Outside Plants for Fall & Winter

Fall and winter blooming plants create a commanding landscape presence in the garden. The temperatures drop during these seasons, so many plants go dormant except for the ever-vibrant and typically frost-tolerant fall and winter plants. These plants help to provide visual interest to an oftentimes colorless winter garden. To determine what plants are suitable for the landscape, make sure they grow within your local USDA hardiness zone. Follow the link in Resources to determine the zone for your area.


October skies aster (Aster oblongifolius 'October Skies') is a perennial flower that grows in USDA zones 4 to 8. As the name suggests, it produces sky blue daisy-like flowers in fall that cover the plant with color and texture. October skies aster grows up to 3 feet tall and has a spread of 1 to 3 feet. A low-growing perennial, October skies grows in a mound form that looks attractive along the flowerbed or border. Versatile, October skies aster is deer- and frost-tolerant and has a moderate growth rate. It grows best in full sun to part shade and well-drained soil that is nutrient-rich. October skies attract butterflies to the garden, an added bonus to the garden.


Stonecrop (Sedum 'Autumn Joy') is a fall-blooming succulent that blooms from August into November. Autumn joy has a clumping growth habit and is suitable in USDA zones 3 to 11. The deep pink flat-topped flowers mature to a copper color, adding another layer of fall color to the garden. Stonecrop grows up to 3 feet tall and has a spread of 1 to 3 feet. It can be shortened by tip pruning, or removing the top portion of the plant by 6 to 8 inches. The succulent stems and leaves on stonecrop are bright green to contrast with the bright blooms. Stonecrop grows best in full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil that is nutrient-rich.

Winter Daphne

Winter daphne (daphne odora 'Marginata') is a perennial shrub that is suitable in USDA zones 7 to 9. It grows up to 6 feet tall and 3 to 6 feet wide and blooms during winter. The fragrant pink flower buds on winter daphne open to a white flower that lights up a winter landscape with color. The variegated leaves on winter daphne are deep green and edged with a thin yellow stripe. Winter daphne is frost-tolerant to withstand the cool temperatures of winter with ease. Winter daphne grows best in full sun to part shade and acidic to alkaline soils that are fertile. Winter daphne requires excellent drainage and resents being transplanted.

Keywords: outdoor fall plants, outdoor winter plants, October skies aster, stonecrop, winter Daphne

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer, designer and photographer in North Carolina. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate your indoor and outdoor living environment. Her articles have appeared in Travels.com and GardenGuides.com and her photography has been featured in "Automotive News" magazine and Forbes.com.