Fall Seasonal Container Plants: Annuals and Perennials for Autumn Baskets

With harvest parties, Halloween and Thanksgiving autumn containers can be a dramatic focal point on a deck, patio or open garden spot.

These plants are all great for fall planters to brighten up the landscape. To make them Halloween themed add a ‘Jack O’ Lantern’ or other Halloween decoration to the container. For Thanksgiving you could add a harvest time decoration like colored corn bundle or ornamental gourd.

Upright Fall Blooming Container Plants

Mums (Chrysanthemum spp.) 

Garden mums (Chrysanthemum x morifolium) are especially hardy in the landscape and will survive winters in zone 3. Their stout stems and long-lasting flowers make them excellent fall cut flowers.

Chrysanthemums bloom in a variety of colors including white, red, yellow, pink, and orange and the size and shape of the flower varies depending on the cultivar. Pinching the mum plants back in early summer will result in a fuller, bushier shape and more flowers in the fall.

Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)

Autumn Sage

A favorite hot-weather perennial, the Autumn Sage produces great blooms for months through the summer and fall. Red, pink, or white flowers attract hummingbirds and are brilliant accent points against the semi-evergreen leaves of the autumn sage. Hard winters will freeze this salvia to the ground but growth is renewed in spring. Hardy in zones 7-10 the autumn sage is a favorite plant for gardeners in Texas and Oklahoma.

Aster (Aster spp.) 

Aster (Aster spp.)

Several different aster species are available for home gardeners and many are hardy through zone 3. All asters have beautiful fall blooms though and are real stars in the autumn landscape.

Rich, moist soil will provide the best growth for these fall beauties and full sun or light shade will bring the best autumn flower show. Tiny daisy-like flowers appear in late summer and last through the fall months displaying bright colors of purple, white or pink.

Rounded Form Fall Blooming Container Plants

Ornamental Kale or Cabbage 

These not-so-edible members of the kale family have highly ornamental foliage that is often bi-colored or tricolored and tolerates cold weather very well.

The large, ruffled and brightly colored leaves look almost like colored flowers and are perfect for the fall container or garden. Start ornamental kale seeds in mid-summer or purchase transplants in the fall since hot weather is not tolerated. These autumn stars can be eaten but are much more bitter than traditional kale, cabbage and broccoli.

Pansies (Viola wittrockiana) 

These cool-weather annuals are fantastic plants for autumn containers. Cherub-faces in many colors make pansies a perfect plant for beds, borders, containers, mass plantings and more. Grow pansies in the sun or part shade and give them rich, moist soil with plenty of nutrients. They will flower in the autumn and can continue blooming all through the winter and early spring until hot weather begins.

Trailing Fall Blooming Container Plants

Greater periwinkle (Vinca major) 

An evergreen ground cover hardy to zero degrees, vinca major is a great choice for autumn container plantings because of its hardiness. Flowering year round, you can expect flowers in the fall, as well as attractive green leaves that will cascade down the edge of a container or planter box. Full sun to part shade is best for the periwinkle plant and moderate water. Greater periwinkle can be somewhat invasive in some areas of the country which is why savvy gardeners will confine vinca major to containers.

Moss Verbena (Verbena tenuisecta) 

Verbena is a fragrant trailing annual that blooms almost nonstop from spring through winter’s first frost making it a great container planting for autumn containers. The flowers of this trailing plant are very fragrant, attract butterflies and are brightly colored in a wide variety of colors. Moss verbena tolerates a wide variety of soil types and is drought tolerant making it an excellent choice for dramatic containers.

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