Best Fall Flowers for the Northeast

These spectacular bloomers enliven Northeastern gardens with fall color and drama.


Short days and crisp nights transform leadplant (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, Zones 6-9) into a scarlet canvas that echoes the fiery autumn landscape above it. This groundcover's startling blue flowers sparkle above its blushing leaves.

Purple-leaf smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria, Zones 5-8) is well-known for clouds of long-lasting frothy flower plumes, but it also shines for its fall foliage. Variety 'Velvet Cloak' has purple-pink blooms and deep red fall color. 'Royal Purple' starts with red spring foliage that turns purple by summer, then transforms into a magnificent display of red, orange, and yellow in autumn. Dwarf Fothergilla gardenii 'Mount Airy' (Zones 5-9) is another fall foliage superstar. The foliage turns apricot, crimson, and gold.

For jewel-like fall blooms, plant clusters of Colchicum bulbs, also known as autumn crocus, among shrubs. Colchicum flowers appear like magic in early- to mid-autumn, long after their spring foliage has gone dormant. Flowers range from pure white to pink, blue, and rosy purple, depending on the variety, and are larger than spring-blooming crocus. Colchicum autumnale 'Alboplenum' has plush white blooms that resemble water lilies, and Colchicum 'The Giant' features 10- to 12-inch- tall violet flowers.

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Smoke tree



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