Rudbekia, a daisy like flower in golds and orange

Best Plants For Autumn Colour

Autumn is a glorious season for a blaze of colour and evocative fragrance. Here is my choice of best plants for autumn colour that you can include in your own garden.

Whether you have a large or small garden there is something here that will grow easily and reward you with hues and tones that you can relate to autumn, they will entice you out into your outdoor space to enjoy them.

Autumn is a time of abundance, trees glow in their autumnal copper, bronze, red, pink and golds.

Berries shiny and glistening are in all shades of brilliant reds, purples and black. There is a glut of them for the birds and other wildlife to enjoy.

Delicious scents of wood fires, toffee apples assail the senses and evoke memories from childhood.

Fields of ripe corn, barley and wheat are harvested while the sun is still warm. The days become shorter and there is a chill first thing in the morning but the sky is still blue and the sun is not so fierce, a more benign warmth.

And what of our gardens?

What can we plant that will let colour, form and fragrance continue into the winter. We need plants and trees that will prolong the growing season, to give our outdoor space interest and warmth over the next few months.


Best Plants For Autumn Colour – What Can You Grow For Autumn?

There is no end of choice of stunning plants that will give a blaze of colour and interest to your garden in autumn.

Trees especially will provide autumnal tones and will look spectacular with the low sun shining on them.

Lots of perennial plants grow and flower in autumn, there is no shortage of plants and bulbs for our gardens at this time of year. Bedding plants are widely available too for planting in borders and for giving pots and containers some autumn pizzazz.

Pep up your patio with my ideas for autumn plants containers.


Best Plants For Autumn Colour – Trees and Shrubs


My favourite trees are Japanese Maples, Acer palmatum have a huge variety of pretty trees and are renowned for their beautiful autumn colour.

Even a small patio garden or balcony can accommodate one or two as they grow perfectly well in containers.

In larger gardens the beech trees can find a home and give enormous pleasure throughout the year and are showy and colourful in autumn.

Amelanchia also provide wonderful interest all year round as do Gingko Biloba with their delicate, fluttery leaves that turn a soft buttery yellow in autumn.

Best Plants ForAutumn Colour Red and pink autumnal foliage on acers
Best Plants for Autumn Colour


Skimmia is a good choice as they also give all round interest and form, with dark, glossy leaves and clusters of tiny white, pink or red flowers. They are a valuable source of late season nectar for our pollinators.

Pyracantha provide food for birds with their abundant berries at this time of year. Trained against a wall or fence they look spectacular with their red, orange or yellow berries.

Euonymus alatus (spindle berry) is another firm favourite, their berries are pink and are really very pretty. The leaves turn to pink, apricot, peach and then deeper to red.

I also love Nandinas, these small shrubs are quite unassuming little characters but definitely come into their own in autumn with showy, fiery colours of reds and orange.

I like too, the Rhus Typhina (stag’s horn) again these offer much needed autumn interest.

Callicarpa bodinieri giraldii ‘Profusion’ is an more unusual shrub, it bears tiny vivid, shiny purple berries amongst deep red foliage through early autumn.

Purple berries of the Calicarpa
Callicarpa. Trees and Shrubs for Autumn Colour

Autumn Perennial Plants and Bulbs


I love the tiny wild cyclamen that pop up all over my garden in autumn, their small pale pink or lilac flowers dot the beds and border and appear under shrubs and trees, they are so pretty

I also grow Jersey lily and nerines, their bright pink blooms are born on tall stems and will stay looking good for several weeks in September and October. They are easy to grow and will come back each year. They provide low maintenance, yearly interest.

My other favourites are Gladioli murelae, these have tall stems with sword shape leaves producing several cream and maroon blooms on one stem.

Nerves, pink flowering autumn bulbs
Nerine. Autumn Bulbs

Perennial Plants

Asters spread easily so will soon fill an area over a few years. In the borders I have a mix of asters in shades of pale mauve to deep blues and purple, white and pink.

Bees and other pollinators love them. Bees and butterfly plants are vital for these important pollinators.

Dahlia is a fantastic choice for autumn colour, with their huge array of flower forms, height and colours, there surely are several dahlias for any given colour scheme.

Heuchera are evergreen and reflect the autumn tree colour in a wide variety of bronze, red, purple leaf colour.

Japanese anemone is a staple of the autumn perennial border too, my favourite being anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’.  A tall, upright, white variety which really lights up a corner of the garden.



Autumn Bulbs

  • Amaryllis belladonna (Jersey lily)
  • Cyclamen
  • Autumn Crocus cancellatus
  • Colchicum
  • Gladioli Murelae
  • Nerine
  • Crinum
  • Amaryllis

Autumn Perennial Plants

  • Asters
  • Dahlia
  • Japanese anemone
  • Heuchera
  • Sedum
  • Succulents
Dahlia. Plants for Autumn Colour
Best Plants for Autumn Colour

Climbing Plants For Autumn Colour

Clematis Freckles is an evergreen prolific Clematis with dainty cream flowers with brown/maroon speckles. In mild years it will flower as early as October or November and continue flowering well into winter even with snow and ice. I have had them flowering right up to early spring.

Boston or Virginia Creeper will easily clamber over house walls or unsightly outbuildings. They are the perfect cover up plant, in autumn their leaves turn the most vivid crimson.

Eye catching Ampelopsis megalophylla, (Peppervine) has large green leaves which turn bright red, pink and orange in autumn. It flowers in summer and this is followed by rose pink berries that ripen to black, a good contrast with its autumn colour. It is hardy and fairly vigorous.



There is absolutely no reason why a garden would not have an abundance of autumn colour. Choose some or all of my favourite and recommended plants to give your outdoor space some autumn foliage and interest.

Now is the time for planting spring flowering bulbs to ensure that colour continues through each season.

I hope I have given you some inspiration and ideas as to what you can grow in autumn. Gardens never stop and there is something for every garden style or design to keep your outdoor space looking vibrant and inviting for all the year.

In the still warm days ahead I also love to have a picnic in my own garden or in parks and public gardens. For our well-being it good to be outdoors

For further inspiration why not visit one or more of the RHS gardens or shows which will be ablaze with seasonal planting schemes.

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Any comments are most welcome, I always reply as soon as I can.

Happy Gardening

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