isnít just for mums anymore.
round mounds of yellow, rust or purple are inadequate to
celebrate luxurious falls ó and ease a gardenerís
itch to plant something.
is the time to refresh decorative garden pots with a
rich variety of color and hardiness that can carry their
beauty beyond the first frost.
is a missed opportunity," said Kerry Michaels, who
writes about container gardening at about.com. "The
plants are on sale; it lasts so much longer than a
flower arrangement. And there is the sheer pleasure of
being able to plant again."
mums still reign supreme in many gardens, other plants
are gaining notice for their fall-like hues and texture.
still want mums because they offer that blast of color
people want," said Carrie Engel of Valley View
Farms in Cockeysville, Md., which has more than 10,000
of the popular fall plants for sale this year.
she has noticed a stronger demand for other varieties,
too, especially heuchera, or coral bells, with foliage
that ranges in color from peachy brown to burgundy red.
have only one person I plant mums for," said Leigh
Barnes of Companion Plantings of Towson, Md., who
specializes in container gardens. "She was my first
customer 20 years ago, and thatís what she
Barnes said she otherwise never uses mums in her
containers. "And I donít like asters,
likes to do pots with perennials and create pockets for
seasonal color. Barnes saves time and her customersí
money by simply swapping out annuals that have the right
colors and hardiness.
average person doesnít realize that they can plant for
the fall and have beautiful color for a couple of
months," said Muffin Evander, owner of Cultivated
Designs and a Baltimore County resident.
outside the box, the designers said.
likes to use edibles, like sage, parsley or miniature
peppers in her pots. She also likes to use succulents,
which can morph into richer colors with the cold. And
she uses oddball containers, too. Why just carve a
pumpkin when you can use it as a fall plant container?
said to look for variety in leaf shape and color. She
likes to break the mold with colors, too. She might
create a fall container with burgundy, pink, silver and
orange and red? "Thatís what we have the trees
for," she said.
says her staff creates lots of "skeleton" pots
that customers can uses as a starting point, adding
their own touches. Or they can bring their pots to
Valley View and talk with staff members about how to
create fall interest..
every pot doesnít need to be filled with a dozen
different varieties. A small pot filled with colorful
lettuces can be lovely and simple. A trio of pots, each
with a different variety of the colorful heucheras, can
"thriller, filler and spiller" design
technique still has its place when creating a fall
container garden, Barnes said.
"thriller" plant has height and adds a
vertical element. Consider an ornamental grass, for
example. If the container is going to be viewed from all
sides, plant it in the center. If it is up against the
house and only seen from three sides, plant it in the
plants generally have a mounding shape and are planted
all around the "thriller." Think about using a
plant with colorful foliage instead of blooms, such as
heuchera or sage.
are plants to drape over the edge of the planter, such
as Creeping Jenny.
a great idea," said Barnes. "But I break that
rule all the time."
great thing about fall is that everything is still
available," said Michaels. "And it is a great
time of year to have fun with colors.
are some fall container garden tips:
is long and luxurious in many parts of the country, and
there is plenty of time to entertain outdoors, so why
not invite seasonal container gardens to your party?
Think about where the pot will sit ó you don't want to
clash with your house color or your deck cushions. *When
changing your summer pots to fall arrangements, you can
take the opportunity to clean your garden containers and
fill them with fresh soil.
aren't likely to grow much as the weather cools, so your
fall pot should be planted full.
don't have to create a fall container garden from
scratch. You can simply swap out summery annuals with
fall colors, like ornamental kale, a bronze heuchera,
orange and red lantana, or miniature pepper plants. Add
a gourd or a tiny pumpkin to signal the season.
forget to water. Cold weather can dry pots out quickly.
On the other hand, plants aren't growing rapidly in the
fall and the days are cooler. You won't need to water as
often as you did during the heat of the summer.
you think you need to fertilize, use a water-soluble
product. Slow-release fertilizers are often triggered by
temperature. Lower temperatures mean no fertilizer will
planting, include herbs such as sage and parsley and
vegetables like spinach, chard and lettuce. They can
handle the cold and are edible, too.
the growing zones on the plants you are choosing. You
are safe with plants hardy to two zones colder. Choose
plants that will not only withstand cooler weather but
will bloom despite shorter days.
and sweet potato vine seem perfect selections for a fall
container. But both will be damaged by the first hint of