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We often enter October with one foot tentatively in autumn and the other still firmly wedged in late summer. But one way to keep that late summer feeling alight is to choose plants with jewel colour flowers. So, here are my picks of the brightest beauties for October plants.

1. Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (hardy blue-flowered leadwort)

Firstly, for late season front of border ground cover with floral impact you can’t beat this low growing woody perennial. It has red stems covered in bright green leaves turning bright red in autumn. Which look stunning up against the bright blue flower clusters that appear late summer and last until mid-autumn.

  • Flowers in summer and autumn
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 50cm tall and 50cm wide
  • Well-drained or moist but well-drained
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered
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2. Cyclamen hederifolium (ivy-leaved cyclamen)

Continuing the jewel colour front of border theme these truly hardy plants look fab. Especially, dotted amongst other low growing plants. They come in a range of wonderful flower colours including pink and white.  The flowers often appear before the leaves. Which are all individually delicately marked with silver lines making each plant unique. And leaving you with a glorious winter pattern of leaves long after the flowers have faded.

  • Flowers in autumn
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 10cm tall and 50cm wide
  • Well-drained
  • Partial shade
  • Sheltered
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3. Persicaria amplexicaulis (red bistort) ‘Firetail’

Next up is a perennial that throws out long slender spikes topped with crimson-red flowers well into autumn. In addition, it is a good mid-border plant which will quickly form clumps. The flower spikes will also add great vertical interest to the overall planting scheme. Give it plenty of space to truly express itself and you won’t be disappointed.

  • Flowers in summer and autumn
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 1.2m tall and 1m wide
  • Poorly drained or moist but well-drained
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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4. Salvia ‘Amistad’ (sage)

Perennial sages are brilliant for flower borders with their long display of spiky flowers. This variety has superb deep purple-black flowers that would look fantastic paired with the Persicaria. They make great cut flowers and the bees love them too. Deadhead spent flowers regularly to trigger repeat flowering well into mid-autumn. They may need protecting during particularly harsh winters but other than that are usually frost hardy.

  • Flowers in summer to autumn
  • Hardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK
  • Grows to 1.2m tall and 50cm wide
  • Moist but well-drained
  • Full sun
  • Sheltered
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5. Symphyotrichum ‘Little Carlow’ (aster)

No late summer border would be complete without at least one type of aster. ‘Little Carlow’ is covered in masses of small blue-violet daisy type flowers with cheerful bright yellow centres from late summer well into mid-autumn. After flowering has finished, it’s a good idea to cut the stems to just above the ground. Add a layer of well-rotted garden compost or horse manure around the base of the plant to help with flowering the following year.

  • Flowers in autumn
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 90cm tall and 45cm wide
  • Well-drained or moist but well-drained
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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6. Rudbeckia ‘Prairie Glow’ (brown-eyed Susan)

The ultimate in autumn glow. These spectacular large perennial plants truly light up a late summer, early autumn border. With their small daisy cone flowers in multi colour shades of burnt orange and yellow. They have mainly bare upright stems so that the flowers really are the star of the show.

  • Flowers in summer and autumn
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 1m tall and 90cm wide
  • Moist, but well-drained
  • Full sun
  • Sheltered
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7. Gaura lindheimeri ‘The Bride’

For those wanting to add to an informal cottage style garden, this pretty and aptly named perennial fits the bill perfectly.  Its mat of soft foliage contrasts beautifully with long thin stems of delicate white flowers borne over a very long period from early summer into mid-autumn.

  • Flowers in summer and autumn
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 90cm tall and 60cm wide
  • Well-drained
  • Full sun
  • Exposed or sheltered
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8. Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii (beautyberry) ‘Profusion’

This medium size shrub is known and grown for its clusters of purple berries which appear in autumn. For this reason, it’s a good idea to consider growing several plants together to maximise the purple berry impact.  It’s also ideal to grow an early season short height clematis through it for early season interest.

  • Flowers in summer and autumn
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 3m tall and 2.5m wide
  • Well-drained
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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9. Euonymus alatus (winged spindle)

Another shrub similar to Callicarpa, in that most of the year it’s inconspicuous. It benefits from having an early season flowering short climber growing through it. Euonymus reaches its spectacular peak of interest in the autumn. When most of the leaves turn vivid shades of crimson and scarlet.  As they fall, they leave behind brilliantly coloured purple/red fruits which split open to reveal a vivid orange seed in the centre.  It has interestingly marked and formed bark on its stem making it a great specimen tree in a mixed border.

  • Colourful autumn foliage and fruit in autumn
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 2.5m tall and 2.5m wide
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
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10. Helianthus annus ‘Earthwalker’ 

Lastly, this upright annual that can grow to 4m tall is topped with multi-headed flowers. The flowers have a dark brown centre. And its blooms can range from yellows, autumnal orange, red and warm browns. What’s more is that the pollinators will enjoy it too. As the flowers attract bees and other beneficial insects as well as the edible seeds that birds can eat. Therefore, it’s the perfect addition to a wildlife garden.

  • Flowers in summer and autumn
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 4m tall
  • Moist but well-drained
  • Full sun
  • Sheltered
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So, continue to bring colour to your garden with these plants in October that will prolong that summer feeling whilst introducing plenty of autumn colour.

Find out about spring flowering bulbs to plant in autumn:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas:

plant bulbs autumn
Plant bulbs for spring
Pinterest
Pinterest Board


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