What to Plant in the Fall for a Bountiful Garden

full frame of pink, yellow, white, orange, yellow, and red chrysanthemum flowers

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The end of summer means that many of our favorite plants are winding down for the year—but don't put away your gardening gear just yet. Plenty of flowers, vegetables, and other plants shine in fall's cooler weather. Other plants, like spring bulbs and garlic, should be planted in fall so they can grow the following spring.

Here are 10 of our favorite flowers and veggies to plant in fall.

01 of 10

Chrysanthemums

full frame of pink, yellow, white, orange, yellow, and red chrysanthemum flowers

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  • Botanical Name: Chrysanthemum morifolium
  • Soil Type: Rich, moist soil
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil pH: 5.7 - 6.2

Few flowers symbolize autumn like colorful chrysanthemums. Plant these cheery perennials outdoors in spring, late summer, or early fall to enjoy shades of white, pink, red, yellow, or purple. You can also keep them in containers to decorate your porch or patio.

02 of 10

Pansies

closeup of yellow, burgundy, white, and purple pansy flowers

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  • Botanical Name: Viola × wittrockiana
  • Soil Type: Well-drained soil
  • Sun Exposure: Full to part sun
  • Soil pH: 5.4 - 5.8

These versatile cool-weather annuals are some of the first flowers we plant in spring, but they're just as well suited to your fall gardening plan. Put them in window boxes or planters, plant them around your mailbox, or use them as bedding plants to fill in spaces between annuals and shrubs.

03 of 10

Kale

deep green lacinato or tuscan kale plants growing outdoors in garden

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  • Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea
  • Soil Type: Rich, moist, well-drained soil
  • Sun Exposure: Full to part sun
  • Soil pH: 6.0 - 7.5

Why buy kale at the store when you can grow your own fresh, organic kale at home? Sow kale seeds as early as mid-July in cooler climates or as late as mid-September in places with hot summers.

For an easier, quicker crop, plant kale starts six to eight weeks before your area's first frost date.

04 of 10

Lettuce

green, red, and brown lettuce varieties in wooden raised gardening box with wooden crates in background

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  • Botanical Name: Lactuca sativa
  • Soil Type: Rich, well-drained soil
  • Sun Exposure: Full to part sun
  • Soil pH: 6.0 - 7.0

Enjoy fresh salads throughout the fall with your own bed or container of crisp, cool weather-loving lettuces. Start planting from seed in August. Sow successive crops every two weeks for additional harvests, or look for cut-and-come-again seed varieties like Red Salad Bowl, Black-Seeded Simpson, and Red Sails that will regrow if you cut the leaves and keep the crown and roots intact.

05 of 10

Tulips

closeup of red, purple, yellow, and pink tulips in garden

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  • Botanical Name: Tulipa spp.
  • Soil Type: Rich, well-drained soil
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil pH: 6.0 - 6.5

Plant tulips in fall to enjoy future flowers in the spring. Because tulip bulbs need an extended period of cold weather, they're best planted between September (cold climates) and November (warm climates). Wear gardening gloves when handling tulip bulbs, as they contain a chemical that can irritate skin.

06 of 10

Cosmos

full frame of white, pink, and fuchsia cosmo flowers with yellow centers, dark red stems, and green feathery leaves outdoors in garden

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  • Botanical Name: Cosmos bipinnatus
  • Soil Type: Well-drained soil
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil pH: 6.0 - 6.8

A sprinkling of cosmos seeds in the fall will give you a riot of beautiful color in spring. Sow seeds after a few hard frosts in your region to ensure that the seeds stay dormant until the soil warms in spring weather. In the southern United States, cosmos can be invasive because of how readily reseed, so it's best to keep them in planters rather than sowing them in the ground.

07 of 10

Broccoli

closeup of head of broccoli growing in garden with leaves and stems

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  • Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea var. italica
  • Soil Type: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil pH: 6.0 - 7.0

Yes, it is possible to grow your very own broccoli at home! Sow seeds outdoors in late summer or early fall depending on your growing zone—about three months before your region's first frost date. In warmer climates, broccoli may do better as a spring crop.

08 of 10

Black-Eyed Susan

full frame closeup of bright yellow rudbeckia flowers with dark brown centers against green leaves and red stems

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  • Botanical Name: Rudbeckia hirta
  • Soil Type: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil pH: 6.8 - 7.7

These easy-to-grow perennials offer a bright pop of color with little maintenance. Plant black-eyed Susans in late summer or early fall so that they have time to establish roots before winter. Deadhead faded flowers regularly to keep plants blooming longer.

09 of 10

Garlic

closeup of white and purple striped garlic bulbs with trimmed roots hanging up by their stems

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  • Botanical Name: Allium sativum
  • Soil Type: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil pH: 6.0 - 7.0

Growing this kitchen staple in your own garden is a surprisingly easy, hands-off DIY project. Purchase seed garlic or purchase organic garlic from a local farmer. Plant individual cloves pointy side up at least three weeks before your region's first frost date, then cover them with a few inches of straw or hay to protect them over winter. They'll sprout in the spring and be ready to harvest in early to midsummer.

10 of 10

Asters

full frame closeup of purple aster flowers with yellow and orange centers

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  • Botanical Name: Symphyotrichum
  • Soil Type: Rich, well-drained soil
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil pH: 5.0 - 6.5

Because vibrant purple asters bloom after most flowers have faded for the season, they're a great addition to any garden (and pollinators love them for that reason, too). Plant asters any time from spring through early fall so that they have time to establish themselves before cold weather hits. Divide plants every three years or so to keep them healthy, discarding the center of the plant if there are no shoots growing from it.