Spring is when most flowering plants burst into bloom, with rising temperatures and ample rain shaking them out of winter dormancy and triggering a rapid growth spurt. But not all flowers bloom in the spring--some wait until autumn to show their flowery splendor, including these five hardy perennials.
Chrysanthemums, often just called "mums," are probably the most popular fall bloomers. A hardy perennial, mums have large, showy flowers in a wide range of colors, from rust to pink. Flower styles range from pom-poms to daisy-like. Mums typically begin to bloom in late summer, as soon as the weather cools, and as long as the spent flowers are cut back, new blooms can keep appearing until Christmas.
Dahlias are hardy tubers known for their bold, showy, in-your-face flowers. In temperate climates (USDA Zones 7 to 11) they grow year-round, but in most parts of the country they are planted in the spring and then cut back and dug out in the late fall, after their August through October blooming cycle. Dahlias can be as little as 12 inches in height with 2-inch blooms to massive 8-footers with flowers up to a foot in diameter. They are a favorite at garden shows and are frequently sold at florists.
Asters are known for their clusters of small, daisy-like flowers, in colors ranging from pink to deep purple and even blue. They are robust and easy to grow, as long as they get plenty of sun and moist, rich soil. They start bursting into bloom in late summer or early fall, particularly if their stems--which for some varieties can grow up to 3 feet in height--have been pinched or pruned back in June. For best results, divide asters in spring every two or three years.
These leaf succulents, found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, are fast-growing creepers with mounds of tiny flowers, generally yellow or golden. Their thick, water-holding leaves are able to weather drought and dry air and thus retain their green luster year-round. Sedum flowers start to appear in late summer and peak in mid-fall, often remaining colorful and vibrant into winter.
As its name implies, goldenrod is known for its plumes of tiny yellow-gold flowers, up to 2 feet in height. As with most fall bloomers, goldenrod thrives in full sun and likes rich, moist, well-drained soil. Buds start appearing in August and the plants are generally in full bloom by late September or early October. Like asters, goldenrod can be kept robust by dividing the plants in the spring every two or three years.