Plants for late summer colour

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Here is a selection of our favourite plants for extending colour in your garden well into autumn. Visit us for inspiration and solutions for instant colour.

Hydrangeas are perfect for filling gaps and providing bold splashes of colour from late summer through to Autumn.

  • Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Zorro’ is stunning grown in groups in a mixed border or as an informal hedge.
  • Or choose one of the more unusual Hydrangeas with ‘lacecap’ or conical flowers. 
  • Hydrangea paniculata ‘Magical Starlight’ and Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ are two favourites.
  • Quercifolia type Hydrangeas also offer attractive autumn colour.
  • For something very different try our Hydrangea aspera ‘Hot Chocolate’.
Hydrangea aspera


  • Achillea
  • Coreopsis
  • Echinacea
  • Geum
  • Helenium
  • Penstemon
  • Rudbeckia
  • Salvias
  • Scabiosa
  • Verbena bonariensis
Achillea ‘Terracotta’


Deciduous shrubs and small trees make great feature plants in a mixed border where their foliage often changes colour in autumn. By including some low maintenance evergreen shrubs you’ll add structure and year round interest, such as this Pittosporum tobira (below).

Pittosporum tobira

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses such as Miscanthus sinensis add height, movement and atmosphere providing the perfect backdrop to flowering perennials for a stunning finale to the late summer border. Effective planting partners include long flowering perennials Achillea (Yarrow), Penstemon, Echinacea purpurea and Verbena bonariensis.

Verbena bonariensis
Miscanthus sinensis

Evergreen Grasses add a unique atmosphere to the garden and provide interest all year. Try Anemanthele lessoniana or Carex testacea ‘Prairie Fire’ with perennial Achillea ‘Terracotta’ for a hot combination or the neat silver grass Festuca glauca with blue Agapanthus for cooler hues. Then simply sit back and enjoy!

Festuca glauca

Hydrangeas look particularly stunning grown in groups at the back of a mixed border or as an informal hedge, set amongst ornamental grasses.

Low maintenance Prairie style planting with perennials and grasses is growing in popularity

In terms of colour, think dusky pinks and burnt oranges to take you through to early autumn.

Orange Helenium in flower

Jobs for July

  • Deadhead bedding plants
  • Dead-head your roses to keep them looking tidy. Leave the flowers in place if your rose produces attractive hips (seed pods)
  • Arrange care for plants while on holiday (adjust irrigation system if got one/ ask friends or relatives to water the plants and keep an eye on the soil moisture)
  • Water pots and new plants if dry, but be water-wise
  • Prune your deciduous Magnolia
  • Clear algae, blanket weeds and debris from ponds, and keep them topped up
  • Give the lawn a quick-acting summer feed, especially if not given a spring feed
  • Stop rust damaging Hollyhock foliage by pruning out affected leaves and/ or spraying with a fungicide
  • July is a good month to spray ground elder, bindweed and other persistent weeds with a glyphosate-based weed killer the plants during high summer have lots of leaf surface area with which to absorb it
  • Spray roses with insecticide and fungicide
Water pots and new plants if dry, but be water-wise

For ideas and advice contact or visit us at The Big Plant Nursery and ask about our popular  ‘At Home’ Consultancy Service if you are not sure where to start.