Attractive plants for autumn colour

Discover some gorgeous plants to add an instant boost of colour to your garden in September.

The end of summer does not mean the end of bright colours in your garden. A variety of flowers, shrubs, and foliage plants will look amazing well into the cooler months.

Here we select a few garden favourites that will add new life and zest to your borders, beds, and containers. Some prefer full sun and sheltered conditions while others will do well in moist soil or a water garden. We also have a feature on ornamental grasses that add instant style to any garden here.

Penstemons

Penstemons are ideal for late season colour with fuzzy protruding flowerheads that have earned them the name beard-tongues. They will easily grow in any fertile and free-draining soil with minimal watering. Some cultivars such as ‘Heavenly Blue’ and ‘Raven’ are even frost-hardy.

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Dahlias

Dahlias display remarkable variety and flower well into autumn. The large brightly coloured blooms are easy to grow from tubers or plant out as whole plants later in the season. They will grow well in borders and containers but do require winter protection from frosts.

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Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums are clear autumn favourites at their peak of bloom from September to October. They make great cut flowers in a striking variety of colours.

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Stonecrop

Stonecrops include a number of succulent plants with fleshy leaves and thick stems. Smaller varieties provide ground cover and look amazing in rock gardens while taller ones grow well in containers and borders. The star-shaped flowers provide nectar to pollinators like bees and butterflies in the autumn months. Cultivars like Hylotelephium ‘Autumn Joy’ and ‘Matrona’ bloom from August to October.

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Helenium

Perfect for a hot border or container display, the fiery Helenium instantly catches the eye. Also known as sneezeweed, it is very hardy in European climates (down to -20°C) with brown eyes and golden flowerheads. Try varieties like Helenium autumnale ‘Fuego’ and Helenium ‘Waltraut’.

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Heuchera

Their fantastic foliage truly sets these garden must-haves apart with almost endless shades of lime, orange, purple, and red to choose from. Their height reacher 30 to 50 cm, making them the perfect evergreen (or semi-evergreen) for containers and the front of a border display. Try cultivars such as Heuchera ‘Blackbird’, ‘Purple Petticoats’, and 'Marmalade'.

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Eupatorium maculatum

A strikingly tall plant (up to 1.8m high), Eupatorium carries lovely mauve flowers on upright purple stems with dark foliage. It grows well in full sun and partial shade, attracting bees and butterflies for a wildlife friendly garden. Ideal for the back of a wide border.

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Lobelia x speciosa

Eye-catching lobelia x speciosa spikes look lovely planted in groups. They flower into autumn and prefer moist conditions such as those around a pond or water feature.

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Ceanothus

Attractive clouds of blue flowers earn this shrub, also known as Californian lilac, a space in the garden. For autumn blooms, choose cultivars like Ceanothus ‘Autumnal Blue’ or ‘Burkwoodii’. They perform best in a sheltered spot in full sun.

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Kniphofia

Commonly known as red-hot pokers, these architectural plants display dramatic orange and yellow flower spikes over a long flowering season. They are relatively easy to grow with late-blooming varieties such as Kniphofia rooperi ‘Maxima Globosa’ providing a punch of colour well into autumn.

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To incorporate any of these long-lasting seasonal colour ideas into your garden, contact our garden design team here.