September can be a tricky time in the garden, as summer flowers have faded, and shrubs and trees aren't yet displaying their autumn finery. But there are a host of gorgeous plants that look their best right now. 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 September inspiration:

Devil's bit scabious

Succisa pratensis, devil's bit scabious
Growing to 75cm tall, devil's bit scabious thrives in damp soil in partial shade, and attracts bees and butterflies. Photo: Getty Images

Chosen by Arit Anderson, Gardeners' World presenter

When you see this British native planted en masse it's a such a joy. The lilac pin-cushion flowers of Succisa pratensis look as if they are floating, when the sway in the breeze. This plant is great for a wildlife garden, while also offering late colour.

Sorbus aria

Sorbus aria chosen by Frances Tophill
Whitebeams are loved by birds and bees and even provide food for caterpillars. Photo: Getty Images

Chosen by Frances Tophill, Gardeners' World presenter

I love trees, especially if they provide for wildlife, which whitebeam does, bearing spring flowers and autumn berries. There is something about the gnarled appearance and botanical oddities (there are many rare species endemic to different regions) that make this tree special.


Persicaria chosen by James Alexander Sinclair
Persicarias are fast-growing perennials, with spires of vibrant flowers, thriving in damp soil, in sun or partial shade

Chosen by James Alexander-Sinclair, BBC Gardeners' World Magazine columnist

A plant that works as excellent ground cover while flowering for ages? Yes please. The leaves of persicaria may look a bit like docks and it is undoubtedly a bit of a spreader, but sometimes we all need a pretty thug.

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Hydrangea 'Blue Wave'

Hydrangea Blue Wave, chosen by Toby Buckland
Hydrangea 'Blue Wave' makes a great cut flower and will have blue flowers if grown in acid soil

Chosen by Toby Buckland, director of Toby's Garden Festival

September is hydrangea time, when my favourite, ‘Blue Wave’, is getting into its stride. The blue lacecap flowers look so delicate but last long into winter, tinting through mauve and purple before drying to driftwood white.

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Actaea chosen by Louise Curley
Actaea thrive in a shady spot, and their spires of white flowers shoot up to 1.8m tall

Chosen by Louise Curley, author of The Cut Flower Patch

I love the backdrop of dark foliage this perennial provides throughout summer and the stately stems topped with bottlebrush-like, white flowers, but for me the best attribute of actaea has to be its sweet scent, which is an unexpected treat at this time of year.


Pennisetum chosen by Cel Robertson
The flowerheads of pennisetum, or fountain grass, add drama to autumn borders

Chosen by Cel Robertson, founder of Forever Green Flower Company

Pennisetum is one of my favourite grasses, especially varieties like 'Dark Desire' – the dark plume-like flowerheads bring a touch of drama to the autumn garden. Easy to grow, I love to cut them to use either fresh or dried in floral arrangements.

Echinacea purpurea

Echinacea purpurea chosen by Adam Duxbury
Also known as coneflowers, echinaceas are loved by bees and look fantastic grown with other daisies and ornamental grasses

Chosen by Adam Duxbury, BBC Gardeners' World Magazine features editor

I love how much joy echinaceas bring to the garden at this time of year. If you have a sunny spot and free-draining soil, bring some prairie style to your borders in colours ranging from hot pink to sunshine yellow.

Rosa 'Desdemona'

Rosa 'Desdemona' chosen by Catherine Mansley
Rosa 'Desdemona' is a strongly scented shrub rose that can be grown in a border or a large container

Chosen by Catherine Mansley, deputy editor

From the start of summer to the end of autumn, this shrub rose never stops flowering. The voluptuous flowers of Rosa 'Desdemona' are deliciously lemon scented and produced in such abundance that the ground below becomes a carpet of fallen petals.


Aster chosen by Lucy Felton
New England Asters, now properly called Symphyotrichum, have large flowers in shades of pink, blue, purple or white

Chosen by Lucy Felton, BBC Gardeners' World Magazine content coordinator

I caught the aster bug because Waterperry Gardens, which is renowned for growing asters, is just down the road from us in the Chiltern Hills. I pick up a new variety each year and like to have twin planters by the front door, offering cheery waves of pink and lilac, star-shaped ‘Michaelmas daisies’ throughout September.


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