Why Fall Flowering Native Perennial Plants Are Important Habitat

It's easy to fill your gardens with spring and summer blooming perennial plants, right!? 

I mean why wait, because frankly after all that dreariness of winter and snow, you want to see color ASAP.  Who doesn't?

Plus, a lot of our food producing plants like fruit trees are spring blooming as well as the ubiquitous dandelions.

But, guess what?  The beneficial insects rely on flowers as long as they can get them.

For example, we have native bumblebees of many kinds that literally SLEEP on the New England Asters in droves at our farm during the fall.  

In fact, our CSA members who get to pick their own flowers as a free perk of their CSA farm share membership cannot believe HOW many bees there are on the flowers here during the fall.


So if part of your vision for your little piece of earth that you are blessed to steward is to help the insects and provide habitat, fall flowering perennials are NOT to be overlooked!

And we're getting to that time of year when these beautiful plants can be showcased in your yard.

But what are the best ones to try?

Read on.  That's what I'm here for to help with!

And not only are all of these gorgeous and pleasing to humans, they're great for beneficials, AND easy to grow!



Our top five favorite fall flowering native perennial plants


#1 Symphytotrichum novae-angliae: New England Aster

As I mentioned before, the bees LOVE these and will sleep on them on cool nights in the fall.  They're also great for cut flower bouquets.

NATIVE 36" plants with a long fall bloom period. Very showy flowers in shades of purple and pink.

  • Full to part sun
  • Dry to medium soil
  • Purple and pink flowers
  • Late August-October bloom



#2  Verbena hastata: Blue Vervain

These are one of our farm's very favorite plants.  They create a hedge of purple-blue that the bees just SWARM in fall.  We love them so much that my daughter named one of our calves Blue Vervain after them.  

NATIVE perennial to 60" with long lasting steeples of tiny blue-purple blossoms. Medicinal and very attractive to pollinators.

  • Full to part sun
  • Medium to wet soil
  • Purple flowers
  • August-October bloom




#3  Solidago casesia: Blue-stemmed Goldenrod

Goldenrods are very important habitat for all sorts of insects and the Blue-stemmed is no exception.  It's shade loving and not weedy looking while providing habitat, making it a win-win for everyone!

NATIVE shade-loving goldenrod blooms late, beloved by pollinators. Grows in well-behaved clumps to 18" tall. Flowers all along blue-hued stem.

  • Part sun to full shade
  • Dry to medium soil
  • Yellow flowers
  • September-October bloom




#4  Symphytotrichum laterifolium: Calico Aster

These are a more understated version of asters that can tolerate shade.  Try them for some fall cheer for everyone!

NATIVE 24" perennial. The white-petaled flowers surround center discs in shades of pink, red, and yellow giving a calico appearance. Widely adapted and a great pollinator plant.

  • Full sun to full shade
  • Medium soil
  • White flowers
  • September-October bloom




#5  Helenium autumnale: 'Helen's Flower Mix' Sneezeweed

These are a personal favorite for me.  I just LOVE these in fall themed bouquets and seeing them when I take walks through our fields.  They provide a big splash of color at the end of the season as well as great habitat for all things buzzing.

NATIVE cultivar to 42" with sprays of sunny yellow, orange, and bronze flowers. Excellent cut flower.

  • Full to part sun
  • Medium soil
  • Yellow-bronze flowers
  • Late August-October bloom





What is your favorite fall flowering native perennial plant?  Please post a comment below and let us know!  Because maybe it's one we haven't tried yet!  


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