only that, the foliage turns red in the fall, she said.

Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) is more robust in the sun, but it’s doing okay in the slightly shady spot where Raupp has it.

Perhaps the best thing about plumbago is that it’s drought tolerant. “I haven’t watered it all summer, and it’s in a dry spot,” she said.

rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eilers' in garden in Eden New York
The shape of the petal-like structures on the flower of rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Henry Eilers’ makes it interesting. and the large size of the perennial adds drama to the garden. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

The last plant we’re highlighting for autumn is rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Henry Eilers’. Raupp likes it for its height–it’s four feet tall. It also grows four feet wide.

“You need a big space,” she said.

It starts blooming at the end of July and keeps on flowering until frost. The flower looks similar to the flower of a black-eyed Susan, but the rays (petal-like parts) are rolled instead of being flat, which makes them even more interesting.

And more qualities: ‘Henry Eilers’ tolerates deer, drought and clay soil, according to Missouri Botanical Garden.


What flowering perennials and shrubs do you look forward to in autumn? Please leave a comment below.

11 Comments on “Yes, there are perennials that flower in autumn in Western New York

  1. What about my colchicum. They are enough to stop all dog walkers coming down my street . They are in bloom now and seem to need no care

  2. Badding Brothers and Mischlers sell Hardy perennial mums which look great now near the perennial grasses, many of which have interesting seed plumes and fronds. I have several kinds of anenomes, two tall pink and a white, as well as a shorter darker pink. Deer like them so I put deer net over their tops when they begin to set their buds. Gaillardia Blanket Flowers are still going strong, as are Turtleheads. This year I planted annual snapdragons, angelonia and zinnias among my perennials and am enjoying longer color. I also have fennel (for the swallowtail butterflies…I watched two caterplillars this summer), and the fennel seed heads are quite tall and bright! Sedum and Butterfly Bushes are still blooming, as well as a hydrangea that is turning red now. I discovered that Dusty Miller, although sold as annuals, will overwinter and come back!

  3. Japanese anemones are all everyone is saying about them! A beautiful burst of color when everything is starting to slow down but invasive. It’s close to fall equinox and I still have hummingbirds and monarchs visiting my garden so I appreciate the late bloomers that are still here to entice them: cardinal flower ( red lobelia ), re- blooming lilac, cannas, various sunflowers, and the ubiquitous butterfly bush.

  4. I love all the fall blooming plants including Begonia grandis, a hardy begonia which displays polka dotted foliage with red-backed leaves and stems. Dangling, arching flowers in pink and white are followed by pouches of tiny seeds. I scatter the seeds around and the seedlings even come up through mulch.
    Another favorite of mine is the fall blooming crocus. The pinkish-purple petals look hand-painted mixing a delicate blend of colors. They last in a vase for at least a week.
    Fall is also the time when ferns really shine. Although they do not produce flowers, they fill my garden with interest. My favorite is the forked Japanese Painted fern with very delicate fronds of purples and greens and white. The forked fronds are so special in a vase with verbena bonariensis, a reseeding see-through plant with purple flowers. And lastly, my perennial sunflower, a native to the east, Helianthus ‘Capenoch Star’, with bright yellow cheerful faces.

  5. People are hesitant to add native aster and goldenrod to their gardens but they are wonder fall bloomers. Both prefer full sun but can tolerate some shade. Blue stemmed goldenrod is well behaved and prefers some shade. Fireworks goldenrod is striking, Field goldenrod is quite invasive so unless you have the room stay away from that. Both New England and NY asters are very showy in sun. White wood aster does well in shade. Fall is colorful in nature and can be in your garden as well.

  6. I have an an heirloom – Kiss Me Over The Garden Gate. It self seeds, seeds have to be frozen throughout the winter to germinate. Plants grow to 6 foot w/multiple branches of pink flowers. It is easy in spring to weed out surplus plants. It is graceful and starts blooming in Sept and continues into October. The bees and late butterflies seek them out. Had a monarch there today

  7. twp other late bloomers that should be mentioned are monkshood with deep blue flowers (aconitum -mine haven’t even started to loom yet) and New York ironweed with bright purple flowers (Vernonia) which is very tall and should be pruned back in early summer to keep them a little shorter.

  8. Out here near Emery Park, my Obedient plants are spectacular all in blooms of light lavenderish-pinkish. Sorry I can’t furnish a photo. Also have anemones…they are sweet to see. The black-eyed Susans are very showy, as well. Love my gardens. Weeding is difficult at 83, however. Judy

  9. Never knew the name of the flower I have in my garden until seeing the picture. Now I know it’s a Japanese anemone. Love it.
    Hibiscus are blooming now and all my potted plants are still “showing-off” beautifully, as well as the Black-Eyed Susans.

  10. Margaret is right about the anemones. Mine did nothing for four years. Now I’m pulling them to try to keep them under control. Glad to hear I’m not alone.

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