20 Fall Wildflowers You'll Love

As summer bows out, fall wildflowers take center stage in brilliant colors like purple, yellow and orange. Black-eyed Susans, coneflowers and other autumn flowers are the stars of gardens, roadsides and meadows.

Even when summer blooms disappear, the flower show isn’t over. Fall wildflowers take their place, popping up on roadsides and in forests, fields and gardens. If you're not already growing them, planting wildflower seeds in fall will pay off in beautiful blooms next year. For best results, plant native autumn wildflowers or a wildflower seed mix blended for your region. Browse our gallery of fall wildflowers to find your favorites, and visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin for more inspiration about planting wildflowers in fall.

You may need to cold stratify or cold-moist stratify your seeds before planting wildflowers in fall. This helps seeds germinate and increases the rate of germination by mimicking the cold or cold-moist conditions they'd experience in nature. To cold-stratify, collect and air-dry the seeds, seal them in a plastic bag or container and refrigerate them for planting outside after the last spring frost. The length of storage time in the fridge depends on what you're growing, so check your seed packet, read our tips or do a little research.

To cold-moist stratify, put the seeds in damp paper towels or some moistened peat, vermiculite or sand in a sealed plastic bag or container. Refrigerate them for the recommended length of time and plant them outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. Periodically check your fall wildflower seeds for excess moisture.

Black-Eyed Susan

A field of black-eyed Susans and purple flowers

Black-Eyed Susan

From summer into fall, Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) open their golden-yellow, daisy-like blooms studded with dark eyes. Native to eastern North America, these wildflowers are naturalized in Zones 3 to 9. Most grow 1 to 3 feet tall, but you can find dwarf varieties that have been developed for growing in containers. Pollinators love Black-eyed Susans, and they’re great as cut flowers. Give them fertile soil, regular water and full sun (they’ll take partial sun, but won’t flower as freely). To avoid fungal diseases, don't let the leaves get wet. After the first year, Black-eyed Susan will drop seeds, and the easiest way to grow them is to cover them with 1/8 inch of soil. They'll overwinter and sprout in the spring. Most behave like short-lived perennials, but the ones you see on roadsides and in the wild are usually biennials.

Photo by: Steven Schwartzman/Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Steven Schwartzman/Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

From summer to fall, black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) bear golden-yellow daisy-like blooms studded with dark eyes. Native to eastern North America, most of these wildflowers grow 1 to 3 feet tall, but some varieties have been bred for growing in containers. Give them fertile soil, regular water and full sun (they’ll take partial sun, but won’t flower as much). Black-eyed Susans will drop seeds, and the easiest way to grow them is to cover them with 1/8-inch of soil. They'll overwinter and sprout in the spring. Ashleigh Smith, managing editor at True Leaf Market, an organic seed and horticultural company, says these short-lived perennials are often grown as annuals in USDA Gardening Zones 3 to 7.
Learn More: How to Grow and Care for black-eyed Susan

Blanket Flower

blanket flower

Indian Blanket (Blanket Flower)

Blanket flower (Gaillardia spp.) is another one of the daisy-like fall wildflowers. Easy to grow, the plants reach two to three feet tall and slowly form mounds that blanket the ground in rich orange, yellow, maroon and other shades of red. They aren't choosey about pH, prefer full sun and actually need poor soil on the slightly acidic side, as long as it drains well. They bloom from summer to fall and re-seed nicely, although new plants may look a little different from the parent plants if you're growing hybrids. Deadhead or cut them often for vases to encourage repeat blooms. Sow the seeds in late summer and give young plants some winter protection; they'll take a year to flower. These short-lived perennials, hardy in zones 3 to 10, usually live for 2 or 3 years.

Photo by: Lynn Coulter

Lynn Coulter

Blanket flower (Gaillardia) is another daisy-like fall wildflower. Easy to grow, the plants reach 2 to 3 feet tall and slowly form mounds that blanket the ground in shades of orange, yellow and red. They aren't choosy about pH, prefer full sun and actually need poor soil on the slightly acidic side, as long as it drains well. They bloom from summer to fall and re-seed nicely, although new plants may look a little different from the parents if you grow hybrids. Deadhead or cut them often to encourage more blooms. Sow the seeds in late summer and give young plants some winter protection. These short-lived perennials, hardy in Zones 3 to 10, take a year to bloom when grown from seeds and usually live for two or three years.
Learn More: How to Grow Blanket Flower

Cardinal Flower

A stand of cardinal flowers beside a stream filled with rocks

Cardinal Flower

Thanks to its brilliant scarlet blooms, Lobelia cardinalis stands out where it grows wild around woodlands, marshes and streams. Watch for these fall wildflowers to appear from late spring into September or October. The showy plants attract hummingbirds and butterflies as they grow 1 to 6 feet tall and produce spikes of tubular lowers. Cardinal flowers need humus-rich, moist to wet soil and sun to partial shade or shade; they can't tolerate drought. Collect the seeds when the capsules start to open and cold-moist stratify them for two months. Cardinal flowers are short-lived perennials in Zones 3 to 9. Although they die after blooming, they form offsets that keep growing.

Photo by: Alan Cressler/Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Alan Cressler/Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Thanks to its brilliant scarlet blooms, Lobelia cardinalis stands out near woodlands, marshes and streams. Watch for these fall wildflowers to appear from late spring into September or October. The showy plants attract hummingbirds and butterflies as they can grow to 6 feet tall and send up flower spikes. Cardinal flowers need humus-rich, moist-to-wet soil and sun to partial shade or shade; they can't tolerate drought. Collect the seeds when the capsules start to open and cold-moist stratify them for two months. Cardinal flowers are short-lived perennials in Zones 3 to 9. Although they die after blooming, they form offsets that can keep growing. Learn More: How to Grow Cardinal Flower

Coneflower

A mass of pinkish coneflower with a goldenfinch sitting on one plant.

Coneflower

Echinaceas are lovely perennials that bear long-lasting flowers and raised centers from summer into fall. Purple coneflower (E. purpurea) has pinkish-purple blooms and needs average, well-drained soil with sun to part shade. Butterflies flock to these fall wildflowers--unfortunately, hungry deer like them, too--and birds will nibble on the seeds if you let some flowers dry on the plants. Sow the seeds outdoors after the last frost, says Ashleigh Smith, managing Editor at True Leaf Market, a non-GMO seed company. Keep the seedlings moist until they're two or three inches tall. "Many varieties bloom until the first frost." Some coneflowers benefit from being cold stratified for eight to twelve weeks, but it's not necessary. You can find native coneflowers in purple or yellow (and rarely white) or hybridized coneflowers in white, multi-colors, yellow, pink, orange, green and red. They're hardy in USDA Gardening Zones 3 to 9.

Photo by: American Meadows

American Meadows

Echinacea purpurea, or purple coneflower, is a lovely perennial with long-lasting pinkish-purple flowers and raised, purple-brown centers. The plants bloom into September and need average, well-drained soil in sun to part shade. Butterflies flock to them and birds will eat the seeds if you let some flowers dry on the plants. Sow the seeds outdoors after the last frost. More may germinate if they're first cold-stratified for eight to 12 weeks, but some experts say that's not necessary. Native coneflowers can be purple, yellow or pink-purple, while hybridized coneflowers come in white, pink, yellow, orange, green and red. They're hardy in Zones 3 to 9.
Learn More: How to Grow Coneflower

Cosmos

Cosmos growing in an open field

Cosmos

Cosmos are easy to grow from seed and flower from early summer until frost. They can be annuals or perennials, but most gardeners grow the annual types, C. sulphureus, which are yellow, red or orange, or C. bipinnatus, which are white or shades of pink. Depending on the species, they top out at one to seven feet tall. Give these popular fall wildflowers full sun and moderate water but very little compost or fertilizer, which produces weak stems with few flowers. They don't need much water, either, once they're established and can tolerate some drought. Direct sow the seeds outdoors after your last spring frost or let them self-sow in the fall for flowers the following year.

Photo by: Hadley Mueller/American Meadows

Hadley Mueller/American Meadows

Cosmos are easy to grow from seed and bloom from early summer until frost. They can be annuals or perennials, but most gardeners grow the annual types, C. sulphureus, which are yellow, red or orange, or C. bipinnatus, which can be white or shades of pink. Depending on the species, cosmos plants top out at 1 to 7 feet tall. Give these undemanding fall wildflowers full sun and moderate water but not much compost or fertilizer, which produces weak stems with few flowers. They don't need much water, either, once they're established. Direct sow the seeds outdoors after your last spring frost or let them self-sow in the fall for flowers the following year.
Learn More: How to Grow Cosmos Flowers

Gentian

 A close-up of gentian flowers

Gentian

Gentiana saponaria L., shown here, adds blue-violet to the garden, a color that's often hard to find in nature. Other gentian species have blue, lilac-blue, white, cream or purple flowers. Also called harvestbells or soapwort gentian, G. saponaria is a perennial in zones 5 to 9. It grows to 2 feet tall with clusters of bottle-shaped flowers that stay partially closed when they appear from August into November. This fall wildflower likes partial shade and fertile, loamy soil or sandy soil with good drainage. Once they're established, the plants need only moderate watering. They're slow and difficult to grow from seeds, but you can direct-sow the seeds in early spring, even if there's still a chance of a light frost.

Photo by: Alan Cressler/Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Alan Cressler/Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

This Gentiana saponaria adds blue to the garden, a color that's often hard to find in nature. Other gentians flower in shades of violet, blue, white, yellow, red or purple. Also called harvestbells or soapwort gentian, G. saponaria is a perennial in Zones 5 to 9, while other species are hardy in Zones 3 to 7. Gentians can grow 1 to 3 feet tall with clusters of tubular flowers that don't fully open when they appear from late summer until about November. If you're planting wildflowers in fall, give gentians cool, partial shade (morning sun and afternoon shade are best) and easily draining, loamy soil. Once established, they need only moderate watering. They're slow and difficult to grow from seeds, so for best results, plant starts from nurseries that sell native plants.

Goldenrod

A goldenrod plant in bloom

Goldenrod

Poor Goldenrod (Solidago spp.). These yellow fall wildflowers have a bad rep. Allergy sufferers blame them for making them sneeze and cough, but ragweed, which flowers at about the same time, is thought to be the real culprit. Like most wildflowers, goldenrod is easy to grow from seed and can be planted in spring or fall in a sunny spot with average soil that drains well. It doesn't need fertilizer. Once the plants mature, water them only during periods of drought. Most species are hardy in zones 2 to 8. They vary in size and in how aggressively they spread.

Photo by: Wynn Anderson/Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Wynn Anderson/Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Poor goldenrod (Solidago spp.). These yellow fall wildflowers have a bad rep. Allergy sufferers blame them for making them sneeze, but ragweed, which flowers around the same time, may be the real culprit. Like most wildflowers, goldenrod is easy to grow from seed and can be planted in spring or fall in a sunny spot that has average, well-draining soil. It doesn't need fertilizer. Once the plants mature, water them only during periods of drought. Most species are hardy in Zones 2 to 8; they vary in size and in how aggressively they spread.

Jewelweed

A single stem of blooming jewelweed

Jewelweed

Call it jewelweed, spotted touch-me-not, orange balsam or its Latin name, Impatiens capensis. This striking fall wildflower is an annual that blooms from late summer until frost. It thrives in part shade to full shade in humus-rich, moist or boggy soils; in the wild, you'll find it near streams, marshes and lakes. By mid-summer, jewelweed reaches two to five feet tall with blue-green leaves that almost sparkle—like jewels--when they catch drops of rain or dew. The blooms are bright orange or orange-yellow. If you prefer yellow fall wildflowers, look for a less common species, I. pallida, which has reddish spots. The plant's touch-me-not nickname comes from its coiled seed capsules, which burst open and eject the ripened seeds when they’re touched. If you’re planting wildflower seeds in the fall, catch them in a bag and immediately plant them ¼ inch deep or cold-stratify them and plant after the spring frost.

Photo by: Stephanie Brundage/Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Stephanie Brundage/Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Call it jewelweed, spotted touch-me-not, orange balsam or its Latin name, Impatiens capensis. These fall-blooming wildflowers are annuals that bloom from late summer until frost. They thrive in part to full shade in humus-rich, moist or boggy soils; in the wild, you'll find them near streams, marshes and lakes. By mid-summer, jewelweed reaches two to five feet tall and its blue-green leaves almost sparkle — like jewels — when they catch drops of rain or dew. If you prefer yellow fall wildflowers, look for a less common species, I. pallida, which has reddish spots. The plant's touch-me-not nickname comes from its coiled seed capsules, which eject the ripened seeds when they’re touched. When you’re planting wildflower seeds in the fall, catch them in a bag and immediately plant them 1/4-inch deep or cold-stratify them for two to three months for planting after the last spring frost.

Joe Pye Weed

A close-up of clusters of Joe Pye Weed blooms

Joe Pye Weed

At five to seven feet tall, Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum) forms clumps of fragrant fall wildflowers. The tiny, tube-shaped flowers open from summer into early fall in pinkish-purple or mauve. Some species have white, dark purple, light purple or pink flowers. Hardy in Zones 4-9, these plants need full to partial sun and relatively rich, moist soil that drains easily. Always keep them well-watered. Sow the seeds outdoors in the fall, so they'll get several months of the cold, moist conditions they need to germinate in spring, or cold-moist stratify the seeds in the refrigerator. Then start them indoors eight weeks before the last expected spring frost or sow them outdoors after the last frost.

Photo by: Ball Horticultural Company

Ball Horticultural Company

At 5 to 7 feet tall, Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum) forms clumps of fragrant fall wildflowers. The tiny, tube-shaped flowers open from summer into early fall in pinkish-purple or mauve; some species have white, dark purple, light purple or pink flowers. Hardy in Zones 4 to 9, the plants need full to partial sun and relatively rich, moist soil that drains easily. Always keep them well-watered. Sow the seeds outdoors in the fall or cold-stratify the seeds for 30 days. Sow them indoors eight weeks before the last expected spring frost or outdoors after the last frost. Pictured here: Euphoria 'Ruby'.
Learn More: How to Grow Joe Pye Weed

Liatris

Liatris 'Kobold' flowers growing in front of blanket flowers.

Liatris

Also known as Gayfeather or Blazing Star, Liatris spicata is a perennial with showy white, purple or rosy-purple flower spikes. The plants, which are hardy in Zones 3 to 9, can top out at six feet tall and flower into late fall. Give them well-draining, average soil and full sun and they'll attract butterflies, birds and bees. Scarify the seeds (that is, nick them lightly with a knife) and direct sow them in the fall. If you'd rather plant in the spring, cold-moist stratify them for four to six weeks and start them indoors six to eight weeks before the last expected frost. Liatris seeds can take up to a month to germinate and two or more years to bloom, so plant nursery starts or corms for faster results. Liatris plants don't need much care, although you may need to stake tall species. 'Kobold' is shown here.

Photo by: Ball Horticultural Company

Ball Horticultural Company

Also known as Gayfeather or Blazing Star, Liatris spicata is a perennial with showy white, purple or rosy-purple flower spikes. The plants, which are hardy in Zones 3 to 9, can top out at 6 feet tall and flower into late fall. Give them well-draining, average soil and full sun, and they'll attract butterflies, birds and bees. Scarify the seeds (that is, nick them lightly with a knife) and direct-sow them in the fall. If you'd rather plant in the spring, cold-stratify the seeds for six to eight weeks and start them indoors six to eight weeks for planting after the last spring frost. They can take four weeks or more to germinate and two or more years to bloom, so plant nursery starts or corms for faster results. 'Kobold' is shown here.

Milkweed

 A close-up of milkweed blooms

Milkweed

Common milkweed (Asclepiadaceae syriaca L.) is another one of the fall wildflowers formerly used to treat various illnesses (again, never use a plant for medicinal purposes without consulting with a health professional). This tall perennial bears clusters of small, rosy-purple to pink flowers that Monarch butterflies and some 450 insects love to visit. It can look weedy as it grows 5 or 6 feet tall, so be careful where you put it; it spreads easily from rhizomes or seeds. Give milkweed full sun, plenty of space and moderately acidic, well-draining soil. Water until the plants are established. Like goldenrod, milkweed is one of the fall wildflowers blamed for causing allergies, and it can cause rashes in people allergic to latex. Don't get the sap in your eyes and wash your hands after touching milkweed. Plant the seeds outside in late fall or cold-stratify them for three to six weeks before planting them outside when the soil warms up in spring.

Photo by: Mary Walters/Walters Gardens

Mary Walters/Walters Gardens

Common milkweed (Asclepiadaceae syriaca) is another of the fall wildflowers once used to treat various illnesses (again, never use a plant for medicinal purposes without first consulting a health professional). This tall perennial bears clusters of small, rosy-purple to pink flowers that butterflies and some 450 insects love to visit. It can look weedy as it grows 5 or 6 feet tall, so be careful where you put it; it spreads easily from rhizomes and seeds. Give milkweed full sun, plenty of space and moderately acidic, well-draining soil. Water until the plants are established. Like goldenrod, milkweed is one of the fall wildflowers blamed for allergies, and it can cause rashes in people allergic to latex. Don't get the sap in your eyes, and wash your hands after touching milkweed. Plant the seeds outside in late fall or cold-stratify them for three to six weeks before planting them outside when the soil warms up in spring. This milkweed is Asclepias incarnata 'Cinderella.'
Learn More: Growing Milkweed

New England Aster

 A close-up of New England asters

New England Aster

While you can buy a pink variety of Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, in nature New England asters are fall wildflowers with showy, rose-purple blooms with orange-yellow eyes. Flower colors can also vary to pinkish-purple, lavender, blue or white. These perennials, which are hardy in Zones 3 to 8, grow to 6 feet tall and flower from August into November. They thrive in part shade with moist, acidic soil and provide nectar for bees, Monarchs and other butterflies. Sow the seeds outside in the fall or cold-moist stratify them for a month. Plant them outdoors after all danger of frost has passed.

Photo by: W.D. and Dolphia Bransford/Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

W.D. and Dolphia Bransford/Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

While you can buy a pink variety of New England asters, in nature these fall wildflowers (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) bear showy, rose-purple blooms with orange-yellow eyes. Some New England asters have lavender, blue or white flowers. These perennials grow to 6 feet tall and bloom from August to November. They thrive in part shade and moist, acidic soil and provide nectar for bees, Monarchs and other butterflies. Sow the seeds outside in the fall or cold-moist stratify them for a month for planting outdoors after all danger of frost has passed.

Phlox

White and purple phlox growing in a meadow

Phlox

There are about 68 species of phlox. Phlox paniculata, also called garden or fall phlox, is a perennial wildflower that grows two to four feet tall with clusters of purple, pink, or occasionally white flowers. The blooms appear from mid-summer into September or October. Give these plants full sun, although most are native to woodlands and can take filtered sun or a little shade. They prefer moist, well-draining, organically rich soil that is slightly acidic. You can find phlox cultivars in almost every color; some are annuals and some are perennials and they vary in hardiness from Zone 3 to 9 or Zone 4 to 9.

Photo by: Hadley Mueller/American Meadows

Hadley Mueller/American Meadows

There are over 60 phlox species. Phlox paniculata, also called garden or fall phlox, is a perennial wildflower that grows 2 to 4 feet tall with clusters of purple, pink or occasionally white flowers. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8, it blooms from midsummer into September or October. Give the plants full sun, although most are native to woodlands and can take filtered sun or light shade. They prefer moist, well-draining, organically rich soil. Phlox cultivars come in many colors; some are annuals and some are perennials. They vary in hardiness from Zone 3 to 9 or Zone 4 to 9.
Learn More: Growing Garden Phlox

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's lace

Wild Carrot (Daucus carota)

Known most often by the name Queen Anne’s lace, wild carrot forms a deep taproot and is actually a wild ancestor of carrots grown in garden today. Lacy blossoms appear on two-year-old plants. Use care allowing queen anne’s lace to grow in your yard. If plants set seed, you could be in for an invasion.

Photo by: Image courtesy of Preen

Image courtesy of Preen

Often seen in fields and roadside ditches, Daucus carota, Queen Anne's Lace, is also known as wild carrot. This biennial can grow to 4 feet tall, flowers in its second year and then dies. Its hundreds of tiny, white flowers are held in flattened clusters with dark centers. When its seeds ripen, the flowers curl inward in the shape of a bird's nest, which makes them easy to collect. Queen Anne's Lace is considered invasive in some areas, so check with your local extension service before you plant. It adapts to most well-draining soils and takes sun to partial shade, needing little care beyond watering during times of drought. Some people eat the long, carrot-like taproots, but this isn't recommended. The plants resemble poison hemlock (Conium maculatum), which is deadly to people, livestock and pets, even in small amounts.

Sneezeweed

A close-up of sneezeweed flowers

Sneezeweed

Yet another daisy-like, fall wildflower, sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) attracts bees and butterflies to its yellow blooms, which open from late summer into fall. In the garden, give this perennial, which is hardy in Zones 3 to 9, average to rich soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7 that stays moist and drains well. Don't let the plants dry out. They take full sun and can be staked or cut back in early summer if they get too tall (they can reach 5 feet or more). The dried, crushed leaves and flowers were once used to make a snuff that caused sneezing, believed to help expel evil spirits or relieve stuffy noses. All parts of the flowers are poisonous to people, pets and livestock if ingested and they can cause skin rashes. Plant the seeds in spring after the last frost or in the garden under a 6-inch layer of mulch after the first fall frost. After the last spring frost, remove the mulch. Sneezeweed varieties are available with gold, red, copper brown and orange blooms.

Photo by: April Moore/Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

April Moore/Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Another of the daisy-like, fall wildflowers, sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) attracts bees and butterflies to its yellow blooms, which open from late summer into fall. Give this perennial, which is hardy in Zones 3 to 9, average to rich soil that stays moist and drains well. Sneezeweed thrives in full sun and can be staked or cut back in early summer if it gets too tall (it can reach 5 feet or more). The dried, crushed leaves and flowers were once used to make a snuff that caused sneezing, believed to expel evil spirits or clear stuffy noses. But all parts of the plants are poisonous to people, pets and livestock if ingested and can cause skin rashes. Plant the seeds in spring after the last frost or in the garden under a 6-inch layer of mulch after the first fall frost. After all danger of frost has passed, remove the mulch. Sneezeweed varieties are available with gold, red, copper brown and orange blooms.

Stokes Aster

Photo by: Cassidy Garcia Photography

Cassidy Garcia Photography

Plant Stokesia laevis, Stokes' Aster, for rosettes of pretty lavender to bluish flowers that open from late spring into September. These perennials grow to 1 to 2 feet tall and will only re-bloom if you remove the flowers before they form seeds. Look for these autumn wildflowers in white, purple and blue and give them sun to part shade and moist, rich, well-drained soil. They prefer soils enriched with compost or organic matter. Although they're heat tolerant, they need medium to high amounts of water and can't take drought. Hardy in Zones 5 to 9, they're great in borders or as groundcovers. Studies have shown that Stokes' Aster seeds don't seem to need cold-stratification. Sow them outdoors after the last spring frost or indoors four to six weeks before the last frost.

Sunflower

A close-up of sunflower blooms on tall stalks

Sunflower

Helianthus annuus, or the common sunflower, is grown for its seeds, which can be eaten or made into cooking oil. It's also an attractive ornamental plant that carries lots of flowerheads on its many branches. (Domestic sunflowers usually have just one bloom per stem.) These heat-tolerant beauties are great for cutting. Some varieties can top out around 16 feet tall, while others have been bred short enough for small containers. As their name suggests, sunflowers love sun. They also need loosened, well-draining soil that's slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. Give them plenty of organic matter, compost, or a slow-release granular fertilizer. If you grow tall sunflowers, plant them in a sheltered spot, such as along a fence, to help deflect strong winds. Ashleigh Smith, of True Leaf Market, recommends sowing sunflower seeds after the last frost in a prepared area since they dislike transplanting. Perennial sunflowers bloom in Zones 3 to 10 from August until frost, she adds, and look best in the back of beds.

Photo by: Lee Page/Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Lee Page/Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Helianthus annuus, the common sunflower, is grown for its seeds, which can be eaten or made into cooking oil. It's also an attractive ornamental that carries lots of flowerheads on its many branches; domestic sunflowers usually have one bloom per stem. These heat-tolerant beauties are great for cutting. Some top out around 16 feet tall, while others have been bred short enough for containers. As their name suggests, sunflowers love sun. They also need loose, well-draining soil that's slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. Give them plenty of organic matter, compost or a slow-release granular fertilizer. Smith recommends sowing the seeds after the last frost in a prepared garden spot, since they dislike transplanting. Perennial sunflowers bloom in Zones 3 to 10 from August until frost, she adds, and look best in the back of beds.
Learn More: How to Grow Sunflowers

Tickseed Sunflower

Close-up of tickesee sunflowers, or Bidens aristosa blooms

Tickseed Sunflowers

Also known as Bearded beggarticks, tickseed sunflowers (Bidens aristosa) carpet fields and meadows from mid to late summer into October. These fall wildflowers have yellow, daisy-like blooms and prickly seeds, commonly called beggar's ticks, that often stick to your clothing when you walk by. Tickseed sunflowers grow best in full sun and moist, easily-draining soil but will tolerate partial shade and wet soil. Let these annuals drop their seeds and naturalize in your landscape or plant the tiny seeds in spring. Like coreopsis, they're in the aster family.

Photo by: Lynn Coulter

Lynn Coulter

Also known as swamp marigolds and bearded beggarticks, tickseed sunflowers (Bidens aristosa) carpet fields and meadows from mid to late summer into October. These fall wildflowers are related to coreopsis and have yellow to orange daisy-like blooms. Their prickly seeds, called beggar's ticks, tend to stick to animal fur or your clothes and shoes when you walk by. Tickseed sunflowers grow best in full sun and nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. They'll tolerate partial shade but won't flower as freely. In Zones 8 to 11, the plants will drop their ripened seeds and naturalize. In cooler regions, treat them like annuals and replant after the last spring frost. There are native varieties of Bidens with red, orange, white, yellow and pink flowers suitable for various hardiness zones.

Turtlehead

A close-up of turtlehead blooms

Turtlehead

Chelone spp. are nicknamed for their flowers, which look like turtle's heads and open from late summer to fall. This densely clumping perennial, which is hardy in Zones 3 to 9, grows slowly and prefers organically rich, consistently moist soil and full sun. It will tolerate partial sun. Depending on the species, hybrid or cultivar, turtlehead flowers can be purple, white, deep rose-pink to almost red and most of the plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall. Start turtleheads from nursery plants or seeds, indoors or outdoors, in the spring. Some turtlehead species need stratification in order to germinate, so follow the directions on your seed packet.

Photo by: Alan Cressler/Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Alan Cressler/Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Chelone spp. are nicknamed for their flowers, which look like turtle's heads and open from late summer to fall. This densely clumping perennial, which is hardy in Zones 3 to 9, grows slowly and needs organically rich, consistently moist soil and filtered sun to partial sun. Depending on the species, hybrid, or cultivar, turtlehead flowers can be purple, white, deep rose-pink or almost red. Most grow 2 to 3 feet tall. Start turtleheads from nursery plants or seeds, indoors or outdoors, in the spring. Some turtlehead seeds need stratification, so follow the directions on your seed packet.

Yarrow

close up of yarrow flowes and foliage

Yarrow

Some people use yarrow for medicinal purposes but do not do this without first consulting with a healthcare professional. Achillea millefolium, or common yarrow, is a perennial herb in Zones 3 to 10. It blooms in June and reblooms into September or October if it's cut back, says Ashleigh Smith of True Leaf Market. Common yarrow has flat or domed-shaped clusters of tiny, white flowers, while cultivated varieties have yellow-gold, pink, or red flowers. Give yarrow full sun and well-drained, loamy soil; it will grow in clay soil that's not overly wet. Most yarrows reach 2 to 4 feet tall. A. millefolium is aggressive, so know which one you're buying before you plant. Direct sow the seeds outdoors after the last spring frost, Smith says, and cover them very lightly; light helps them germinate. You can also cold-stratify the seeds for a month and start them indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last spring frost.

Photo by: Ball Horticultural Company

Ball Horticultural Company

Some people use yarrow for medicinal purposes but do not do this without first consulting a healthcare professional. Achillea millefolium, common yarrow, is a perennial herb in Zones 3 to 10. It blooms in June and reblooms into September or October if it's cut back, says Smith. Common yarrow has flat or domed-shaped clusters of tiny, white flowers, while cultivated varieties have yellow-gold, pink or red flowers. Give yarrow full sun and well-drained, loamy soil; it will grow in clay soil that's not too wet. Most yarrows reach 2 to 4 feet tall. A. millefolium is aggressive, so know what you're buying before you plant. Direct sow the seeds outdoors after the last spring frost, Smith says, and cover them very lightly, as light helps them germinate. You can also start the seeds indoors eight to 10 weeks before the last spring frost. This yarrow is 'Milly Rock Yellow.'
Learn More: Growing Yarrow

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