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Hort in the Home Landscape

A blog devoted to sharing timely horticulture topics and answering the questions of gardeners and homeowners.
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Fall Container Plants

This past weekend I switched my summer annual containers over my fall plantings. Containers are one of my favorite aspects of horticulture because it's ever-changing. You can try different combinations with every season and it really lets you get creative.

In terms of what you plant for fall, the number of plants available is definitely smaller than what you can grow during summer. There are few plants that can tolerate the upcoming frosts and still look good in a container. That simply means you have an opportunity to get creative with your accessories. Why limit your containers to just plants? Incorporate dried materials like grasses and broomcorn, pumpkins, gourds, or branches as accents to the container. Anything goes really.

And there's no reason you have to start fresh with a whole new container. For fall, I just simply remove the plants that are looking not so great, like my now leggy petunias, and replace with something better for fall, like an ornamental kale. No need to make all new plantings in new containers. The ornamental grass that I had growing as a thriller in the container for summer can last well in to fall and still look good as it dries into winter.

Don't disregard perennials for container plantings as well. They can cost the same or even less than annuals sometimes and will perform just as well in containers. Another added benefit is that if you get those perennials planted in the ground early enough in the season, you now have more plants for your perennial gardens.

Here are a couple of plants that I find to be great for fall plantings:

Cool season annuals

  • Ornamental cabbages and kales
  • Sweet alyssum
  • Pansies
  • Calendula
  • Lobelia
  • Purple fountain grass


  • Chrysanthemums
  • Asters
  • Sedums
  • Guaras
  • Coral Bells
  • Yarrow

Others that may not necessarily be cool season, but still look cool in a fall container

  • Ornamental millet
  • Ornamental peppers
  • Swiss chard (don't forget about edibles either!)
  • Lettuce
  • Hypericum

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