Autumn Container Recipes Three chillin’ combos to celebrate fall

Autumn Container Recipes
  • Posted October 7, 2014

Something about the chill in the air and the arrival of rich harvest colors that warm my heart! And as some hate to see summer come to an end, I find renewed energy in updating containers with the colors of the season. It's easy to do, and it encourages us to celebrate the crisp hues and abundant harvests that surround us this time of year.

  • When purchasing new plants, go for immediate impact because plants will not grow at the same rate they did in the summer months and will not fill in as quickly. Select larger plants or use more of them.
  • Just as you would with your other seasonal containers, consider cultural requirements when planning your combinations. Select plants with similar water, fertilizer, and light needs.
  • Perhaps some of the plants that are already in your container continue to look fresh, like a dracaena spike, grass or ivy. If so, leave them in the container and design a planting that will include them.

Classic Bring out a Happy Smile
Mimicking the colors found in nature, this classic recipe combines the rich Garden Mum Andrea™ Orange Bicolor with the deep tones of tall Purple Fountain Grass. The frosty leaves of Dusty Miller complement these two plants nicely, and will stand up to Jack Frost himself. If your container has enough space, consider adding another block of color, Wilma™ White Garden Mum, or the grey-green foliage of a Flowering Kale.
Orange Bicolor Mum Purple Fountain Grass Dusty Miller White Mum Flowering Kale
Andrea™ Orange Bicolor Garden Mum Purple Fountain Grass Dusty Miller Wilma™ White Garden Mum Flowering Kale
Trendy Flash a Confident Smile
With so many unique plants available in the fall, it is easy to create a container with “wow!" power. Try placing a purple Aster, or Osteospermum Asti™ Lavender as your focal point and add Ornamental Pepper Explosive™ Ember. Its ornamental fruit turns from deep purple to red as it matures: truly an explosion of autumn color! Ipomoea Sidekick™ Lime (Sweet Potato Vine) will complement the rich colors while adding a splash of brightness and texture. The new leaves of Ipomoea Sidekick™ Bronze unfold light green and then darken to bronze. Tuck in a few Delta™ Orange Pansies and wow! Let the colors and textures lead you, because anything goes in a trendy arrangement!
Aster Osteospermum Ornamental Pepper Ipomoea Delta Orange Pansy
Aster Osteospermum Asti™ Lavender Ornamental Pepper Explosive™ Ember Ipomoea Sidekick™ Bronze Delta™ Orange Pansies
All Foliage Invoke a Thoughtful Smile
Flowers will not be missed in an all-foliage combination, particularly when the leaves and stems provide all the color and show that flowers typically would. Lysimachia 'Goldii' (Creeping Jenny) has a beautiful trailing habit and offsets the rich burgundy of Flowering Kale varieties, like 'Redbor'. Add Purple Fountain Grass for some height, and fill the rest of the pot with colorful Heuchera (Coral Bells), such as Marvelous Marble™, with its reddish purple veining and silvery overlay. Can you say “interesting"?
Lysimachia Flowering Kale Purple Fountain Grass Heuchera
Lysimachia 'Goldii' Flowering Kale 'Redbor' Purple Fountain Grass Heuchera Marvelous Marble™

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Gorgeous container plantings are not something that should be limited to summer, even in cooler zones.

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Nancy Stebbins
About the Author

Nancy Stebbins is a proud Michigan State University alumna, a landscape designer, and horticulturist at MasterTag – a horticultural printing company.

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Autumn Container Recipes

Design Keys

The Thriller:

this plant should steal the show and be the focal point

The Filler:

the filler does just that, it fills the container, covering soil and stems of other plants

The Spiller:

spillers cascade out of the container, softening its edge