Perk up flower pots on your porch or patio with bold, rich fall colors! Vince
Clark, from Trellis Garden Center, shares his top fall flower picks, plus a
few planting tips.
By late summer, many annuals in containers start to decline and lose their
luster. By replacing them with new plants, one can make those containers
look fresh and dazzling. Fall is a great time for the stronger, bolder colors
and textures. There are a couple of relatively new kale varieties: Tuscan
Black &Redbor. Redbor is a dark purple and Tuscan Black is blue green
which becomes darker as the weather cools. Both have outstanding
Asymmetry is a great way to add interest and perhaps a more country
garden feel, where as true symmetry lends itself to a more formal garden.
No matter the style, now is the perfect time to freshen those containers for
Even in the nursery, annuals spring and summer annuals are declining by
late summer. While there are some fall annuals like pansies and flowering
kale that look great, mixing in perennials is a great way to add interest and
spruce up your containers. Once the season is over they can go in the
ground for future years.
Grasses are great because they add winter interest. Even if it’s an annual
grass, the dead upright leaves are attractive and last all winter.
For the culinary lover, add some herbs for color, texture and flavor.
Using succulents is a neat way to display smaller containers, although they
can work well in large plantings, too.
Mix tall with medium and low, overflowing plant. Trailing plants soften the
hardscape (concrete, wood, etc.) and help to blend the container in with the
surrounding landscape no matter how big or small.
Most people have more than one container. Grouping them together
makes for a larger design statement. It’s important when there is more
than one container in the same area that there is something that ties them
all together. This can be done by using a particular plant or foliage color in
all of them. If the common plant is a grass, for example, it may or may not
be necessary to use the exact same variety as long as they have similar
characteristics (i.e. color, height, texture). The same goes for some
flowers. All mums have basically the same foliage. The difference will be
height and flower color. It’s okay to have different color flowers in each
container because they will all be mums.
Another way to tie them all together is to use the same or similar style
containers. Variety is good. Different styled containers with the correct
combination of plants can be as effective as same styled containers each
with a different arrangement in each one.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with color and texture combinations. We all
have different likes. Try new things. Do something you’ve not done
before. You may surprise yourself.
Perhaps adding a decorative ornament like mushrooms, insects or animals
is what will give your container that extra special look.
Of course, the size of the container will dictate how much variety it can
hold, but the same ideas apply no matter the size.
Small evergreens can work well in containers and really hold up well going
into winter. This makes them a good choice for decorating with lights or
ornaments. The extra green will look good when the snow begins to fall.
It’s very important to keep in mind perennials and hardy shrubs and trees
are at a much greater risk of not surviving the winter when left in
containers. The constant freezing and thawing can be brutal to the root
system. Plants in larger containers have a better chance of survival. It’s
often best to treat your containers as annual plantings no matter which
plants you choose. And moving perennials into the ground before winter is
a great way to save them for the future.
Flowering Kale, ‘Redbor’ ‘Tuscan Black’
Purple Fountain Grass
Heucheras, ‘Obsidian’ ‘Blackout’ ‘Silver Scrolls’ ‘Raspberry’
Red Stonecrop Sedum
Sages, ‘Tricolor’ ‘Purple’ ‘Golden’
Thyme, ‘Lemon’ ‘Mother of’
Oregano, ‘Greek’ ‘Italian’ ‘Golden’ ‘Amethyst Falls’
Hens & Chicks
For more gardening and landscape design ideas, visit