Spruce up your container gardens this fall by replacing those summer annuals with plants that thrive in cooler temperatures. Fall is a missed opportunity for gardening in containers and now is the time to refresh your summer containers with plants that provide color and interest beyond the first frost.
Cool season annuals like pansies, snapdragons, ornamental kale and cabbage are easy choices and readily available at any garden center. Mums are another obvious choice and provide a burst of fall color but don’t limit your plant palate to this small group of common fall plants. There is great diversity in plants for fall containers including herbs, perennials, grasses, shrubs, and small trees each adding a unique design element. Most herbs make excellent container plants and rosemary, thyme, parsley, oregano, and sage look fresh through fall and into winter the months and can be used to season your Thanksgiving meal. Bugle weed (Ajuga), coral bells (Heuchera), creeping jenny (Lysmachia), germander (Teucrium), heartleaf bergenia (Bergenia), hardy geranium (Geranium) and spurge (Sedum) are just a few of the many perennials that are great container plants with interesting fall foliage. And using perennials can save you money since you don’t have to replant annually. Ornamental grasses are another option adding vertical interest and texture. Stems of red twig dogwood (Cornus), contorted filbert (Corylus), or corkscrew willow (Salix) can also be incorporated for upright interest.
When designing a mixed container consider including plants with varied interest: vertical, mounding, and trailing. The combinations are only limited by your imagination and plant availability. Have fun designing and planting your fall containers.