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Long-Blooming Fall Plant Combinations

By: Garden Gate staff
A long-blooming fall plant combo encourages you to enjoy the last stretch of the garden before winter. These plant combinations will give your beds and borders a look that lasts late into fall.

Pansy, kale, starflower, aster fall plant combination: Asters, starflowers, pansies & flowering kale make for a beautiful fall display.

Pack in the color with long-blooming fall plant combinations

When nights begin to cool, but days are still warm and sunny, you’ll notice fall colors emerging one by one. Then all at once a crescendo of fiery hues — red, gold and orange — light up the surroundings. When you’re designing your landscape or choosing plants during spring and summer, look for ones that also have vibrant fall color. Annual plants planted in the spring are usually still blooming come fall. Fertilizing every two weeks with a bloom-boosting formula, such as 15-30-15, will help plants like these starflowers do just that. In the fall, starflowers aren’t as cold-tolerant as the other plants used in this combo, so protect them with a sheet if the temperature is expected to go below freezing.

Add cool-season plants

When the season comes, search the garden center for cool-season plants, like the pansies and kale here, that are easy to pop into the border. They may or may not be hardy through the winter, so it’s best just to think of them as annuals. But there’s no harm in leaving them planted to see if they regrow the following spring. ‘Redbor’ kale is a great cool-season plant in the veggie garden or flower bed. Its purple-green curly leaves are a nice contrast to yellow pansies, and it’s edible — remove a few outer leaves to add to a tasty autumn soup. Plant this combo in a full sun to part shade location to keep the plants growing their best.

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Long late season blooming plant combination with letters: Add cool-season flowers to your garden borders.

Meet the plants

Check out the lettered photo above and find the corresponding plant information below.

A) Starflower (Pentas lanceolata Starcluster Red)
Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Red flowers from spring to frost Light Full sun Size 17 to 24 in. tall, 17 to 20 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

B) Aster (Aster ‘Wood’s Blue’ and ‘Wood’s Purple’)
Type Perennial Blooms Purple flowers in late summer and fall Light Full sun to part shade Size 12 to 18 in. tall and wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8

C) Flowering kale (Brassica oleracea ‘Redbor’)
Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Yellow flowers, purple-green foliage Light Full sun to part shade Size 12 to 24 in. tall, 15 to 18 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 7 to 11

D) Pansy (Viola Matrix Sunrise and Matrix Yellow Blotch)
Type Perennial Blooms Yellow and red flowers with a black blotch in spring and fall Light Full sun to part shade Size 4 to 8 in. tall, 8 to 10 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 6 to 9


coleus, fountain grass, zinnia plant combination: Add a warm glow to your fall garden with this low-maintenance plant combination!

Fall garden showoffs

Ready to try something other than mums for late-season color? It only takes three plants to get tons of vibrant fall color — this stunning mass of coleus picks up the rich red and purple hues of the fountain grass which intensify in cool weather, almost making it glow. Newer, smaller and densely branched zinnias, such as ‘Starlight Rose’, make a carefree low-growing edging all the way up to the first frost. They take the heat along a sidewalk or driveway and won’t need deadheading to look neat.

Tools You’ll Like in the Garden:
Garden Snip
Water Wand
Hand Weeder

coleus-fountain-grass-zinnia-combo-lettered

Meet the plants

Check out the lettered photo above and find the corresponding plant information below.

A) ‘Brilliancy’ coleus (Solenostemon hybrid)
Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Bright red leaves with gold-green scalloped edges; can pinch back light blue midsummer flowers for a tidier look Light Part sun to part shade Size 18 to 24 in. tall, 10 to 14 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

B) ‘Fireworks’ fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum)
Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Deep red to purple variegated foliage; purple blooms in summer Light Part to full sun Size 24 to 30 in. tall and wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 9 to 10

C) Zahara ‘Starlight Rose’ zinnia (Zinnia marylandica)
Type Annual Blooms Large white bicolor flowers with pink-streaked centers from late spring to frost Light Full sun Size 12 to 18 in. tall and wide

Published: Sept. 24, 2018
Updated: Sept. 25, 2020
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Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work in the garden. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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