Rudbeckia or Black-Eyed Susan

Perennial Plants & Our Top Picks for Fall

As New England gardeners, each new season brings opportunity to prepare for the next. With fall upon us, we simultaneously lament summer’s passing blooms, while looking forward to the cool crisp days ahead.

If you are looking for fall planting ideas, the garden center at Studley’s is abundant with fall perennial flowers, fall ornamentals, spring blooming bulbs, and trees or shrubs that are ideal for fall planting!

Here are my favorite picks from our current stock for fall planting in New Hampshire and the region. These suggestions are suited to fall planting in zone 5b, the hardiness climate zone for southern New Hampshire and coastal Maine. Not sure of your zone? Check the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

Hydrangea Bobo Plant

Hydrangea Bobo

Fall Blooming Perennial Plants for NH

New England Asters are not only pretty, but I also like them because they serve as a more sustainable alternative to mums. Aster blossoms are ideal as a critical food source for our native pollinators to fuel up before the long New England winter!

Belamcanda or Blackberry Lily not only shines in mid-summer with colorful orange flowers, but it’s blackberry-like seed pods emerge in late September and October. It is truly a multi-season performer in the garden, adding vertical interest with its sword-shaped leaves.

Chrysanthemums or mums, are a New England fall favorite blooming plant. Ask us to help you choose a mix of mid and late-season bloomers for outstanding color that could last into late October! Considered tender perennials, mums may come back the next year, depending on when and where they are planted.

Rudbeckia or Black-Eyed Susan is a New Hampshire favorite for fall with rich droopy, yellow-gold petals and a dark brown or black center. This perennial loves full sun, tolerates most soil types and will produce blooms from July until frost.

Sedum or stonecrop is a succulent perennial available in varieties that produce yellow or pink flowers. I like the ‘Autumn Joy’ variety for fall color in a New Hampshire garden. The blooms and leaves will change colors for interest right through the fall, evolving from broccoli green to blush pink, and finally to a rich burgundy.

Sedum Autumn Joy (Burgundy) Perrenial

Sedum Autumn Joy (Burgundy)

Fall Ornamentals for NH

Ornamental Grasses complement your fall plantings to add color, dimension, and texture to your garden. Most are low maintenance and resistant to pests or disease. When you visit the garden center, ask us to help you pair them with your fall blooming selections! We have annual grasses that will make your fall planters pop and perennial grasses that will simply get better over the years in your garden.

Ornamental Kale all hail the ornamental kale! This cold loving plant is a show stopper in a New Hampshire fall garden, with colors only becoming brighter as temperatures drop. They come in a variety of hues and their pretty, ruffled leaves and rosette center pair well with the characteristics of our fall blooming selections. These are diverse enough to use in a container or to plant among your perennials.

Ornamental Kale

Ornamental Kale

Bulbs to Plant in the Fall for Spring Blooms in NH

Fall is the time to plant certain bulbs for spring blooms! For the best show, plant bulbs in groupings of a dozen or more, keeping like kinds and colors together. As a general rule, bulbs are planted with the point up, but follow the tag instructions and note the space and depth requirements for each.

This is a list of the fall bulbs available in the garden center at Studley’s Flower Gardens now. Get them while they last!

• Allium
• Crocus
• Daffodils
• Garlic
• Hyacinth
• Tulips

Trees & Shrubs to Plant in the Fall for NH

Rose of Sharon Fiji

Rose of Sharon (Fiji)

Many trees and shrubs look tired at the end of summer, however others are continuing to bloom and even look their best as cool weather approaches. Some summer bloomers that are still going strong into fall include Rose of Sharon and PeeGee Hydrangea.

PeeGee Hydrangea have undergone an explosion of new varieties in recent years. While the classic PeeGee (short for the latin
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’) Hydrangea is a staple of an old farm house garden in New Hampshire, newer varieties can be used anywhere in the garden. Flower forms vary from a tight, traditional ball shaped flower to an elongated cone. As the temperatures drop, rich pinks and finally burgundy hues emerge. Newer varieties are more compact, in the 6-8’ tall range, and tiny Bobo puts on an enormous flower show at only 3’ tall.

Rose of Sharon are a towering shrub, usually growing from 8’ to 12’ tall with abundant hibiscus shaped flowers from late July through September. Colors range from whites to pinks to purples, often with a contrasting red center to the flowers. Check out ‘Lil Kim Rose of Sharon if you only have room for a 3-4’ tall shrub.

Many trees and shrubs start to show off fall interest in ways other than flowers, including the beautiful fall foliage New Hampshire is famous for, as well as ornamental seed pods.

Maple Trees for brilliant fall foliage in your landscape, consider our native maples, like Sugar Maple and Red Maple. A compact shrub with fall foliage that can’t be beat is Fothergilla, an explosion of yellow, red and orange, often on the same leaf. Some varieties of Japanese Maple also shine with Fall foliage, consider ‘Ever Red’ for a bright show of lacy red leaves.

For other fall interest, consider the decorative seed pods of a Dogwood tree or the fall blooming tree, Seven-Son Flower (Heptecodium miconioides), which has clusters of white flowers that are followed by even showier red calyces.

My Pro Tip! Perennial roots need at least 3 weeks (ideally 6 weeks) to establish themselves before the ground freezes. My recommendation – the sooner you plant the better!

See you at the garden center!

written by Jeffrey Meulenbroek
Have questions or need expert plant advice? Ask Jeffrey!