Fall Color

Asters (Asteraceae)
Perennial. Asters come in a variety of colors and heights, and can provide a late-season source of pollen for bees and other pollinators. Plant in full sun. USDA All Zones.


Perennial. Varieties can be daisy-like, pompons, spoons, singles, decorative, anemones and standard. Flowers range in colors from white, off-white, yellow, gold, bronze, red, burgundy, pink, lavender and purple. Plant in full sun. USDA Zones 3-9 , hardiness varies with cultivar.

Pansies (Viola tricolor)
Annual. Pansies come in a wide range of colors and are a perfect flower for the winter landscape. This plant is durable and winter-hardy. Plant in full sun or partial shade. USDA Zones 4-8.

Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
Herbaceous Perennial. Woody multi-stemmed plant 3 to 4 foot tall with silver-grayish leaves. Small tubular flowers bloom on tall spires in blue or lavender. Drought tolerant. Plant in full sun, it likes heat! USDA All Zones.

Heavenly Bamboo (Nadina domestica)
Evergreen or semi-deciduous shrub. Leaves turn fiery crimson in the winter and has shiny red berries. Plant in sun or shade, but leaves color better in the sun. USDA Zones 4-10.

Witch Hazel (Corylopsis)
Deciduous shrub. For winter flowers, the Witch Hazel shrubs like those at the entrance to Lithia Park, put on a glorious display in Jan/Feb. Slow growing 8 to 20 feet tall, and as wide. Fragrant flowers bloom on bare branches. Flowers in yellow, bronze, orange, red-orange, copper-red or red. Plant in full sun or part shade, protect from wind. USDA Zones 4-8.

Burning Bush (Euonymus Alatus)
Deciduous shrub. Slow growing to 15 feet tall, and as wide; it can be pruned to be maintained as a shrub. Dwarf varieties grow 6 to 8 ft. Inconspicuous flowers in the spring. Leaves turn a brilliant flaming red in the fall. Plant in full sun. USDA Zone 4-9

Japanese Barberry(Berberis thunbergii)
Deciduous shrub. Grows 4-6 feet tall with equal spread if not sheared. Flowers appear in May. Fruits are red oblong berries persisting on the plant into winter. Leaves turn attractive shades of red and orange in the fall. Plant in full sun. USDA Zones 4-8

Note: Japanese Barberry has been labeled an invasive species on the East Coast.
Please read the following for possible alternatives for Japanese Barberry:

Hypericum Mystical Orange (Hypericum inodorum)
Deciduous shrub. Grows multi-stemmed upright spreading branches. Height 3 feet. Produces bright yellow flowers early spring to mid-summer. Forms striking orange berries which last through the fall. The berries have become a mainstay in floral arrangements. Plant in full sun. USDA Zones 5-9.

Other Mystical series: Mystical Beauty™/ pink berries, Mystical Red Star™/red berries, Mystical Black™ / black berries.

Flowering Kale (Brassica oleracea)
Annual, cool season. Attractive ruffled foliage in variations of green & white, pinks, purples, and reds. Height 18 inches. Grows well in pots, group with other winter-hardy flowers. Plant in full sun or partial shade. USDA All zones.

Annual. Calendulas are a very prolific, easily grown flower. Also known as “Pot Marigolds”. They can provide blooms late in the fall and early winter.

Snapdragon are also an easy to grow annual, and while most varieties are early summer bloomers, they often bloom again in cooler fall weather and provide blooms into winter.

Hardy Cyclamen
Perennial. A showy small autumn flowering hardy type of Cyclamen
USDA zones 5-7.

Helleborus (Christmas Rose) is also winter bloomers. USDA zones 4-9.
Both Hardy Cyclamen and Helleborus prefer a shady spot in the garden.

Berried bushes make a splash of color when planted in pots and one that comes to mind is the Beautyberry (Callicarpa), although be aware it will out grow its pot quickly. Plant in full sun or partial sun. USDA zones 6-10.

There are more, but this should get you thinking about fall color and winter flowers!

Gena Goddard
Mary Ann Wallace
Horticulture Committee

For more winter flower suggestions read AGC Article, “Mid-Winter Madness” :