Often times when we head to the nursery in the spring we are drawn to plants that are already blooming. We want instant gratification in our garden! However these five native Texas fall flowers are definitely worth the wait!
A key of great garden design is incorporating plants that bloom throughout the year. These fall blooms will start to shine while other perennials are fading by the end of summer.
Here in San Antonio where I live, we don’t get the typical beauty of fall with colorful fall leaves, and we’re lucky if we get cooler weather. However, we can bring in the bold colors of autumn in our garden with these fall-blooming perennials:
These five native Texas fall flowers not only look good, they DO good in your garden beds! They serve as host plants for butterflies and moths and provide a critical nectar source for Monarch butterflies which migrate through the state at this time of year. In fact, several of these native species are considered keystone species – some of the best pollinator plants around!
5 Texas Fall Flowers to Grow
Skip the most popular fall flowers like expensive mums, ornamental cabbage, and wax begonias at garden centers and plant these instead. Each of these are easy to grow as long as they have well-draining soil. They are not picky about soil type.
Many of these plants will continue blooming until our first hard frost. At that point they will go dormant for the winter.
1) Shrubby Boneset (Ageratina havanensis)
Also known as White Mistflower, this plant is a pollinator magnet when in bloom from late summer to late fall. Its clusters of white flowers will attract all sorts of cool butterflies, moths, and bees.
Shrubby Boneset is a great native shrub because it can handle full sun to part shade and can grow in the ground or in a pot with well-drained soil. I have had success growing it in both!
It has attractive green foliage even when not in bloom during the spring and summer. Pair this plant with Gregg’s Mistflower, another pollinator magnet that blooms spring to fall.
2) Frostweed (Verbesina virginica)
Frostweed is under-appreciated and can be hard to find at the nursery. Seek out a nursery that specializes in Texas native plants. This shade-loving plant is covered in clusters of white flowers starting in August through November.
Despite including the name “weed” in its name, it is one of the best fall flowers for your garden! Monarchs rely on this plant for nectar during their early fall migration south to Mexico. Frostweed can also be grown in container gardens in a shady area.
Be sure to check these out the morning after the first frost. You may see their stems open to reveal ice ribbons!
3) Fall Aster (Symphyotrichum species)
These gorgeous flowers add a major WOW factor when in bloom. There won’t be an inch of the plant not covered in small purple flowers. The bloom period is short-lived, but worth it!
I have Fall Aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium) in my Central Texas garden. There are numerous aster species native to different parts of the United States. Find an aster species native to your local area.
Incorporate Fall Aster among your spring and summer blooming perennials in the garden bed. It is a nice low-growing shrub with great curb appeal when in bloom!
Fall Asters are excellent pollinator plants and are considered a keystone species. Our native bees and butterflies rely on them.
4) Goldenrod (Solidago species)
Goldenrod not only brings a gorgeous burst of bright yellow to your garden, it brings ALL the pollinators during the fall season. Like Asters, Goldenrod is considered a keystone species due to all the pollinators it supports. Find a Goldenrod species native to your local area.
Goldenrod is the perfect choice to pair with Fall Aster. In fact, in nature you’ll often see these two complementary species growing together.
You can replicate that look in an area of your garden where you don’t mind it spreading and want to create a more natural-looking garden.
Some species of Goldenrod can spread aggressively, so plant it an area where you want it to spread. It can also fall over if the stalks get too tall. Pruning it back by half in early summer will give you the best results by preventing overly tall plants.
5) Maximilian Sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani)
Another showstopper fall flower for your garden! Maximilian Sunflower can get BIG! To keep it in check, don’t give it much supplemental water. Sunflowers are yet another keystone species! Maximilian Sunflower is native to the midwestern United States.
Check out this massive Maximillian Sunflower in Kathleen’s New Braunfels garden. Talk about a statement plant!
Unlike other sunflower species, Maximilian Sunflower only blooms in the fall months. These add a bright pop of yellow to your garden in the fall. These are a great choice for a wildflower bed or at the back of your flower garden.
Make a Texas Fall Flower Bouquet
Part of the fun of having a flower garden is bringing some of the gorgeous blooms inside to enjoy! You can make a beautiful fall arrangement with these flowers.
Here is a bouquet I made last fall using a variety of fall flowering plants:
- Fall Aster
- Common Sunflower
- Gregg’s Mistflower
- Inland Sea Oats
- Blackfoot Daisies
- Zinnia (non-native)
Other Great Texas Native Plants for Fall
These Texas native plants are also at their best in the fall, however their standout features are something other than blooms.
From bright red chilies to magenta purple berries, they offer various shades of color to your fall garden. Clockwise from top left are:
- Chile Pequin – spicy red chiles that birds love (and people can eat too!)
- Gulf Muhly – ornamental grass with puffy pinkish purple seed heads
- American Beautyberry – bright magenta berries eaten by Mockingbirds
- Inland Sea Oats – shade-loving grass with chevron seed heads
What Flowers to Plant in the Fall in Texas?
Did you know fall is a great time to plant native perennials in Texas? Once we have consistent cooler temperatures (and hopefully some rain) starting in mid to late September through November is a great time to add new plants to an existing bed.
Planting in the fall allows perennials to get a head start developing their root system over the winter so they will be more hardy and established by the time summer comes around.
Want to transition part of your lawn to a new flower bed? Fall is the best time to do that too! Check out my cardboard and mulch method that works like a charm!
Welcome to Native Backyards! I’m Haeley from San Antonio, Texas, and I want to help you grow more native plants.
I have seen firsthand how the right plants can bring your yard to life with butterflies, bees, and birds. I’ve transformed my yard with Texas natives and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned with you.
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