17 Late-Summer Blooming Flowers

Do you struggle to find color in your garden as summer winds to a close? Timing your perennials is essential to have something blooming all season long. Late summer is sometimes an overlooked period in the season, but many flowers bloom during this time. In this article, certified master gardener Laura Elsner will show you 17 flowers that will keep your garden interesting into fall.

A beautiful cluster of violet garden phlox flowers bloom in the late-summer garden.


Spring gardens are often filled with bulbs and early-flowering perennials that fade into wonderful early-summer blossoms. As summer days cool and grow shorter, you might see a lot of green in your garden. It is important to stagger flower bloom times to keep the color coming throughout the gardening season.

Planning ahead with species that show off in the late summer through autumn will ensure your garden looks good until the frost hits. Here are 17 of my favorite late-summer blossoms

Cone Flower

Close-up of Echinacea purpurea flowering plants in a sunny garden. Echinacea purpurea, commonly known as Purple Coneflower, is a herbaceous perennial plant native to North America. The plant produces upright thin stems with dark green, lance-shaped leaves with a rough texture and serrated edges. These leaves are arranged alternately along the stems. The flowers are large, daisy-like, with a prominent dark brown central cone surrounded by bright purple ray petals.
These beautiful plants have vibrant blooms with daisy-like petals surrounding a spiky center.
botanical-name botanical name Echinacea purpurea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2-3′ high x 1.5′ wide
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Coneflowers are a welcome sight in the late-summer garden. They stand sturdy and tall and bloom a bright pink. The flowers are daisy-like in shape with a large, hard, spiky center that grows outward into a cone. Bees and other pollinators love them.

I love planting coneflowers in and amongst my early blooming flowers. When peonies, irises, and other spring flowers are in full show, they have non-distinct, slightly pointed foliage. But as the summer wears on and irises and peonies flowers are distant memories, and they have turned to foliage, the coneflowers put on their epic show.

There are many varieties of Coneflowers. While Echinacea purpurea is the common pink coneflower, there are many varieties. ‘Hot Papaya’ is one of my favorites. It features a collar of a double row of shaggy reddish-orange flowers and a large, fluffy middle.

They can be bought from the garden center as plants or grown from seeds.  

Black-eyed Susans

Close-up of Rudbeckia hirta flowering plants in the garden. Rudbeckia hirta, commonly known as Black-Eyed Susan, is a native North American wildflower. It is a herbaceous perennial with upright stiff stems. The leaves have a rough texture and are covered with small, bristly hairs. The leaves are lanceolate with serrated edges, arranged alternately along the stems, and are a rich green color. The flowers have a classic daisy-like appearance, with a dark brown to black central cone and vibrant yellow to orange-yellow ray petals radiating outwards.
Plant black-eyed Susan for late summer color in your garden.
botanical-name botanical name Rudbeckia Hirta
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2-3′ high x 2′ wide
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

Black-eyed Susans are a sure sign that late summer has arrived. These sturdy upright perennials are a bold pop of color in an often green late summer garden. They are low maintenance but very showy.

Plant black-eyed Susan as pops of colors throughout your garden. They will be plain green perennials throughout the early spring and summer. Then, they will bloom, making your tired late summer garden look brand new.

They are a short-lived perennial, and you might need to replant them. Keep an eye out for the fuzzy new growth in the spring. Replant the ones that didn’t overwinter.

There are many interesting varieties of Black-eyed Susans. ‘Cherokee Sunset’ is a unique variety with double flowers in spicy orange shades. It’s a perfect flower to welcome the fall season!

You can buy them as plants at the garden center. Look for them in the bedding annual section. They are sometimes considered annuals, particularly in colder climates where they don’t overwinter well. You can also purchase them as seeds and plant them yourself. 


Close-up of flowering plants Actaea simplex against the gray sky. Actaea simplex is a herbaceous perennial plant. It has a clumpy growth and forms dense, upright stems emerging from a central base. The leaves are large, deeply lobed, often resembling fern leaves. Flowers are located on tall, erect peduncles, towering above the foliage. These ears are densely filled with small, fragrant, star-shaped, pale pink flowers.
This perennial is a unique bloomer with delicate leaves and spires of scented flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Actaea simplex
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial shade
height height 3-5′ high x 2′ wide
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

Bugbane is a unique perennial. It’s less commonly found in gardens but packs a late-summer punch. It features delicate lacy leaves and long spires of graceful flowers that bloom in the late summer into fall. Some varieties are beautifully scented, and the bees love them.

I love the deep purple varieties such as ‘Black Negligee’ with deep purple foliage. Plant it next to a blue foliage plant like a blue spruce to make it pop. Or it looks great planted between shade-loving ligularia.

Once the ligularia finishes blooming, the bugbane will start. They both have some height (depending on variety) and interesting foliage shapes, making them a great pair.

Balloon flower

Platycodon grandiflorus, commonly known as Balloon Flower or Chinese Bellflower, is a charming perennial plant known for its unique balloon-like flower buds that open into star-shaped blossoms. The leaves are simple, alternate, broadly ovate with serrated edges. The flowers are a rich purple in color.
This stunning perennial bursts into star-shaped flowers in purple, pink, or white varieties.
botanical-name botanical name Platycodon grandiflorus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-2′ high x 1.5′ wide
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Balloon flowers are the perfect parcel. They grow and expand like a balloon and then burst into a gorgeous star-shaped purple, pink, or white (depending on variety) flower.

These pretty little plants never go unnoticed in gardens. They are a green bushy perennial in the spring and early summer with small pointed leaves. It can be less distinctive at this time of year. But then, as mid to late summer starts rolling around, the flowers swell into balloons, and a flourish of flowers arrives.

Balloon flowers make excellent border plants in gardens. Plant them in your mixed perennial beds with peonies, hydrangeas, irises, and other spring to early-summer blooming perennials.

Joe Pye Weed

Close-up of a flowering Eutrochium purpureum plant in the garden. Eutrochium purpureum, commonly known as Joe Pye Weed or Queen of the Meadow, is a robust perennial plant native to North America. It has a strong, upright growth and forms several stems emerging from a central base. The leaves of Eutrochium purpureum are arranged in whorls along stems consisting of three to seven leaves per whorl. These leaves are spear-shaped, serrated at the edges, and are medium to dark green in color. The flowers are large, domed flower heads made up of many tiny pink-colored tubular flowers clustered together.
This plant grows tall and blooms with pink flowers in late summer, attracting bees.
botanical-name botanical name Eutrochium purpureum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height Full sun to partial shade
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

While Joe Pye weed might have weed in its name, it is far from a weedy perennial. This native late-summer blooming flower adds structure to perennial beds with its height and flowers.

Joe Pye weed grows up to 8′ every season. It spends all summer growing up and up, then blooms soft plumes of pink flowers in the late summer. The bees love this native perennial.

Plant Joe Pye in the back of your garden so it will grow tall and not block your other plants. If you don’t have enough space to plant Joe Pye weed, consider planting ‘Baby Joe.’ This miniature variety has the same soft flowers as the regular Joe but stays small and compact, growing only 3′ high, and can be added to garden borders and mixed beds.


Close-up of blooming Hemerocallis, commonly known as daylilies, are herbaceous perennials known for their vibrant and showy flowers. They have belt-like, curved leaves and produce large, tubular-shaped bright orange flowers.
These bright, showy flowers offer versatility for perennial gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Hemerocallis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-5′ high x 1-4′ wide
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Daylilies are such a versatile plant. The long grassy foliage adds an interesting texture to perennial gardens. Then, it shoots up long stems in late summer that bloom lily-shaped flowers. 

While the common variety is weedy and invasive, many well-behaved varieties are perfect for adding to pots, perennial beds, or borders. They come in so many varieties of shades and colors that you can really customize your daylilies to your garden aesthetic.

My favorite varieties include ‘Wineberry Candy,’ a tropical-looking variety with a yellow center, apricot petals, and a dark burgundy stripe in between. I also love ‘Stella D’Oro’ daylilies. This popular variety features thinner grassy foliage and small orange flowers that bloom throughout the summer. 

Sea Holly

Close-up of flowering Eryngium plants in a sunny garden. Eryngium, commonly known as Sea Holly, is a unique and spiky perennial plant. It features basal rosettes of spiny, deeply lobed, and often bluish-green leaves that form a striking clump. Rising from the center of these rosettes are tall, stiff stems adorned with small, cone-like flower heads. These flower heads are surrounded by bristly, metallic blue or silvery bracts that give the plant its distinctive appearance.
This perennial features alien-like, spiky, steely purple flowers on thistle-like foliage that attract pollinators.

Scientific name:

botanical-name botanical name Eryngium
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2-6′ high x 2-4′ wide
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Sea Holly feels like an alien species. It grows out of thistly foliage into hard spikes with a sharp, spiky collar. The whole flower, including the stem, is a bright, steely purple color. 

Plant sea holly in perennial beds and borders. They have thistle-like foliage that will sprout flowers in the mid to late summer. The flowers last a long time, and pollinators love them.

Sea holly does grow rather large and can spread. But it is fairly easy to dig out and move around. Make sure you have enough space in your garden for it.


Close-up of Helianthus annuus flowering plant in the garden. Helianthus annuus, commonly known as the Sunflower, is a tall and striking annual plant. It features coarse, rough-textured leaves that are heart-shaped and arranged alternately along the sturdy, upright stems. At the top of each stem, Sunflowers produce large, radiant flower heads with a dark brown to black central disk surrounded by bright yellow, orange, or even red ray petals that resemble the sun's rays.
This plant is easily grown from seeds and doesn’t like to be transplanted.
botanical-name botanical name Helianthus annuus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-15′ high x 1-3′ wide
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Sunflowers are a sure sign that late summer and fall are here. The big sunny flower heads that follow the sun are a garden favorite.

Sunflowers are an easy flower to add to your garden. They are easily grown from seed. Plants seeds as soon as the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up. Start them indoors four weeks before your final frost date, although if doing so, I recommend growing them in pots that can decompose into the soil. Sunflowers don’t like being transplanted, so biodegradable pots keep the roots from being disturbed.

There are so many varieties of sunflowers. Choose the tall ‘Russian Mammoth’ variety as a real showstopper! For something a bit different, the small, fluffy ‘Teddy Bear’ variety is an interesting twist on a traditional sunflower and performs beautifully in a dwarfing habit.

Globe Thistle

Close-up of a flowering Echinops plant in the garden. Echinops, commonly known as Globe Thistle, is a perennial plant known for its distinctive spherical flower heads. It features basal rosettes of deeply lobed, spiky, gray-green leaves with a silvery appearance. Rising from these basal rosettes are tall, rigid stems that bear globular flower heads composed of numerous tiny, blue to steel-blue, thistle-like flowers.
This hardy and drought-tolerant perennial features silvery foliage and spiky purple flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Echinops
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2-5′ high x 2-3′ wide
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Globe thistle is an interesting perennial. It has silvery foliage, and its flowers are spiky purple balls. The flowers start blooming in the mid-summer and will stay in bloom into the fall. The spiky flowers add an interesting textural element to your garden. Pollinators love it, so your globe thistles will be buzzing with life.

This perennial gets big, and it spreads. So if you have a large area to fill, it makes a great choice. It is hardy and can tolerate bursts of drought, making it a great choice for water-wise gardeners. It also grows happily in poor soil. 


Close-up of a blooming soft pink rose in the garden. Rosa, commonly known as the Rose, is a woody perennial shrub. It features compound leaves with serrated edges and a glossy, dark green appearance. The flower has a central cup-like structure with many petals radiating outwards.
Roses can’t be beat for classic garden elegance.
botanical-name botanical name Rosa
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2-9′ high x 2-15′ wide
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Of course, roses are a classic choice. They will keep blooming as long as the sun is shining for them. They will bloom through late summer. While they do take a bit of extra care and attention in your garden, once you learn how to care for them, they make a wonderful addition to your late summer garden.

There are so many varieties of roses. It doesn’t matter what zone you are in. You will find a rose that is suitable to your climate. There are also so many colors you are bound to find one that fits your taste. 

Choose a sunny location to plant your rose for maximum flowers. They will bloom and complement all the other perennials that bloom and fade throughout the summer.

Autumn Joy Sedum

Hylotelephium telephium 'Autumn Joy,' commonly known as Autumn Joy Sedum, is a herbaceous perennial plant. It features thick, fleshy, blue-green leaves arranged in rosettes along sturdy stems. These stems are topped with flat clusters of small, rusty-red, star-shaped flowers.
This sedum variety has succulent leaves and broccoli-like flowers turning red in late summer, adding year-round beauty to your garden.
botanical-name botanical name Hylotelephium telephium ‘Autumn Joy’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2′ high x 2′ wide
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

‘Autumn Joy’ sedum is an upright mounded variety of sedum. It has light green succulent leaves and large fleshy stems. The flowers look like broccoli and will blush red in the late summer into the fall. 

‘Autumn Joy’ looks pretty throughout the season, so you won’t mind having it in your garden. But when it starts to blush red, you will fall in love with it. I love planting large groupings of ‘Autumn Joy’ sedums in my garden beds for a dramatic effect in the late summer when not much else is blooming.

Like other sedums, ‘Autumn Joy’ thrives in poor soil and drought conditions


Close-up of a flowering yarrow in the garden. Achillea, commonly known as Yarrow, is a herbaceous perennial plant. It features finely dissected, feathery leaves that are aromatic and have a fern-like appearance. Yarrow produces flat clusters of small, daisy-like, white flowers atop tall, slender stems.
This native herb has ferny foliage and umbel-shaped flower clusters.
botanical-name botanical name Achillea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2-3′ high x 2-3′ wide
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Yarrow is a lovely native and medicinal herb with soft, scented ferny foliage and umbel-shaped flower clusters that pollinators love. It blooms from mid-late summer and adds wonderful color and texture to the garden. This native perennial grows in poor soil and tolerates drought.

While yarrow has many benefits, it can spread. Especially the common variety. Named varieties that are cultivars and hybrids have clumping habits and tend not to spread as much.

Use caution if you are offered a clump of yarrow from another gardener. If it is common yarrow, it can spread into your lawn (where it actually makes a wonderful alternative to grass when regularly mowed), your sidewalk, and all over your garden.

Blazing Stars 

Liatris, commonly known as Blazing Star or Gayfeather, is a perennial plant. It features long, slender stems adorned with linear or lance-shaped leaves arranged in a dense, spiraling pattern. Atop these stems, Liatris produces striking cylindrical flower spikes covered in tiny, tubular florets пурпурного цвета.
This little clumping perennial features grassy stems with pinkish-purple blossoms in late summer
botanical-name botanical name Liatris
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2-4′ high x 1-2′ wide
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Blazing stars are a nice little clumping perennial that grows from corms (similar to bulbs). It has grassy stems that grow spires of pinkish-purple blossoms in late summer. The blooms will explode outward to a soft, feathery texture at the tip, which looks like a shooting star.

Blazing stars are reliable and don’t spread, making them a great garden choice. I like planting groups of it throughout a perennial border or bed to put on a nice floral show in the late summer.


Close-up of blooming Asters in the garden. The plant has regular simple leaves with serrated edges. The flowers are small, daisy-like, with a yellow-brown central disc and radial purple petals that radiate outwards.
This unassuming, low-growing perennial has narrow leaves and produces purple, pink, or white daisy-like flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Aster
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-4′ high x 1-4′ wide
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Asters are a late summer stunner. It’s a very non-assuming, low-growing perennial with narrow leaves. It forms a bushy mound during spring through summer. But when it blooms, its purple, pink, and/or white daisy-like flowers in the late summer and fall steal the show.

Annual asters are easily planted from seed. Start them indoors a couple of weeks before the last frost date. Plant them outside, and you will be rewarded with beautiful late summer blossoms.

Blanket Flower

Close-up of flowering Gaillardia plants in the garden. Gaillardia, commonly known as Blanket Flower, is a perennial plant. It features low-growing, mounding foliage with lance-shaped leaves that are gray-green and covered with fine hairs. Above the foliage, Gaillardia produces striking, daisy-like flowers with vivid, bicolored petals. These petals are red, and yellow with central brown disk florets.
These long-lasting summer blooms have large, colorful, jagged-petaled flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Gaillardia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-3′ high x 1-2′ wide
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Blanket flowers offer a lot of bang for your buck. They start blooming in the summer and will still be blooming strong by late summer. The flowers have a large round center with jagged petals. They make an attractive border plant that explodes with colorful flowers throughout the summer.

Blanket flowers are tough little perennials. They tolerate poor sandy soil, drought conditions, and full sun. 

They come in all sorts of hot-colored combinations depending on the variety. ‘Arizona Sun’ is one of my favorite varieties. Like the hot desert sun, it features red-centered flowers that explode into jagged yellow margins.


Close-up of a Ligularia flowering plant. Ligularia is a perennial plant known for its large size and striking foliage. It features bold, rounded, or heart-shaped leaves with jagged edges. Rising from the center of the foliage, Ligularia sends up tall, sturdy stems topped with clusters of daisy-like yellow or orange-yellow flowers.
This tall perennial has large leaves and yellow flowers that require lots of water to thrive.
botanical-name botanical name Ligularia
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial to full shade
height height 3-6′ high x 2-4′ wide
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Ligularia is a large perennial that adds structure and color to your late summer garden. It has large leaves and grows up to five feet high. It has yellow flowers that grow up on long stalks.

Ligularia requires lots of water. They are drama queens. They will sag and look almost dead if they do not have enough water. Give them a good long soak and watch them pick themselves back up. I like planting these near downspouts to ensure they always get lots of water. They can also tolerate more sun if they get extra water to compensate for it.

‘The Rocket’ is one of the more popular varieties. It features leaves with jagged edges and tall spires of yellow flowers. I also like ‘Othello,’ which features large round leaves with a reddish hue. Then, it has burgundy stems with clusters of yellow daisy-like flowers.


Close-up of flowering Phlox paniculata in the garden. Phlox paniculata, commonly known as Garden Phlox, is a herbaceous perennial plant. It features lance-shaped leaves with a smooth texture and a medium to dark green color. These leaves are arranged oppositely along the upright stems. the plant produces large, dense clusters of fragrant, five-petalled flowers at the tops of the stems. These flowers are purple.
Garden phlox is a late summer delight with upright stalks and fragrant flowers in various colors.
botanical-name botanical name Phlox paniculata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2-4′ high x 2-4′ wide
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

While creeping phlox is an early spring bloomer, garden phlox is a late summer splendor. It grows upright stalks with narrow leaves. In the late summer, it blooms clusters of lovely-smelling flowers in shades of pink, purple, red, and white.

Plant phlox in garden beds and borders. Plant them in groups throughout your garden for a beautiful late summer show. I love planting them around the patio and seating areas so their sweet aroma can waft by.

There are many varieties of garden phlox to choose from. ‘Candy Twist’ is one of my favorites. It features pink and white candy-striped petals that add such a pretty detail to gardens.

Final Thoughts

As gardeners, we all rush to our local garden centers and nurseries as soon as spring arrives. They are filled with beautiful flowering perennials, and we fill our carts. By doing this, we tend to choose all the spring-blooming plants. Then, when your spring-early summer garden transitions into the mid-late summer garden, you are left with a lot of green. This year, take a trip to your garden center later in the season and discover all the wonderful plants that add color and interest to your garden through the first frost!

A cluster of pale lavender pincushion flowers grow in a lush garden.

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