15 Perennials to Plant this Labor Day

Make the most of your Labor Day weekend by filling your garden with reliable native perennials, perfect for planting during the transition from summer to fall.

pink and purple lupine bloom spikes tower above the perennial garden on a sunny day.


If you don’t have plans this weekend, there is no better way to spend it than out in the garden. Say goodbye to summer and welcome in the fall by planting a few perennials for Labor Day that will bring joy to your backyard season after season.

In celebration of the day, we’re recommending perennials native to North America. Put on your gardening gloves and get your hands dirty!

Black-Eyed Susan

Close-up of blooming Rudbeckia hirta in a sunny garden. Rudbeckia hirta, commonly known as Black-eyed Susan, is a vibrant and popular flowering plant native to North America. The plant produces upright, slightly hairy stems with lanceolate leaves. The leaves are dark green, rough with a slightly hairy texture. The flowers are large, daisy-like, with bright yellow petals and a central black button disc.
This flower is loved for its vibrant petals.

A native wildflower garden staple, black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) is a favorite among many American gardeners. Its sunny yellow petals, surrounding a dark center, make it a standout in any garden. Cultivars like ‘Cherokee Sunset’ offer a wider range of warm colors to brighten up your backyard.

Known for its heat and drought tolerance, black-eyed Susan easily attracts masses of butterflies and birds. It’s an essential addition to fall pollinator gardens. Its drought-resistant nature also means that it requires less watering, making it both waterwise and beginner-friendly.

Planting black-eyed Susan on Labor Day allows it to establish strong roots before winter. This ensures it will bloom prolifically the following summer. It may be a short-lived perennial, but the brightness of these stunning flowers makes it well worth planting.

Purple Coneflower

Close-up of blooming Coneflowers in a sunny garden. The leaves of Purple Coneflower are lance-shaped and coarse, with a rough texture. They are arranged alternately along the stems and have a deep green color. The daisy-like blooms have a cone-shaped center surrounded by petals that are purple.
Its resilience to various conditions and low-maintenance nature make it an ideal addition to vibrant and buzzing gardens.

Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is another pollinator magnet native to the United States. Despite the purple in the common name, a few colorful cultivars like ‘Paradiso’ or muted tones like ‘White Swan’ are suitable for any garden aesthetic.

This perennial is incredibly reliable, so much so that you can plant it and forget about it. Along with the pollinator attracting benefits, purple coneflower is also known for its medicinal properties, adding to its versatility.

No matter what you throw at coneflowers, they remain resilient. They can handle heat, drought, and poor soil, continuing to flower and attract a buzz of activity to your garden.


Close-up of blooming Coreopsis in a sunny garden. The plant produces thin, upright stems and bright yellow flowers. Coreopsis leaves are lanceolate, dark green, arranged alternately along the stems. The petals have a sunny, bright appearance with a contrasting center.
This cheerful perennial is an excellent Labor Day choice with its long bloom time and adaptability to various soils.

Coreopsis is also known as tickseed after the small round seeds that look just like ticks. These plants produce bright and cheerful daisy-like flowers in various colors, with yellow being particularly popular.

Although some coreopsis are grown as annuals, there are also perennial types that make wonderful staples in US gardens. Coreopsis lanceolata is a sunny wildflower that produces masses of yellow flowers in the months across spring and summer.

Coreopsis has a long bloom time and can thrive in many different soil types. You can’t go wrong planting it this Labor Day!


Close-up of flowering Astilbes in the garden. The plant has compound leaves with numerous leaflets that are finely dissected, giving them a delicate and airy appearance. Flowers grow on tall erect stems. The flowers are organized in plume clusters known as panicles. Panicle color is pink.
This plant is admired for its plumes in various shades, offers color in partial shade, and fills perennial beds with lush foliage.

Astilbe is appreciated for its feathery pink, red, and white plumes. Their ability to grow in partial shade is also ideal for adding a pop of color where other perennials often struggle.

Even when it’s not in flower in late spring and early summer, the lush foliage is also great for filling space in perennial beds. Its ability to thrive in damp soils makes it great for low-lying garden areas that can be tough to fill.

Planting astilbe on Labor Day gives the roots a head start in development, ensuring its plumes dazzle the following season.

Blue False Indigo

Close-up of a blooming Blue False Indigo in a sunny garden. Blue False Indigo, scientifically known as Baptisia australis, is a striking herbaceous perennial plant native to North America. The flowers form dense, elongated thorns that rise above the foliage. Individual flowers, similar to peas, have a bright shade from dark blue to purple. The leaves are deeply divided and have a characteristic bluish-green hue. They are arranged alternately along strong stems, creating a bushy and upright growth.
This native wildflower has tall spikes of pea-like blue flowers, bringing low-maintenance and vibrant blue color.

Blue false indigo (Baptisia australis) is another native wildflower hailing from eastern North America. Known for its tall spikes of pea-like blue flowers, the blooms easily stand out amongst other perennials.

Despite its intricate look, Baptisia australis is incredibly low-maintenance. It provides a striking blue hue to gardens that can be tough to find elsewhere. Its impressive height is great for covering unsightly garden objects or filling gaps, supported by a drought-tolerant deep root system.

Blue false indigo grows best in full sun but can also tolerate some partial shade. Planting as fall approaches helps establish the deep roots for the strongest possible flowering later on.


Close-up of blooming Lupines in the garden. These perennial herbs are known for their bright, spiny flower clusters and distinctive palmate leaves. The leaves of the lupine are palmately compound, that is, several leaflets diverge from a central point, resembling the shape of a hand. The leaflets are elongated and pointed, creating attractive textured foliage. The flowers form high dense spines, towering above the foliage. These flower spikes are made up of many individual pea-like flowers close together. The flowers are a delicate purple-pink hue and rich red.
Known for its tall and colorful spikes, this plant offers native varieties and attracts pollinators.

Recognizable by its tall spikes of colorful and stately flowers, lupine is a great addition to US gardens. Several species are native to North America and well-accustomed to many growing conditions.

The stunning flowers attract pollinators, especially when planted en masse or in a pollinator bed filled with similar perennials. If the tall flowers don’t quite fit in your garden design, there are also dwarf varieties like ‘Pixie Delight’ that are better for urban spaces.

As lupine prefers cooler temperatures to establish and doesn’t appreciate heat, Labor Day is the perfect time for planting, promising a colorful carpet come spring.

Butterfly Milkweed

Close-up of a flowering Butterfly Milkweed plant in a sunny garden. Butterfly Milkweed, scientifically known as Asclepias tuberosa, is a striking North American native perennial. The leaves of Butterfly Milkweed are narrow, spear-shaped, arranged alternately along the stem. They are grayish green in color and have a slightly fuzzy texture. The leaves grow in tufts and provide an attractive backdrop for the plant's vibrant flowers. Flowers form dense clusters of bright orange inflorescences. These flowers have a unique structure with five petals that curve backward, revealing a central crown-like structure called the "corona."
This colorful plant has vibrant orange or yellow blooms, attracting butterflies and bees.

Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) is known for its vibrant orange or yellow blooms, made even more colorful and lively by the butterflies and bees it attracts.

Not only is it beautiful, but it’s also vital for monarch butterflies, serving as both a food source and a host plant for caterpillars. It’s also remarkably waterwise, ideal for regions with limited rain or water saving.

If you need a burst of color and life in your garden during the warmer months, the cooler temperatures of late summer and early fall are the perfect time to plant.

Creeping Phlox

Close-up of a blooming Creeping Phlox plant. Creeping Phlox, scientifically known as Phlox subulata, is a low-growing perennial plant that belongs to the Polemoniaceae family. The leaves are small, needle-shaped, evergreen. They grow densely along hanging stems, forming a lush carpet of foliage. The flowers are small, purple-pink in color, consist of five petals and a contrasting center.
This ground cover perennial offers spring color.

For something a little different from your average bedding perennial, Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera) is an excellent ground cover to fill open spaces with beautiful flowers in spring. The dense growth forms a carpet of color that is an ideal replacement for grasses or open beds.

This perennial has the ability to suppress weeds, prevent soil erosion, and flourish even in rocky or sandy soils. Its starry flowers come in a range of stunning colors to suit any gardener’s needs.  

Creeping phlox is usually planted in spring but can also be planted on Labor Day in areas with milder climates. As long as the soil is well-draining, you shouldn’t have trouble growing this native.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Close-up of a flowering shrub Oakleaf Hydrangea in a sunny garden. It is a deciduous shrub with characteristic lobed leaves resembling oak leaves. The flowers of the oak-leaved hydrangea are collected in large cone-shaped inflorescences called panicles. These panicles consist of numerous individual flowers that are creamy white at first and then gradually turn pink.
A great hedge or background plant, it’s suitable for fall planting to establish roots before spring, promising a striking summer display.

Synonymous with the southeastern United States, the oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) is a native hydrangea species that stands out with its distinct foliage and large cone-shaped flower clusters.

Besides its showy summer blooms, the foliage also has ornamental value throughout fall, turning eye-catching shades of red, orange, and purple. Their large stature makes a beautiful hedge or background plant in beds, and the blooms are ideal for cutting and bringing indoors – especially the classic white varieties.

Fall is an ideal time to plant any hydrangea species, including oakleaf. This gives the roots time to settle in before temperatures increase in spring, increasing your chances of a stunning summer display.


Close-up of a flowering Columbine plant in the garden. This perennial plant has delicate, feathery, fern-like leaves that are divided into several lobes for an airy and graceful look. Flowers have unique pointed petals, reminiscent of a collection of elegant bells or hats. These flowers are two-colored: the inner petals are white and the outer petals are purple.
This plant attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, is deer-resistant, and is easy to grow.

Columbine (Aquilegia) is a perennial native to meadows and woodlands worldwide. Aquilegia canadensis is a species native to North America, making it suitable for planting across much of the continent.

Attracting hummingbirds and butterflies with its nectar-rich flowers, columbine is also deer-resistant and easy to grow. The native species produce red flowers, but there are so many other types to choose from that are all well-suited to perennial gardens.

Labor Day is a great time to plant columbine. The better established the roots are early on, the better the flowers you’ll see the following spring.

Virginia Bluebells

Close-up of blooming Virginia Bluebells in the garden. Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are enchanting native spring wildflowers. These perennial plants have oval, spear-shaped green leaves. The foliage gives the plant a lush and vibrant appearance, making a perfect backdrop for the exquisite flowers. The flowers showcase clusters of drooping tubular florets hanging from curved stems. These flowers start as pinkish buds that transform into an enchanting shade of powdery blue as they mature.
This native plant boasts charming blue bell-shaped flowers that attract pollinators.

Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are adorable native plants found in woodlands across North America. At the turn of spring, they delight gardeners and their garden visitors with soft blue, bell-shaped flowers.

Virginia bluebells are among the first flowers to pop up in early spring and also the first flowers available to attract pollinators, from buzzing bees to beautiful butterflies.

If you want to reap the benefits of these early spring flowers, Labor Day weekend is the best time to plant.

Pink Muhly Grass

Close-up of Pink Muhly Grass in the garden. Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) is a striking ornamental grass that belongs to the Poaceae family. The leaves of Pink Muhly Grass are thin and finely textured, forming dense clumps of foliage. The long and narrow stems of the grass are green in color, creating a green background that contrasts beautifully with the bright pink buds. The grass forms wavy fluffy panicles of soft pink to purplish pink flowers.
This ornamental grass fits into perennial beds, offering striking pink-purple fall blooms above foliage.

To move away from traditional perennials, Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) is an ornamental grass that fits perfectly into perennial beds. This grass is celebrated for its ethereal pink-purple blooms that appear in fall and hang above the foliage like a gentle glow or haze of color.

This ornamental grass is drought-resistant and rabbit and deer-resistant, giving little trouble to gardeners. It’s ideal for spots that often receive a gentle breeze, creating impressive movement and texture in landscapes.

Plant this grass in full sun and well-draining soil for the best possible performance. It also tolerates sandy or poor-quality soils if you have a tough gap to fill.


Close-up of a flowering Vervain plant against a blurred green background. Vervain, also known as Verbena, is a herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the Verbenaceae family. The plant forms vertical clusters on thin, erect stems. They form clusters of small tubular blue-purple inflorescences.
This blue vervain features dense clusters of attractive flowers that attract butterflies and pollinators in summer.

Blue vervain (Verbena hastata) is a species native to large parts of the United States, like many entries on this list.

Known for its adorable densely-packed flowers that bloom in clusters, it’s a beacon for butterflies and other pollinators in summer. Vervain can grow up to six feet in height, but there are also shorter species to choose from that are better suited to small spaces.

Coral Bells

Close-up of flowering Coral Bells plants in the garden. The plant forms lush decorative foliage and tall vertical stems with clusters of bright red flowers. The leaves are rounded, with corrugated edges and intricate patterns. The leaves are dark green with a silver coating. The flowers are small, bell-shaped, held on thin, wiry stems that rise above the foliage.
Heuchera showcases colorful foliage and bell-shaped flowers.

Coral Bells (Heuchera) are known for their foliage that adds a pop of color when other plants are not in flower. The leaves range in color from burgundy to lime green and peach, complemented by delicate bell-shaped flowers.

These perennials are versatile, thriving in shady areas where it can be tough to inject color. They are ideal edging plants and can even be used to cover empty spots as tall groundcovers.  

Labor Day is the best time to plant coral bells, allowing them to establish through fall. They’ll also be a great color replacement when other colorful plants die down at the end of summer.


Close-up of flowering Beeblossom plants in the garden. Beeblossom, scientifically known as Gaura, is a perennial plant loved for its delicate appearance, airy blooms, and extended flowering period. The leaves are spear-shaped and arranged alternately along thin stems. The flowers are small and have a unique texture: four star-shaped petals with contrasting markings. Flowers are bright pink.
This beautiful plant has butterfly-like flowers.

Gaura lindheimeri is commonly known as bee blossom. The flowers attract butterflies (and other pollinators) and look like butterflies themselves, giving them their other common name – whirling butterflies.

The plant’s unique white and pink flowers stand tall and sway beautifully in the wind. It’s also drought-tolerant, making it an ideal choice for waterwise gardens.

Beeblossom benefits from the cooler temperatures of Labor Day, allowing it to establish its roots without the stress of summer heat and ensuring a mass of butterfly-inspired flowers the next season.

Final Thoughts

The best way to spend your Labor Day is out in the garden. Use the day to get a head start on fall planting, reaping the benefits of planting perennials season after season!

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