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10 autumn flowers to brighten up your garden at the end of summer (and when to plant them)

Garden Inspiration | Posted on October 30, 2020 at 1:48 pm by

Autumn flowers can keep your garden looking bright and cheery as the darker evenings draw in and the leaves start to fall from the trees.

Here are ten of the best autumn flowers for some end-of-summer blooms, and the time of year you should plant them for the best results.

Asters

Asters are named for their distinctive star-like blooms with long individual petals. They can be propagated from softwood cuttings in spring, or by dividing mature clumps at the end of autumn or during winter.

Flowers can be expected from the summer months through to October, so asters are ideal if you want your summer garden to look pretty for as long as possible into the autumn.

Autumn Crocus

Plant autumn crocus bulbs in July or August for flowers in September and October, which should return year after year once the plants are established.

Autumn crocus are best placed under a tree, shrub or other shelter, to keep their delicate flowers looking beautiful after heavy autumn rain showers.

Begonias

Plant begonias for bright petals that should appear in the summer, but can last for as long as the nights remain frost-free, sometimes as late as November.

You can plant begonias out once the last frosts have passed, but in a cold spring they can also be started in the greenhouse for use in pots, planters and hanging baskets.

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums provide a burst of colour and include some surprisingly hardy varieties that can last well into the autumn months.

They can be propagated by taking softwood cuttings from a mature plant in spring, and should make it through the winter months if you protect them with mulch.

Cyclamen

Cyclamen do well under trees, in the shady and dry patches where other flowers refuse to grow.

You can plant cyclamen bulbs during the autumn months, even as late as September, and depending on the variety you can expect flowers anytime from late summer through to winter and early spring.

Dahlias

Dahlias can be planted out once the last frosts have passed, but you can start them in the greenhouse if you want and only put them into the ground in late May.

They’re a slightly earlier blooming autumn flower, and should be out in August and September, which covers the period when many other garden favourites are on the decline.

Gladioli

Gladioli (singular: Gladiolus) can be planted from spring – about a fortnight before the last frosty day – right through to the early weeks of summer.

By planting a few at weekly or fortnightly intervals, they should grow and flower at different times, potentially giving you a display from August through to October.

Hesperantha

Hesperantha deserves more of a place in UK gardens, with the potential to bloom from late summer through to Christmas if there are no frosty nights in between.

Established hesperantha can be divided and replanted in mid-spring every 2-3 years. Alternatively, collect the seeds in early winter and plant them once spring arrives.

Snowdrops

With its dainty white petals, the snowdrop is a cheery companion in the winter months, and may appear from January through to March.

Newly bought snowdrop bulbs can be planted in autumn, or the bunches sold in pots in winter can be planted directly and should return each year after that.

Winter Aconites

Finally, one more winter friend. Aconites produce a buttercup-like bloom in late winter and can carry your garden through February and March as spring bulbs start to appear.

Like snowdrops, they can be bought ‘in the green’ in spring, or planted as newly bought tubers during the autumn months.