11 Michigan Perennials You Can Plant This Fall

11 Michigan Perennials You Can Plant This Fall

Fall Planting With Michigan Perennials

Many people consider spring and early summer as the prime planting season in Michigan. You can safely plant many plants all the way through fall! You can still plant in your yard this year if there are areas you want to landscape.

In this article, we review our top 11 perennials for fall planting in Michigan. We chose these plants based on their ability to quickly establish roots and their hardiness to Michigan’s harsh winter weather, and most of them grow right here in our own back yard!

(Featured Image: A Michigan Landscape by Bright Lane Gardens)

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Plant These 11 Michigan Perennials This Fall!

1. Coneflower

Coneflower, known as Echinacea, is a genus of flowering plants renowned for their captivating beauty and medicinal properties. Among the most popular species is Echinacea purpurea, featuring striking daisy-like flowers with eye-catching, cone-shaped centers, which can range from deep purple to various shades of pink and white. These showy flowers bloom during summer and attract an array of pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, enhancing the biodiversity of gardens.

Besides their ornamental value, coneflowers have been used for centuries in herbal medicine for their potential immune-boosting properties. Their ability to thrive in different garden settings, resistance to pests and diseases, and overall low maintenance requirements make coneflowers a beloved choice for both seasoned and novice gardeners, adding splashes of color and ecological significance to landscapes.

To learn more and view purchasing options for Coneflower, click here!

A bee lands on a purple coneflower after being planted in the fall in Michigan.

Bee On Coneflower

2. Little Bluestem Grass

Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) is a native warm-season grass that adds a touch of rustic charm and natural beauty to landscapes. Growing in clumps with slender, upright stems, it reaches heights of 2 to 4 feet, showcasing silvery-blue to green leaves that turn to warm shades of copper, bronze, and burgundy in the fall, creating a stunning display.

Little Bluestem is drought-tolerant and thrives in a variety of soil conditions, making it ideal for prairies, meadows, and wildflower gardens. Its feathery seed heads emerge in late summer and persist throughout winter, providing essential food for birds and adding visual interest to the winter landscape. This versatile grass requires minimal maintenance and serves as a habitat for various wildlife, making it a popular choice for both ornamental and ecological purposes.

To view purchasing options for Little Bluestem Grass, click here!

Little Bluestem Grass by White Sands NPS

3. Dappled Willow

Dappled Willow (Salix integra ‘Hakuro Nishiki’) is a captivating deciduous shrub known for its stunning variegated foliage and graceful, weeping habit. The leaves display an enchanting blend of pink, green, and white, creating a striking dappled effect that lends an air of elegance to any landscape. During spring, delicate pink catkins appear, further enhancing its beauty.

Dappled Willow is a fast-growing shrub that can reach heights of 6 to 10 feet, making it an excellent choice for hedging, borders, or as a focal point in the garden. It thrives in moist, well-draining soil and tolerates both full sun and partial shade. With its eye-catching appearance and ease of care, the dappled willow is a popular and rewarding addition to any garden design.

Click here to view purchasing options for Dappled Willow!

The beautiful dappled willow makes a great fall addition to Michigan landscapes.

Dappled Willow by Bright Lane Gardens

4. Brilliance Autumn Fern

The Brilliance Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’) is a captivating and versatile perennial fern that adds a splash of vibrant color to shaded garden spots. This semi-evergreen fern showcases new fronds that emerge in a striking coppery-red hue, creating a breathtaking contrast against the mature, glossy green foliage. As the season progresses, the fronds transition to a lustrous, dark green, maintaining their beauty throughout the year.

The Brilliance Autumn Fern thrives in partial to full shade and prefers well-draining, consistently moist soil. Its compact and clumping habit makes it an excellent choice for borders, woodland gardens, or as a striking accent in containers. With its resilience, ease of care, and ability to brighten shady corners, this fern brings a touch of elegance and visual interest to any landscape.

To view purchasing options and learn more about Brilliance Autumn Fern, click here!

The golden tones of the autumn brilliance fern are a perfect option for fall planting in Michigan.

Fall Fern

5. Shasta Daisy

The Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum) is a timeless and beloved perennial that exudes pure charm and grace in the garden. With its iconic white petals surrounding a bright yellow center, resembling a cheerful sunburst, this daisy variety adds a touch of classic beauty to any landscape. Shasta daisies bloom profusely from late spring through summer, attracting butterflies and bees with their sweet nectar.

These hardy perennials prefer full sun but can tolerate partial shade and thrive in well-draining soil. With their sturdy stems and long-lasting blooms, Shasta daisies are perfect for cut flower arrangements. Whether used in borders, cottage gardens, or wildflower meadows, the Shasta Daisy effortlessly brings a sense of nostalgia and warmth to outdoor spaces, making it a perennial favorite among gardeners of all ages.

For more information on Shasta Daisy, and to view purchasing options, click here!

Bright white Shasta Daisy with multiple blooms. This Michigan perennial can be planted in the fall.

Shasta Daisy by L. Raymond

6. Endless Summer Hydrangea

The Endless Summer Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Endless Summer’) is a remarkable and innovative hydrangea cultivar that has captured the hearts of gardeners worldwide. This deciduous shrub stands out for its unique ability to produce both old wood and new wood blooms, resulting in an extended blooming season that can last from late spring to fall. Its large, mophead flowers are a sight to behold, ranging in colors from pink, blue, and purple to vibrant shades of violet, depending on soil pH.

The Endless Summer Hydrangea thrives in partial shade and prefers well-draining soil rich in organic matter. Its adaptability and versatility make it suitable for various garden settings, whether used as a stunning focal point, hedge, or container plant. With its continuous and abundant blooms, this exceptional hydrangea variety promises a season-long display of beauty and charm, making it a cherished addition to any landscape.

Click here to view purchasing options for Endless Summer Hydrangea!

The beautiful purple blue hues of endless summer hydrangea make it a great fall planting option in Michigan.

Endless Summer Hydrangea planted in fall fastgrowingtrees.sjv.io/Pyb6AR

7. Karl Foerster Grass

Karl Foerster Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’) is a striking ornamental grass celebrated for its elegant and commanding presence in the landscape. This clumping, perennial grass features tall, slender stems that soar upwards, reaching heights of 4 to 5 feet. Its feathery, wheat-colored flower plumes emerge in early summer, creating a breathtaking vertical display that sways gracefully in the wind.

Karl Foerster Grass is highly versatile and adaptable, thriving in a variety of soil types and tolerating both full sun and partial shade. Its drought tolerance and low maintenance requirements make it a popular choice for naturalistic plantings, borders, or as a striking accent in garden beds. With its timeless beauty and year-round visual interest, Karl Foerster Grass stands as a quintessential grass choice, adding texture, movement, and a touch of sophistication to any garden design.

To view purchasing options for Karl Foerster Grass, click here!

Karl Foerster Grass has fast growing roots that make it a great perennial to plant in the fall with good erosion control.

Karl Foerster Grass fastgrowingtrees.sjv.io/KjzZ2e

8. May Night Salvia

May Night Salvia (Salvia nemorosa ‘May Night’) is a captivating and perennial herbaceous plant that enchants with its profusion of deep violet-blue flowers and aromatic foliage. This compact and bushy salvia variety blooms abundantly in late spring to early summer, creating a stunning display that attracts bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to the garden. Its slender, upright stems reach heights of 18 to 24 inches, making it an ideal choice for borders, edging, or mass plantings.

May Night Salvia prefers full sun and well-draining soil and is relatively drought-tolerant once established. With its exceptional deer resistance and low maintenance needs, this resilient and hardy perennial is an excellent addition to any garden, bringing a burst of color and life to the landscape year after year.

Click here to learn more about May Night Salvia and to view available purchasing options!

Salvia's bright purple plumes of flowers are striking in any landscape. These make a great option for fall planting in Michigan.

May Night Salvia fastgrowingtrees.sjv.io/m5G20a

9. White Pussy Willow

White Pussy Willow (Salix discolor) is a striking and enchanting deciduous shrub renowned for its soft and fluffy catkins, which emerge in early spring before its leaves unfurl. These eye-catching catkins are a silvery-white color, resembling soft, furry paws, and add a touch of elegance and charm to the garden. The slender, flexible branches are often used in floral arrangements and crafts, making the White Pussy Willow a popular choice for indoor décor.

This hardy and adaptable shrub thrives in moist to wet soil and can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions, including full sun to partial shade. Its ability to withstand cold temperatures and its early spring blooming make it a beloved harbinger of the changing seasons, welcoming the arrival of spring with its delightful display of fluffy catkins.

To view purchasing options for White Pussy Willow shrubs, click here!

Some shrubs, like White Pussy Willow, can be planted in the fall for early spring growth in Michigan.

White Pussy Willow fastgrowingtrees.sjv.io/LX2ZEL

10. Blue Pacific Juniper

The Blue Juniper (Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’) is a captivating evergreen shrub celebrated for its striking silvery-blue foliage and compact, globe-shaped form. This slow-growing and low-maintenance shrub typically reaches a height of 2 to 3 feet with a similar spread, making it an ideal choice for small gardens, rockeries, or as an accent in larger landscapes. Its dense, needle-like leaves create a beautiful blue hue that retains its color throughout the year, adding visual interest and a touch of serenity to any setting.

The Blue Juniper is drought-tolerant and prefers full sun, though it can also tolerate some shade. With its exceptional deer resistance and ability to thrive in various soil types, this resilient and versatile shrub is a cherished addition to gardens, providing year-round beauty and evergreen elegance.

Click here to look at purchasing options and to learn more information about Pacific Blue Juniper.

Juniper shrubs can be planted in fall successfully in Michigan, with new growth starting the following spring.

Pacific Blue Juniper fastgrowingtrees.sjv.io/DK3kMo

11. Palace Purple Heuchera

Palace Purple Heuchera (Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’) is an exquisite and beloved perennial known for its stunning foliage and versatility in the garden. This compact, mound-forming plant showcases large, deeply lobed leaves in rich shades of deep burgundy and purple, creating a regal and striking display. Its foliage maintains its vibrant color throughout the growing season, adding a bold and contrasting element to garden beds, borders, and containers. In late spring to early summer,

Palace Purple Heuchera produces delicate, creamy-white flowers on slender stems, attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies. This hardy and shade-tolerant perennial thrives in well-draining soil and can tolerate a range of light conditions, making it suitable for various garden settings. With its low maintenance needs and year-round visual appeal, Palace Purple Heuchera stands as a cherished and treasured addition to any garden, adding elegance and sophistication to the landscape.

To view Palace Purple Heuchera purchasing options, click here!

Heuchera, or coral bells, is a Michigan perennial that can be planted in the fall season to bloom the following spring.

Purple Heuchera fastgrowingtrees.sjv.io/AWjEYx

Is There An Advantage To Planting Perennials In The Fall?

While many people associate spring with planting flowers and perennials, fall is an excellent time for planting certain perennial species. In fact, planting perennials in the fall offers some advantages:

  • Root Establishment: Perennials planted in the fall have a chance to establish their root systems before winter sets in. Cooler weather and more moisture help roots grow, making plants stronger and better prepared for the next growing season.
  • Reduced Stress: Planting in the fall allows perennials to avoid the stress of hot summer temperatures. This can be particularly beneficial for plants that prefer cooler conditions and might struggle during hot summer months.
  • Low Flower Competition: Since many annual flowers have completed their life cycle by fall, there is less competition for resources like sunlight and water. This gives newly planted perennials an advantage in accessing essential resources.
  • Earlier Blooms: Some perennials planted in the fall might have a head start on growth, leading to earlier blooms in the following spring and summer.
  • Seasonal Sales: Garden centers and online plan retailers often offer discounts on plants in the fall, making it a budget-friendly time to purchase and plant perennials.

Things To Keep In Mind With Fall Planting

However, it’s essential to keep a few considerations in mind when planting perennials in the fall:

  • Fertilize For Best Results: Fertilizing freshly planted flowers and shrubs in the fall is essential to faster root growth. Make sure you fertilize before the plant goes dormant for the winter. We use Espoma Organics Plant Tone fertilizer on our fall perennials. We love this granular fertilizer because it gradually breaks down into the soil, giving the plants consistent but gradual nutrients to boost their growth before the winter months.
  • Timing: Aim to plant perennials at least 4-6 weeks before the first hard frost to give them sufficient time to establish roots. In Michigan, this means planting in early to mid-fall.
  • Species Selection: Not all perennials are suitable for fall planting. It’s best to choose hardy perennials that can handle cooler temperatures and are well-adapted to your specific growing zone.
  • Watering: Newly planted perennials require consistent watering until the ground freezes to ensure adequate root establishment.
  • Mulching: Applying a layer of mulch around the newly planted perennials can help protect them during the winter and conserve soil moisture.

As with any gardening activity, it’s important to consider the specific needs and requirements of the perennial species you intend to plant.

Learn More About Planting Perennials In Michigan

Michigan has an ideal growing climate with warm, sunny summers and wet winters. Because of this, there are a wide variety of perennial plants that can grow exceptionally well here. If you are interested in learning more about planting and growing perennials in Michigan, check out one of these helpful guides: