If you want autumn colour in a small space, look no further. There are a host of gorgeous plants that look their best right now, and that are perfect for growing in even the tiniest of gardens – many will even thrive in pots. Here, we share the loveliest plants that are guaranteed to brighten up your garden this month. There's something to suit every space, including show-stopping blooms and unusual delights. Our choices include recommendations from the Gardeners' World team and across the gardening industry.

Find more October inspiration:

Rosa glauca

Rosa glauca chosen by Frances Tophill
Rosa glauca is a vigorous rose that's great for attracting wildlife to your garden

Chosen by Frances Tophill, Gardeners' World presenter

I love a rose, usually for its scent, but the glauca, is probably the most attractive rose, with a delicate, weeping habit, blue foliage and soft, pink, single flowers. The scent is mild, but the hips are edible and useful in syrup for their immune-boosting powers.

Panicum ‘Northwind’

Panicum 'North Wind' chosen by Nick Bailey
Panicum 'Northwind' is unusually upright and narrow making it ideal for smaller spaces

Chosen by Nick Bailey, Gardeners' World presenter

Broad of blade and vase-like in form this dense grass carries attractive blue-green leaves through summer. Reaching some 1.8m it makes for a brilliant seasonal hedge, transitioning in autumn to striking yellow and orange tones, which hold well till Christmas.

Single dahlias

Dahlia Twinings Revel chosen by Arit Anderson
Single varieties of dahlia, like this, provide a valuable source of nectar for pollinating insects

Chosen by Arit Anderson, Gardeners' World presenter

I love dahlias. I used a variety called 'Hawaiian Sunrise' in my 2021 Chelsea Show Garden, it was the end of September and the lower sunlight levels brought out the delicate warm apricot tones of this single dahlia variety. Keep deadheading until the frosts to ensure late nectar for pollinators.

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Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea

Molinia caerulea subsp. Arundinacea chosen by Errol Reuben Fernandes
Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea will self-seed when growing happily, without being invasive

Chosen by Errol Reuben Fernandes, The Great Garden Revolution presenter

Known as tall moor-grass, this is my favourite of all the grasses. With quite a small footprint, you can always find space for it. It arches over other plants creating a transparent veil that animates the display. In later October, the foliage turns the most glorious buttery yellow tones before collapsing. No cutting back required, it can be left as a mulch or simply gathered and taken to the compost.

Dahlia 'Penhill Watermelon'

Dahlia Penhill Watermelon chosen by Hazel Gardiner
Dahlia 'Penhill Watermelon' has huge, striking blooms on plants around 1.3m tall

Chosen by Hazel Gardiner, floral designer

Living in London, without harsh frosts, means dahlias have multiplied in my garden over the years. As a designer, colour is key and these spectacular dusky pink and apricot beauties are a delight. A florist cut-and-repeat favourite, they continually bring smiles inside and outside my home.

Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’

Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' chosen by Louise Curley
Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' has vibrant pink flowers, borne on bare stems, in spring

Chosen by Louise Curley, author of The Cut Flower Patch

Known as the Judas tree, I eagerly anticipate the moment this tree’s reddish-purple, heart-shaped leaves start to take on dramatic shades of ruby, amber and gold as the days shorten. I planted it so that it’s backlit by the setting sun for a truly spectacular display.

Symphyotrichum ericoides 'Pink Cloud'

Symphyotrichum ericoides Pink Cloud chosen by Cel Robertson
Symphyotrichum 'Pink Cloud' is herbaceous, around 80cm tall and has tiny, delicate flowers

Chosen by Cel Robertson, founder of Forever Green Flower Company

A mildew-resistant aster that is a star of the October border. It can get quite big, so give it the Chelsea Chop treatment in May. It makes a great cut flower for the vase too!

Salvia 'Hot Lips'

Salvia Hot Lips chosen by Catherine Mansley
Salvia 'Hot Lips' has arresting bi-coloured flowers and tiny leaves, which turn red in autumn

Chosen by Catherine Mansley, GardenersWorld.com deputy editor

Salvias are great-value plants, flowering for months with virtually no input required from the gardener. And Salvia 'Hot Lips' has to be one of the most cheery. One of my neighbours grows it as a low hedge in their front garden, and you can't help but smile as you walk past. If it's too garish for your tastes, try its cousin, 'Amethyst Lips'.

Nerine bowdenii

Nerine bowdenii chosen by Lily Middleton
Nerines grow well in pots as they like good drainage and flower best when their roots are congested

Chosen by Lily Middleton, GardenersWorld.com content producer

There's a touch of melancholy in the air as we approach the darker, colder months and much of the garden fades, that's why I love Nerine bowdenii for a late burst of colour. The bright pink, lily-like flowers are a welcome addition to the autumn garden.

Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Moudry'

Pennisetum 'Moudry' chosen by Oliver Parsons
Known as Chinese fountain grass, this deciduous grass looks great in pots or drifts in a border

Chosen by Oliver Parsons, Gardeners' World Magazine sub editor

I fell in love with this one as a trainee with the RHS – enormous bottle-brush flowerheads, emerging as an explosion from what can be (if the plant is really well established) a massive clump of elegant grassy foliage. It needs cutting back to a neat mound in late winter or early spring – one for the hedge trimmer!