Give borders an autumn boost

Find out how to inject some colour and interest into your garden in the autumn months by planting some perennials in full bloom.

It’s easy to inject fresh colour and vigour into your borders in early autumn by planting some hardy perennials in full bloom. Not only will they look good immediately – they’ll also give repeat performances for years to come. 


Discover some unusual shrubs for autumn.

You’ll find a vibrant array of seasonal plants on sale in garden centres and DIY stores throughout the autumn. Choose larger plants for immediate impact, and buy plants that have buds so that you will enjoy their display for longer.

You might also see late-flowering annuals, such as cosmos – these can add an instant colour hit but bear in mind that they will die as soon as the first frosts arrive. 

Here are some great autumn perennials to look out for in September and October.

It’s easy to inject fresh colour and vigour into your borders in early autumn by planting some hardy perennials in full bloom.

Michaelmas daisies

Michaelmas daisies (Symphyotrichum) have simple daisy blooms in shades of white, blue and pink. Plant them in flower in the middle or back of borders, where they can take over from early summer perennials growing in front. Discover 12 michaelmas daisies to grow.


Ice plants

As well as succulent leaves, Hylotelephium spectabile produces pretty pink flowers. Bees and butterflies love this late supply of nectar. Varieties are available in several sizes, with green, grey or purple-tinged foliage. Plant at the front of the border.


Japanese anemones

Japanese anemones are stately perennials that enjoy full sun or partial shade, gradually spreading once established. Add plenty of compost to the planting hole to encourage their fibrous roots to grow deeply, and keep them well watered. Good for the middle or back of the border.



With fluffy blue flowers and aromatic leaves, caryopteris grow to 1m tall and likes a warm, sheltered spot. The flowers attract bees and butterflies. When planting, tease out the roots if they look congested.


Chinese blue gentian

Gentiana sino-ornata is a low-growing hardy perennial that produces rich blue trumpets over a spreading carpet of green leaves. It needs acid soil – if you don’t have this, then grow it in a shallow pot of ericaceous compost.