Fall Containers

Heuchera, viola and dusty miller

There’s such a difference between container gardening in spring and in the fall–at least in my climate.

And yes, there are perfectly lovely combinations that are possible with cabbages, ornamental kale, asters and mums–but somehow, I just can’t bring myself to do those. I am not quite sure why. I like asters and the ornamental cruciferous stuff. But I think that they all (with the exception of asters) seem to have too short a season.

Autumn (or fall, if you prefer) can be very finicky in New England. This year it has been long and lovely–so much so that our impatiens and geraniums (pelargoniums) are blooming with the pumpkins!

But many years, I remember frosts and even freezes by this time. And I am not one to go running out with bedsheets or towels to cover up everything. When things are done, they’re done. We move on–isn’t that why we have seasons?

So if I am asked to give a container garden lecture–as I have been the last two falls –it’s a challenge to decide what to bring. First of all, as in any garden club, not everyone has a garden (something that has always amused me, but of course, there are flower arrangers and conservationists, and people who have been members since they once had gardens–you get the idea). So I try to bring something that appeals to those who may have smaller gardens or indoor gardens or patio gardens as well.

Golden sage, silver thyme, rosemary

And while it’s not immediately intuitive, fall is a great time for an herb planter, because this is something that can be moved closer to the house for soups and stews and roasts–or perhaps even brought indoors.

Begonia, croton, ornamental pepper
Alocasia, calathea, anthurium

Fall is also a great time for house plant planters, whether you are just refreshing your own planters, combining plants to save space on your windowsills, or trying out new combinations. Just try to ensure that whatever you plant together needs the same cultural requirements of sun and water.

Notice also in my first photo, above, that I tucked an annual–or maybe you’d consider it an edible–into that “house plant” container. Those small “ornamental” peppers that are sold this time of year grow quite nicely indoors–just be sure to watch them later in the season for insects–as you should with all house plants!

3 thoughts on “Fall Containers

  1. George Koulomzin October 9, 2021 / 8:15 pm

    Fortunately, to meet the “cultural requirements of sun” you don’t have to send your plant to college! Just get an Android app called “Sun And Shade Analyzer”, and it will quickly tell you how many hours of sun your plant will get!

  2. Delia October 18, 2021 / 10:49 am

    That first container is gorgeous. I plan to copy it. Is heuchera a perennial for you? What dize pot is that?

    • gardendaze October 18, 2021 / 11:45 am

      Yes, heuchera is perennial, even in containers for me. The container is a 10″ but it’s kind of a strange 10″–there’s a little extra room the way it’s designed. It’s also shatter resistant and I tested that out (not on purpose of course) by actually dropping that container just before the lecture. So that made a nice story to go with the container.

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