Three Not-So-Usual Flowers for Fall & Winter


Violas, cyclamen, and ornamental kale are typical recommendations for fall gardens. But what if you’re looking for a different, more unique look this fall? I’ve got three suggestions, and I invite you to share your favorite fall flowers in the comments. Together we should be able to make a pretty good list!


Calendulas look like ruffled daisies and provide a punch of color from late fall through spring in mild-winter climates. They’re also great as cut flowers because their flowers last a long time. Plants get to be about 12-18 inches tall and wide. They like  full sun and prefer to dry out before watering again.

One of my favorite varieties is ‘Zeolight.’ It’s flowers change from bronzy orange petals and fade to a delicate light pink.


Hellebores add sparkle to the garden at a time of year when few other things are blooming. They have either downward or upward facing flowers, although the upward facing ones are becoming more popular. The flowers come double or single, and in a wide variety of sophisticated-looking colors. They take full shade or part sun and like fast-draining potting mix. Water regularly.

A grower I met at the Garden Writers Symposium told me that Europeans like giving hellebores as hostess gifts that can be planted in the garden after the plants are done blooming. Sounds wonderful to me.

Check out a variety called ‘Onyx Odyssey’ that has double black flowers. The flowers hold their deepest-purple color for three months or more. Stunning.



Helenium–their less appetizing common name is ‘Sneezeweed’–look like sunset-colored coneflowers. Plants form an attractive clump that will be completely covered in flowers. And they’re great for forgetful gardeners because they won’t protest too much if you miss a watering or two and are fine without fertilizing.

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