Once the cool, crisp evening air arrives in autumn and pumpkin spice cycles back to the market, porch flower planters become a staple of every household. The relentless heat of summer made it difficult to give your container plantings enough water to make up for the constant scorch of the summer sun. Thankfully, the autumn sun is much more forgiving and your container garden can reemerge with a plethora of foliage, fruit, and blooms.
Fall Container Plant Ideas
Mixed Planter Elements
1. Thriller: Tall, centerpiece element of your mixed planter.
Ornamental grasses, cordyline, evergreen shrubs, flowering perennials with an upright growth habit
2. Filler: Dense foliage and flowers fill in empty space.
Any plant with ornamental interest or a mounding growth habit
3. Spiller: Cascades over the side of the pot.
Any plant with a sprawling growth habit
1. Little Zebra Grass
Little Zebra Grass is an ornamental grass that has grown in popularity tremendously in recent years. It is a clump forming grass with attractive green and white striped foliage that grows best in well drained soils and full sun.
2. Dwarf Fountain Grass
Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln'
Dwarf Fountain Grass makes a spectacular “thriller” element to your fall container plant. Its arching, dense green foliage is highlighted by fluffy plumes and transitions to a beautiful golden color in fall. This ornamental grass can grow up to 3 feet tall and prefers environments with full sun.
The electric plumes of Celosia make this annual an eye-catching container plant. It grows up to 18 inches tall and will make a statement in mixed planters placed at your entryway or in your container garden. This showy accent plant comes in many different colors and holds its color well in full sun.
This beautiful fall annual is easy to grow and blooms brightly throughout the season. It comes in a plethora of colors and upright Marigold can grow up to 3 feet tall producing huge pom pom flowers. These plants are very low maintenance and bloom even in direct sunlight.
5. Hot Peppers
Hot peppers are relatively carefree plants that make adorable container plants. They come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. They require well drained dry soil and it is better to avoid watering the foliage when possible. Peppers can be prone to disease so if you are planting it in a mixed planter, keep its needs in mind when selecting the other plants to combine.
6. Ornamental Kale
Kale plants are showy additions to mixed fall planters. The color intensifies as the weather cools and can tolerate cold season weather. Cabbage kale is an extremely popular option for container plants due to its decorative foliage and hardy disposition.
Mums are the most popular container plant for fall and an essential element to get you in the mood for the season. Their gorgeous blooms are sun loving and come in a variety of colors. If you are using mostly green foliage in your mixed planter, mums add a pop of color and bloom all season long.
8. Lamb's Ear
Stachys bysantina, also known as lamb’s ear, will add soft texture to your fall container garden. Its silvery green leaves and dense foliage make an excellent “filler” element to mixed planters. It prefers full sun but appreciates afternoon shade in the heat of summer. Avoid overwatering lamb’s ear as its leaves trap moisture and can rot if the soil is saturated too long.
9. Creeping Jenny
Creeping Jenny is one of the most popular “spiller” elements of mixed planters. It is a yellow-green perennial that holds its bright lime color best when placed in full sun. Its trailing fountain-like foliage cascades down hanging baskets and urns. It is considered invasive so keep that in mind when planting in a container, as it has the capacity to spread quickly, overtaking your garden.
The tiny white flowers and light and airy growth habit make Euphorbia graminea a whimsical addition to mixed containers. Its foliage will drape down the edges of your planter and its heat tolerance adds vibrance to your container garden when many other plants are looking tired from summer’s relentless heat.
11. Moonbeam Tickseed
Coreopsis moonbeam is a perennial with sunshine yellow daisy-like flowers that bloom on wiry stems. When planted in containers, it billows over the edges in an unpredictable cluster of foliage and abundant flowers. It thrives in full sun and can grow up to 18 inches tall.
Petunia × atkinsiana
Petunias thrive in mixed planters and hanging baskets, with their gorgeous blooms and bright green foliage trailing down the sides. They have a long flowering period and require full sun to thrive. Make sure your planter has plenty of drainage because these plants are prone to root rot when the soil is overly saturated.
Watch as Patuxent Nursery’s Annual Expert Flo is walks you through how to create the perfect fall planter!