As the season makes its vibrant shift from the long hot days of summer to the cooler days of fall and daylight diminishes, our gardens can appear dull. Many gardeners mistake this transition for the end of the colorful growing season, but this is not the case. There is plenty of life left in fall gardens, and you can revive your lackluster flower beds with a whole host of lively fall bloomers and keep your garden bursting with showy blooms right up to the edge of winter.
Our list of Fall flowers to plant for pollinators creates a marvelous floral display that pleases the eye and offers benefits for pollinators. Pollinators such as bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies need to get as much nourishment as possible in order to either gather and tuck away a winter food supply or make the journey south for the long winter. Check out our robust list of fall flowers to plant for pollinators that will warm and brighten up your fall landscape while also nourishing the pollinators that are integral in maintaining our crops and blooms.
Fall Blooming Flowers
There are so many lovely fall blooming flowers to choose from, it can be hard to narrow down the best. To help, we’ve listed some of our favorite and especially showy annual and perennial fall blooming flowers.
On your list of fall flowers to plant for pollinators a must-have in any fall-flowering garden are chrysanthemums. This fall favorite is readily available at the end of summer and can be purchased as an annual at this time for colder zones. For hardier fall mums, consider planting them in Spring and cutting them back around the fourth of July for the best chance at having a well-rooted mum that will come back year after year and fill the fall garden with color. Mums are great grown in pots as annuals or set in the ground and require consistent watering and pruning to give bloom times more longevity. These quintessential fall bloomers have blooms that draw in bees.
Dahlias are stunning fall blooming flowers. Plant a wide array of dahlia bulbs in the Spring for midsummer and fall showstopping blooms that attract pollinators galore. From tiny flowers to dinner plate-sized varieties in endless color varieties, dahlias put on quite the display in the summer and fall garden. Grow dahlias to invite bees and butterflies to the garden. You will need to dig the bulbs up and store for the following Spring in colder regions.
Plant pansies at the close of summer and enjoy purple-faced blooms throughout the fall and early winter. They will bloom continuously until the first hard frost of winter and then poke through the soil again in early Spring.
Line the rear of the garden beds with towering sunflowers to add cheer to the summer and fall garden. Butterflies, bees, and birds will be equally pleased to visit frequently for nourishment. These fall blooming flowers add height and beauty to any garden.
Nectar-laden zinnias are fabulous for pollinators and will attract a plentiful supply of bees from mid-summer through the end of fall. With many zinnia varieties to choose from, these brilliant blooms invite Japanese Beetles, ladybugs, bees, wasps, and hummingbirds. Plant seeds directly in the garden bed or start in pots and transplant into containers or in the ground.
Fall Flowers to Plant for Pollinators
With summer fading, add brilliance to your garden beds that will bloom year after year and attract beneficial pollinators to the garden through the fall.
A favorite fall flower to plant is aster. Asters have vibrant color and add texture in the fall pollinator garden. These perennial favorites come in a wide array of species and produce white, purple, blue, and even pink flowers. Plants adjust well to dry conditions and thrive well in full sun to partial shade. Bees and butterflies flock to aster flowers.
Bee balm can be found in tall and short varieties of magentas and purples and sometimes produce incredible double flowers. They enjoy full sun and tend to spread to fill perennial gardens continuously blooming from early summer through the fall. When bee balm is present, gardeners will undoubtedly be pleased to see an endless rotation of hummingbirds and bees engorging on nectar and pollen.
Add the balloon flower’s intrigue to your list when planning your fall garden and enjoy splashes of blue, white, and pink that burst open from balloon-like pods. Balloon flowers do best in partial shade and attract bees and butterflies.
No perennial garden is complete without the bright yellow blooms of Rudbeckia/Black-eyed Susan plants. Not only do they produce spectacular splashes of dominant yellow hues, but they are well sought after by birds and bees alike.
Gaillardia flowers are unscented beauties that produce sunset-colored flowers into the fall, preferring the colder months. Also known as blanket flower, these perennial beauties lure tons of pollinators to the garden from butterflies to bees and even provide shelter for beetles. These low maintenance plants require very little water and care and have extended bloom times.
Grow featherlike plumes of color in the garden. Celosia grows well in containers and garden beds, inviting bees and attracting butterflies to the fall garden.
The traditional coneflower is a lively perennial that creates a vivid display of large purple and orange blooms and attracts butterflies and bees to the garden.
Accent your fall garden with the tall colorful spikes of the liatris plant. This late summer bloomer adds striking texture and purples and pinks to the fall garden bed. Pollinators like bees and butterflies will seek out the vibrant flowering spikes.
Dry areas with clay soil might have success with Gomphrena in late summer and throughout the fall, attracting bees, butterflies, and moths to the garden bed.
The fall often brings traditional oranges, reds, and yellows, and Japanese Anemones bring a lovely touch of pink on silvery stems to the fall landscape. These vigorous showstoppers draw in bees and butterflies and thrive well in areas with partial sun.
Add the showy succulent plant of sedum to your fall garden beds, and you are sure to be pleased. This deer-resistant showstopper grows in the summer but blooms in the fall into a display that bursts with color. Commonly known for its pinks, reds, and rust-colored blooms, sedum is drought resistant, requires very little care, and invites bees and butterflies to its blossoms.
Annual Fall Flowers for Pollinators
There are lots of annuals that work all summer and into the fall months to produce lovely fragrant blooms and bring pollinators to the garden right up until winter’s first frost. Check out some of our favorite fall annual flowers for pollinators.
Amaranthus boasts showy blooming tassels of color each fall season. They are excellent cutting flowers and grow in full sun or partial shade. These vibrant flowers attract birds, butterflies, moths, and bees.
Enjoy extended bloom times of blue star-shape that are adored by bees. Borage is an excellent companion plant for many gardens and repels insects that can plague vegetable garden favorites.
Create a bed of cosmos and enjoy a continuous rotation of blooms that show off in the garden deep into fall. The bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies seek out their red, white, and pink flowers. Directly sow seeds into the garden and plant in full sun.
Sow calendula seeds directly into the garden and enjoy the cheerful blooms from summer through fall. Bees and butterflies will become repeat visitors to their nectar-filled flowers.
Sow marigold seeds directly or start in pots and transplant into garden borders or in containers. Marigolds offer a diverse range of yellows, golds, oranges, and reds and come in different heights. Marigolds make great companion plants and repel garden predators and attract bees.
Often overlooked and misunderstood, the Mexican sunflower plant will fill up bare space in the garden where summer blooms have faded and will produce a bush full of beautiful orange flowers. Pollinators flock to this firework display of blooms because this sunflower variety is loved by bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds the vibrant orange blooms will last until frost.