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Fall-Blooming Flowers, That Aren’t Mums!

Let’s take a look at a variety of fall-blooming flowers for your garden, pots, and containers. Many of these flowers, mostly annuals, will bloom into winter depending on your grow zone.

At the risk of offending many, I just don’t have much use for the ubiquitous fall mums. They do come in some gorgeous colors, but they don’t last very long and then you are left with this green/brown dome that eventually makes its way to the landfill! Sure, you can save them, prune them back, plant them, and have them for next year…but I just have never felt they were really worth the effort…TBH.

To that end, I’ve been researching other fall-blooming flowers that grow well in cooler temperatures. Because we are all over the place, I’ve included the grow zones and how well these plants do with frost.

Violas or Pansies?

You’ll notice that both Violas and Pansies are on the list of great fall-blooming flowers. But these plants are so similar, so what’s the difference?

Violas and Pansies


  • Flower Size: Pansies are the show-offs with larger, flashier flowers.
  • Petal Arrangement: Generally, they have two slightly overlapping upper petals, two side petals, and a single bottom petal  Many varieties have a “face,” a darker center or blotch.
  • Leaf Shape: They’ve got broad, somewhat rounded leaves.
  • Color Range: While both have a variety of colors, pansies offer a broader spectrum including more complex patterns and blotches.
  • Weather Tolerance: They’re a bit more sensitive to heat compared to violas.
  • Plant Size: Generally larger than violas.
  • Bloom Time: They’ll start a bit earlier in the spring and a bit later into the fall.


  • Flower Size: Violas have smaller, but more abundant, flowers.
  • Petal Arrangement: These guys typically have two petals up and three down. No “face” like pansies usually do.
  • Leaf Shape: The leaves are more heart-shaped.
  • Color Range: More limited than pansies, but still offers a good variety.
  • Weather Tolerance: Violas are the tough cookies here; they can handle colder temps better.
  • Plant Size: Generally more compact, perfect for tighter spaces.
  • Bloom Time: They keep going even in winter in some zones.

Fall-Blooming Flowers (Annuals)


  • Zone: 6-10
  • Frost Tolerance: High
  • Tips: Well-drained soil and full sun are their BFFs. They can handle a light frost and snow like a champ.
  • Bloom Time: Fall to late spring, depending on your climate. In milder areas, they can even bloom all winter.
Pansies are a fall-blooming flower.


  • Frost Tolerance: High. These plants are often hardy down to USDA zones 3 or 4, depending on the variety. They can usually take a frost and keep on ticking.
  • Zone: 3-9
  • Tips: Full sun to partial shade, and well-drained soil. Whether you’re going for a ground cover type or one of the taller varieties for your flower beds, sedums are a solid choice.
  • Bloom Time: Late summer into fall. They’re the show-stoppers when other plants are winding down.


  • Frost Tolerance: Moderate
  • Zone: 7-10
  • Tips: These guys love full sun and moist soil. They can take a light frost, too. They come in gorgeous colors that work well in the fall, like Salmon and Red.
  • Bloom Time: Spring through fall. Some can bloom all winter in mild climates.


  • Zone: 2-11
  • Frost Tolerance: Low
  • Tips: Sun and well-drained soil are their jam. These beauties prefer cool weather.
  • Bloom Time: Spring through fall. Deadhead to keep those blooms coming!

Ornamental Cabbage and Kale

  • Zone: 2-11
  • Frost Tolerance: High
  • Tips: Keep them in full sun, and they actually like a bit of frost. There are some lovely color and leaf combinations to choose from.
Ornamental Kale is a fall-blooming flower.


  • Zone: 6-11
  • Frost Tolerance: High
  • Tips: Violas like well-drained soil and partial shade to full sun. These sweet little flowers can withstand a hard frost and snow.
  • Bloom Time: Fall to late spring. Like pansies, they can be winter bloomers in more temperate climates.

Dusty Miller

  • Zone: 8-10
  • Frost Tolerance: Moderate
  • Tips: Full sun and dry soil, my friend. They can handle light frosts.
Dusty Miller is a fall-blooming flower.


  • Zone: 6-10
  • Frost Tolerance: High
  • Tips: These little carnation-like flowers prefer full sun and neutral soil. They’re cool with frost.
  • Bloom Time: Check for varieties that will bloom a second time in the fall.
Dianthus is a fall-blooming flower.

Sweet Alyssum

  • Zone: 4-11
  • Frost Tolerance: Low
  • Tips: Full sun, baby! But they’re not big on frost, so be careful.
  • Bloom Time: Spring through fall, and in milder climates, they can keep going through the winter.
Sweet Alyssum is a fall-blooming flower.


  • Zone: 3-9
  • Frost Tolerance: Moderate to High
  • Tips: This fall-blooming flower is a perennial that stops blooming in summer’s heat, but picks back up in the cooler fall and winter.


  • Zones: 4-6
  • Frost Tolerance: Moderate to high.
  • Tips: Full sun to partial shade. Check the height, some varieties only grow to 18″ while some can go 5′!
  • Bloom Time: Late summer to late fall, providing a burst of color when a lot of other plants are starting to fade.

Cornflower (Bachelor’s Button)

  • Zone: 2-11
  • Frost Tolerance: Moderate
  • Tips: They can handle a light frost and are generally hardy in USDA zones 2-11. They’re not as “bring it on!” as Candytuft, but they’re not wilting at the first sign of frost either. Like full sun and well-drained soil.
  • Bloom Time: Late spring to fall. Deadhead spent blooms to prolong the show.
Batchelor Buttons

Fall-Blooming Flowers in a Container or in the Ground

Good for Containers

  • Pansies: Love containers. Give ’em some well-draining soil, and they’re golden.
  • Snapdragons: These can work well in containers, especially the dwarf varieties.
  • Calendula: Great in the ground, but also very container-friendly. Easy-peasy.
  • Violas: Work great in containers or in the ground.
  • Dusty Miller: They’re not picky. Container or ground, they’re happy.
  • Dianthus: They do well in containers. Just give ’em room to grow.
  • Sweet Alyssum: Great for hanging baskets or window boxes.
  • Candytuft: Can do well in containers, especially dwarf varieties.
Sweet Alyssum in a pot.

Better in the Ground

  • Ornamental Cabbage and Kale: They grow large and would prefer some ground space.
  • Cornflower: Generally better in the ground because they can get tall.

What are some of your favorite fall-blooming flowers?

Let’s crowd-source and share our favorites!

Bookmark this page or pin the following image to refer back to this article on Fall-Blooming Flowrs in the future.

A variety of fall blooming flowers.
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