Plants That Bloom in Fall

By Marguerite

As I walk through my fall garden, I find several sturday fall bloomers.

First are the Salvias. The Mexican sage is a standout, as always! Another favorite is the Autumn sage. There are several varieties of this in red to pink shades. There are several with blue or purple blooms, too. Not shown: Salvia Clevelandii is a spring bloomer, but is showing a few of its scented blue flowers now and Salvia azurea is spreading nicely around my 'driveway bed'.

S. Leucantha (Mexican sage) S. Greggii (Autumn sage) unnamed blue
Photo of Salvia Leucantha Photo of Salvia Greggii Photo of blue salvia

The next standout is Helianthus. There are several varieties of this. The one I have was ordered from High Country Gardens (see resource menu). The blooms are starting to go to seed as of Oct. 1, but that brings the delightful gold finches to feast! There is a lovely speciman of this plant in the Library garden.

Helianthus maximiliana 'Lemon Yellow' (Maximillian's sunflower)
Photo of Helianthus

Some Penstemons bloom in fall. The one shown is a spring bloomer, but is reblooming for me now.

Photo of pink Penstemon

All of the following are also blooming: Caryopterus, Sedum 'Ruby Glow', Diascia, Lavender, Marguerites (both blue and pink), Chilopsis (see our tree list). The little 'border pinks' rebloom all summer as long as I keep them cut back before seeds form. The cosmos have reseeded here and there, forming great blasts of vivid color around the garden. And of course the sturdy knockout roses are still pushing out those lovely blooms even though I haven't deadheaded them since July! I have a couple of spreading yellow Calandrinia grandiflora tucked in at their base. Those bloom all spring through early summer, then rest a bit and are reblooming now. Our native Zauschenaria (California fuchsia) and showy white Datura (Jamestown weed) plants are blooming along the road banks again. I'll write more about all of these later as I get time.

Chilopsis (Desert willow) Caryopterus
Photo of Chilopsis bloom Photo of Caryopterus bloom


Two interesting small bulbs have already bloomed and gone to seed: Rhodolphiala bifida and Sternbergia lutea. I planted these as an experiment to see if they survived the winter in my Sherilton Valley garden. They do and I'll be increasing their number this year. Lycoris radiata is a fall bloomer, but so far I haven't proved its hardiness. The last batch I planted divided into tiny bulblets after blooming, and I'm still waiting to see if they can keep blooming regularly for me. Of course the 'naked ladies' (Amaryllis belladonna) have been blooming all around the community.

Finally, the 'Martha Washington' and ivy-leaved Pelargoniums are putting on a final show for the season. (See article and pictures in our blog archives at "The Descanso Garden".) It's about time to bring the containerized plants into the greenhouse for the winter, where they will get cut back and show a few intermittent blooms until spring, when they get fed and moved back outdoors.


Go to the top