17 Fall-Blooming Flowers to Start in July

July is an interesting month when it comes to gardening. It may feel like it’s too late to plant summer bloomers and too early for cool fall bloomers. It’s actually a great time to get a head start on those fall-blooming plants! Join Melissa Strauss in discovering seeds you can start now for wonderful fall flowers.

A close-up of purple prairie verbena flowers, showcasing nature's intricate beauty. A tiny bug perches on one of the flowers, adding a touch of life to the serene scene, exploring the colorful landscape of the bloom.


After the flowers of spring have blossomed and faded, July seems to roar in on a wave of heat and sparklers. During this month, you may see a lull in your garden as plants rest to conserve energy in the heat. If you’re feeling restless and need to get some work done in your garden, it’s a good time to plant seeds for fall flowering plants.

A lot of flowering plants stop blooming during this time, which we beekeepers refer to as the dearth. A dearth is a time when there is a scarcity of food for bees. What this means to gardeners is a scarcity of blooms. Fortunately, cooler days are coming. While you may not be through the hottest day of the year just yet, it’s certain to be right around the corner. 

July is a good time to plant seeds that mature and flower quickly. Depending on the length of your growing season, you may only have three or four months before that first freeze comes along. The best flowers to plant at this time are those with fewer days to maturity and those that tolerate frost

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Make sure that you start cool weather bloomers indoors in seed trays. Unless your plants are heat tolerant, they will need to spend a few weeks inside, away from the heat, to get a healthy start. This is especially important in areas with hot summers. Let’s take a look at some of the seeds that you can get started on now so you’ll have plenty of color come fall. 


King Henry Viola Seeds

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King Henry Viola Seeds


Queeny Lime Orange Zinnia Seeds

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Queeny Lime Orange Zinnia Seeds


Magic Carpet Blend Snapdragon Seeds

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Magic Carpet Blend Snapdragon Seeds

Moss Roses

Portulaca grandiflora features succulent, cylindrical leaves and vibrant, cup-shaped flowers in a variety of colors.
Enjoy vibrant, edible blooms all summer with colorful moss roses.
Botanical Name: Portulaca grandiflora
  • Sun Needs: Full sun
  • Height: 3”-12”
  • Zones: 2-12
  • Seed to Flower: 45-60 days

Moss roses are lovely little plants with a semi-succulent nature. They tolerate a surprising amount of sun and heat. So you can plant them in hot July weather, and they will be just fine. In fact, they germinate fastest in warm soil. Their fleshy stems and leaves are entirely edible, as are their colorful blooms. 

These plants flower in a rainbow of colors. They can be single, double, fancy, and bi-color. They only take about 45 to 60 days from the time you sow the seeds until they begin to bloom. They will continue to flower until the first frost. Perennial in Zones 9-11, they grow as annuals elsewhere and can self-seed. 


Zinnia showcases oval, opposite leaves and large, solitary, daisy-like flowers in an array of colors, including pink, red and white.
Enjoy a riot of colors with zinnias, thriving through summer heat.
Botanical Name: Zinnia elegans
  • Sun Needs: Full sun
  • Height: up to 4’
  • Zones: 2-11
  • Seed to Flower: 60-70 days

I will never get tired of zinnias and the amazing number of blooms they bring to the garden every year. Zinnias are great for planting any time from the last frost date until the end of summer. In warm climates, you can plant them just about any time at all! They only need two months to start blooming and will bloom until the first frost. I’ve had them continue on even after a light frost here in Zone 9.

Zinnias come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Even the giant varieties grow and bloom very quickly. They love heat and sun, so they are dauntless over July heat. Native to Mexico, these annuals reseed themselves but not aggressively. You can, over time, end up with them sprinkled about the yard. They are easy to pull out if you prefer to keep them confined, and they transplant well. Direct sow or start in trays.

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Pentas displays glossy, lance-shaped leaves and clusters of small, star-shaped flowers in shades of pink.
Add vibrant pentas to your garden for summer-long butterfly allure.
Botanical Name: Pentas lanceolata
  • Sun Needs: Full sun to partial shade
  • Height: 1’-2’
  • Zones: 10-11
  • Seed to Flower: 100 days

In warmer climates with a long growing season, pentas are good for summer planting. They don’t mind the heat, and they bloom until frost knocks them out. Star-shaped blooms in shades of pink, red, purple, and white are very attractive to butterflies. These are a great summer addition to the pollinator garden. 

Pentas are best started indoors. The seeds need light to germinate so gently press them into soil in trays and place in a sunny window. They transplant well, and are drought tolerant once established, although they prefer moist soil. They are perennial in Zones 10-11.


Tagetes has finely divided, aromatic leaves and double, daisy-like flowers in shades of orange.
Get a head start on Dia de Muertos with marigolds!
Botanical Name: Tagetes spp.
  • Sun Needs: Full sun to partial shade
  • Height: 6”-2’
  • Zones: 2-11
  • Seed to Flower: 50-100 days

If you celebrate Dia de Muertos, July is the time to get your marigolds started. Taller Mexican marigolds require 90-100 days to bloom. However, shorter French marigolds can bloom in as few as 50 days from seed. Direct sow these seeds in your garden for a surprisingly strong start. Larger flowered types are often perennial in warmer climates.

Marigolds are sturdy plants that don’t mind the heat. Just remember to keep them watered. Deadheading blooms will make the plant grow large and bushy. Marigolds repel pests, which find their scent unpleasant. I find them to smell quite good, their fragrance is rather singular. These will bloom right up until that first frost.


Cosmos features feathery, fern-like foliage and daisy-like flowers with a prominent central disk, blooming in pink color.
They’re a delightful addition to any pollinator garden.
Botanical Name: Cosmos spp.
  • Sun Needs: Full sun to partial shade
  • Height: up to 6’
  • Zones: 2-11
  • Seed to Flower: 50-60 days

Cosmos are a wonderful addition to the pollinator garden, and you can plant them any time from spring to early fall. Native bees flock to these sweet blooms. They may look delicate, but the plants are vigorous growers. They take about two months from seed to flower, and you can directly sow them in the garden. As long as the soil is warm, cosmos will grow. 

These plants can grow quite tall and their stems are thin, so protect them from strong winds. Deadhead them regularly to encourage branching and increase blooming. A good spot for cosmos is against a fence. Leave the seed heads intact in the fall, and they are likely to self-sow! In that same vein, some are invasive in certain areas. Choose ones that aren’t invasive in your region.


Calendula exhibits lance-shaped, slightly hairy leaves and daisy-like flowers in shades of orange.
Late-blooming flowers like calendula are perfect for autumn gardens.
Botanical Name: Calendula officinalis
  • Sun Needs: Full sun partial shade
  • Height: 1′-2′
  • Zones: 2-11
  • Seed to Flower: 50-60 days

Calendula plants don’t love the heat, but they are great fall bloomers. These plants are tolerant of temperatures down to 25°F (-4°C), so they will continue to bloom even after a light frost. Start your seeds indoors and plant them in late August. Once they have some space, they will grow rapidly and bloom by the end of September. 

Deadheading calendula will make them branch and produce more. Be aware that insects are attracted to this plant. It can be a challenge to keep the leaves from getting munched on. They also draw beneficial insects to the garden. Reseeding easily, the seeds are easy to harvest for planting next year. Calendula seeds are sensitive to high heat. It’s best to sow these areas with temperate summers or indoors in hotter regions.


Borago officinalis showcases hairy, oval leaves and star-shaped, blue flowers that are edible.
Borage adds vibrant color and cucumber-like flavor to fall gardens.
Botanical Name: Borago officinalis 
  • Sun Needs: Full sun to partial shade
  • Height: 2’-3’
  • Zones: 2-11
  • Seed to Flower: 50-60 days

This super easy annual herb is a great way to add color to the fall garden. Borage is an edible plant with a flavor some say is similar to cucumbers. Pollinators love it, and it flowers in as little as 50 days from seed. Unless you have very hot summers, directly sow the seeds in your garden in early July for blooms from September until frost. 

Make sure to deadhead your borage. If it goes to seed, it will start to die back. All parts of the plant are edible and they look wonderful as a garnish or on salads. The leaves contain vitamin C and potassium, and the oil is said to have anti-inflammatory effects. Long-term, concentrated ingestion can be problematic. These will reseed, sometimes aggressively. 


Centaurea cyanus has finely divided, gray-green leaves and solitary, blue flowers with a distinctive dark center, also known as cornflower.
Cool-weather cornflowers bring vibrant blooms to autumn gardens.
Botanical Name: Centaurea cyanus
  • Sun Needs: Full sun to partial shade
  • Height: 1′-3′
  • Zones: 2-11
  • Seed to Flower: 60-70 days

Also known as bachelor buttons, these are cool-weather bloomers and not fond of the summer heat. For that reason, and because they prefer to be directly sown, wait until the end of the month for these. Plant them right in the garden, as they do not transplant well. Make sure to keep them moist, especially during a heat wave. 

Usually, these are spring bloomers, but their short seed-to-flower time and cool weather habit make them good for fall. Deadhead them to keep them blooming until the first frost. The most common color is blue. They also come in deep red, pink, and white. Bees and butterflies love them, and they are great for the cutting garden. Choose a native in areas where this plant is classed as an invasive species.


Helianthus annuus displays rough, heart-shaped leaves and large, bright yellow flowers with golden centers, known as sunflowers.
Sow sunflower seeds directly for towering autumn blooms and wildlife support.
Botanical Name: Helianthus annuus
  • Sun Needs: Full sun
  • Height: up to 25’
  • Zones: 2-11
  • Seed to Flower: 85-100

You can drop sunflower seeds in the ground any time while the soil is warm. They will transplant just fine, but they will never grow to their full height this way. It’s best to directly sow if you want truly towering sunflowers. Larger varieties will take longer to bloom. This is fine if you have a long planting season. In cooler climates, make sure you time these right. 

Planting in July will bring blooms in September, October, and sometimes November if your fall is mild. Pollinators love these big blooms, and if you leave the seed heads in the garden, they will help feed overwintering birds. Give your sunnies lots of care to help them grow large and strong. 


Alyssum features small, oval to lance-shaped leaves and dense clusters of tiny, fragrant flowers in shades of white.
Brighten your fall garden borders with colorful, sun-loving sweet alyssum.
Botanical Name: Lobularia maritima
  • Sun Needs: Full sun to partial shade
  • Height: 3”-10”
  • Zones: 5-9
  • Seed to Flower: 50-70 days

Create a floriferous border for your fall flower garden with sweet alyssum. Low-growing, with a mounding habit, this plant produces tons of small flowers in shades of white, pink, peach, lavender, and others. It likes a lot of sun but stops flowering in the summer heat. Fortunately, it picks back up in the fall, so summer is a good time to plant. 

Sow your seeds right in the garden, in average, well-drained soil. They need light for germination, so gently press seeds into the ground and don’t cover them. Keep them moist, and they should germinate in just over a week. In cool climates, it will act like an annual. In warmer climates, it may last all through the winter and stick around as a perennial. 


Antirrhinum exhibits lance-shaped, glossy leaves and distinctive, snapdragon-shaped flowers of white color.
Plant nostalgic and romantic flowers for a colorful autumn garden delight.
Botanical Name: Antirrhinum majus
  • Sun Needs: Full sun to partial shade
  • Height: 6″-3’
  • Zones: 7-10
  • Seed to Flower: 60-80 days

Snapdragons are a favorite of mine. They are nostalgic and romantic with their large, fluffy flower heads. A wide variety of colors and a long blooming habit only serve to cement their prime location in my garden. Snapdragons prefer cool weather, so start your seeds indoors. Transplant them in August, and they should be blooming by the end of September. 

These are great choices for the cutting garden. If you cut them when the bottom three blossoms are open they will continue to open. This gives them a substantial vase life. Snapdragons are cut-and-come-again flowers, so the more you cut them, the more they will produce! In warm climates, they will last all winter, although they may stop blooming. 


A colorful close-up of pansy flowers in shades of purple, yellow, and red. The delicate pansy blooms stand out against green leaves, forming a beautiful botanical composition in a floral arrangement.
These colorful flowers are cold-tolerant, surviving temperatures down to 25°F.
Botanical Name: Viola x wittrockiana
  • Sun Needs: Full sun to partial shade
  • Height: 4”-12”
  • Zones: 6-10
  • Seed to Flower: 60-90 days

If you are a mild climate gardener, pansies planted in the summer will bloom all through the fall and potentially winter. I grow these in my greenhouse to keep a steady supply of edible blossoms throughout the holiday season. They transplant well but don’t like hot weather, so start these inside and transplant in about six weeks if you have a mild fall season. 

Pansies work really well in containers where you can enjoy them up close. They also make a nice border for flower beds. Their stems are not very long, but I love to snip them to make tiny bouquets of these for my kitchen window. They have a light, pleasant fragrance. The plants will survive temperatures down to 25°F (-7°C). 


Field of flowering plants Linum grandiflorum, featuring delicate, linear leaves and cup-shaped flowers in shades of blue.
Grow your own beautiful linen-making plants with easy flax seeds.
Botanical Name: Linum lewisii
  • Sun Needs: Full sun to partial shade
  • Height: 2′-3′
  • Zones: 3-9
  • Seed to Flower: 55+ days

Flax seeds are a common smoothie ingredient, but did you know they can grow into beautiful flowering plants? These plants are used to make linen fabric. What a great little plant! Directly sow these seeds in the garden by broadcasting. It’s that simple; just toss a tablespoon of seeds on some loose soil and see how they grow. They’ll do best in areas with mild, damp summers.

Flax won’t just be pretty in the fall, it is very frost tolerant. The plants should be just fine down to about 20°F (-29°C). Deadhead your flax plants to keep them blooming for a long time and to prevent a massive spread. After the first bloom, cut the plant back by as much as half for a super second bloom. 


Peachy keen verbena shines in a porch planter
Plant verbenas for vibrant borders and continuous summer to fall blooms.
Botanical Name: Verbena spp.
  • Sun Needs: Full sun
  • Height: 1’-6’
  • Zones: 7-11
  • Seed to Flower: 70-90 days

Verbenas are perennial plants in Zones 7-11, and grown as annuals elsewhere. They work well in containers, and the shorter varieties make an excellent border in the garden. They come in a wide range of colors, including some bi-color species. Trailing types look stunning in a hanging basket. 

These plants are heat tolerant, so planting them in the summer is not a problem, as long as you have moderately warm (not hot) summers. They have a long bloom time, so once they start, they will produce until they freeze. The roots are cold tolerant to -5°F (-21°C). Pollinators will appreciate these as an ample nectar source in the fall when most big bloomers are finished for the year.


Nigella damascena showcases finely divided, fern-like leaves and delicate, star-shaped flowers in shades of blue.
Plant love-in-a-mist for unique beauty and continuous garden blooms.
Botanical Name: Nigella damascena
  • Sun Needs: Full sun
  • Height: 15”-24”
  • Zones: 2-11
  • Seed to Flower: 65-75 days

Sow love-in-a-mist directly in the garden any time from April to August. Successive planting will have you blooming consistently until the first frost. They don’t bloom for long, but they are beautiful when they do. Their unique form makes them a conversation piece in your flower beds. The seeds need light to germinate, so cover very loosely with soil.

In mild climates, you can sow these year-round. They tolerate a light frost, so in Zones 8-9 keep sowing seeds every three weeks, and you’ll have flowers in the winter. When they self-seed, they may pop up in the winter. Love-in-a-mist prefers cool weather to heat. 


Nasturtium has rounded, slightly peltated leaves and funnel-shaped flowers in vibrant shades of red covered with drops of water.
Grow fast-blooming nasturtiums for peppery-flavored edible blooms and leaves.
Botanical Name: Tropaeolum majus
  • Sun Needs: Full sun to partial shade
  • Height: 1’-10’
  • Zones: 2-11
  • Seed to Flower: 45 days

Nasturtiums are fast growers that bloom best in cool weather. Brightly colored blooms are edible and have a peppery flavor. The leaves are edible as well and look pretty in a salad. They can bloom in as few as four to six weeks after planting, and they like warm weather. Directly sow these if you have mild summers. They have delicate roots that don’t transplant well. 

If your nasturtiums don’t bloom within 45 days, they may be getting too much nitrogen. This will lead to an abundance of green growth and little to no flowers. Light and sandy to loamy soil is ideal. Trailing varieties look gorgeous climbing a trellis. Well-drained soil is a must.


Cleome displays palmate leaves with narrow leaflets and spidery, clustered flowers with long stamens, in shades of pink and white.
Plant spider flowers in spring for robust, pest-resistant blooms in fall.
Botanical Name: Cleome spp.
  • Sun Needs: Full sun to partial shade
  • Height: 18”-6’
  • Zones: 9-11
  • Seed to Flower: 70-80 days

Cleome is another plant that can take a while to bloom, so only plant these if you have a long growing season. Otherwise, you should plant in early spring. Direct sow the seeds in the garden for strong, healthy plants from the start. They are fast-growing, pest and disease-resistant. Grow them in full sun for strong, upright stems. 

If they don’t get enough sun, these plants will get leggy and may flop over when they bloom. They are drought tolerant, and even more so when they have plenty of nutrients to draw from. These are great for fall flowers in hot, humid climates. Use compost for nutrients. They don’t need fertilizer. 

Final Thoughts

By starting new seeds mid-summer, you hopefully ensure a garden full of flowers in the fall. I will warn that you may find survival rates lower for these than spring-planted seeds. You’ll have to do a lot of watering for the first month after planting to keep your seedlings from drying out. Once fall rolls around, they will begin to bloom and the plants will require little maintenance. 

Close-up of several shade hanging baskets with flowering plants Sutera cordata featirung trailing habit, rounded, jagged, green leaves and delicate white and purple tubular shaped flowers with contrasting yellow throats.


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