1. Home

Fall Container Gardening Ideas and Advice


I think fall is my favorite season (ok, it's hard to beat spring, and summer, well is summer....). I love the way the air smells, wearing sweaters and the fact that you don't swelter working outside. Also the vibrant colors and textures of fall plants make me happy. Here are a collection of ideas and articles from around my website about all things fall.

6. Fall Container Garden Photos

Container Garden Picture of large basket with fall arrangement
Photo © Kerry Michaels

What better way to get ideas than looking at pictures? This photo gallery has everything from succulents to flowering cabbages--some of my favorite fall plants. Also, there are some great container ideas, like covering nursery pots with birch bark and planting them with mums and wirevine.

I also like grouping fall pots, often using purples and pinks, with orange accents thrown in. Asters and mums are ubiquitous and inexpensive during the fall, so it's fun to get lots and mix them with perennials and grasses.

Fall Container Photo Gallery

5. Five Great Plants for Fall

Container garden picture of basket with three flowering cabbage
Photo © Kerry Michaels

While mums and asters are obvious choices for fall (don't get me wrong, I love asters and mums), there are tons of other plants that work in fall pots. Verbena, heurchera, flowering cabbages and kales, oxalis and sedum are five of my favorites. They all will survive and look great well into the cooler months and some will laugh off even extremely cold temperatures.

Try getting experimental with different shapes and textures for fall, and think about color and texture as well as flowers. Since fall containers usually have a shorter lifespan, you can get pretty creative about your containers and have fun without having to worry about keeping the plants alive for a long season.

More info on Plants for Fall Containers

4. Container Gardening Ideas for Fall Into Winter

fall log containers
Photograph © Kerry Michaels

Container gardening in fall and early winter is very different than in the heart of the summer. You (usually) need to water less and there simply isn't as much sunlight. Plants don't grow as fast and many are getting ready to shut down altogether.

Be aware that as the sun moves across the horizon, areas that were in full sun may now be shaded by trees or buildings.

With protection, you can still even grow some greens and edibles and there are lots of herbs that will tough it out through the fall and into the winter. I've dug under the snow to find curly green parsley that looked as good as it did in summer.

For more ideas and information:

8 Tips for Fall and Winter Container Gardening

Fall Container Ideas

3. How Not to Kill Your Mums

fall container garden picture with birch bark covered container holding mums and wirevine
Photo © Kerry Michaels

When I was just starting to garden, I would buy mums in the fall only to have them up and die after about a week. I couldn't believe that every time I turned around their leaves were limp and bedraggled. I'd water them and the same thing would happen again.

Well, now I can keep my mums alive, but it takes some work. I generally re-pot them when I get them home. That way I don't have to be as diligent about keeping them well-hydrated, which can be a rather full-time job if you leave them in their nursery pots.

More Tips on Keeping Mums Alive

I still sometimes leave them in their pots though, if I need a quick decoration (or I'm too lazy or have run out of potting soil). However, I generally put them into another pot to hide the ugly nursery pot.

Suggestions on how to Instantly Create a Container Garden

2. How To Grow Pumpkins in Containers

picture of growing pumpkins in containers
Photograph © Kerry Michaels

For years I assumed that growing pumpkins in containers was too difficult. Not so. It's actually really fun, very impressive and is a great project to do with kids. The vines grow incredibly fast, the leaves lush and the flowers are beautiful, prolific and bloom for months.

This is really a summer project, because the growing season is pretty long, even with small pumpkins, and the vines will die in a frost.

I grew small pie pumpkins with a relatively short growing time. They need about 85-100 days from planting to harvest, depending on the variety. I grew New England Pie, which are a small, classic cooking pumpkin, but there are lots of other small varieties that would work well in containers. There are some beautiful white pumpkins and a number of really tiny ones. I love to eat roasted pumpkin seeds and to make pumpkin soup and pie, so like the ones that are good for cooking as well as decorative.

Most pumpkins need a lot of room to spread out, but you can also grow them vertically.

How to Grow Pumpkins in Pots

Johnny's Seeds Small Pumpkins

1. Pumpkin Planters

Photograph © Kerry Michaels

I love using pumpkins as planters. They are easy and fun to make and are a great project to do with kids. You can be as sophisticated or silly as you want by painting or carving decorations into your pumpkin and choosing sedate or wild plants.

By painting or carving faces on your pumpkin, you can make the plants look like hair--sedum or succulents for a close-cropped look, or use grasses and flowering plants that stick up.

For a more elegant look, choose a drape-y flowering plant like a calibrachoa (million bells), or a dark foliage plant, like a heuchera.

While these planters don't last all that long--probably a week or two max--they are great for parties and table decorations or Halloween fun.

How to Make a Pumpkin Planter

Pumpkin Planter Ideas

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.