Date: September 1, 2021 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek |
Fall Containers: An expert shares quick updates to make summer containers last into autumn
While the start of school signals the changing season in many people’s minds, summer heat often lingers for several more months in the Natural State. Because of our slow fade to autumn, we turned to David Munsey, III, of Better Lawns & Gardens for advice on how to best transition current container plantings into fall. “For autumn, we lean toward colors like orange, maroon, burgundy, and some deeper greens,” David says. “If you have more tropical flowers in bright colors left over from summer pots, you can replace those with ornamental cabbages or pansies as they start to wilt.” Read on for David’s picks for transitional plantings along with tips for care and maintenance.
1 The leaves of a trailing ‘Sweet Caroline Sweetheart Red’ sweet potato vine bring a fall feel to this container. Sweet potato vine loves the sun, but will also tolerate partial and full shade, and the amount of light it receives may alter its leaf color.
2 One way to bring color to fall planters is through vibrant foliage, like coleus. This is an attractive annual available in many varieties, such as the eye-catching ‘Kong Red’ coleus.
3 ‘Cabaret Neon Rose’ calibrachoa are prolific bloomers, often keeping their flowers through October. To help them last, maintain well-drained soil.
4 ‘Sombrero Adobe Orange’ echinacea and other coneflowers can be planted in spring or early autumn, as long as it’s at least six weeks before the first frost. This vivid variety will continue to produce blooms well into fall.
5 Ornamental grasses such as this hardy ‘Prince Tut’ Cyperus papyrus are great for the dryer soil conditions of containers. In mild weather, these grasses will last through December.
6 Succulents trailing over the side, such as Kalanchoe thyrsiflora (commonly known as paddle plant) bring interest to containers. Always make sure succulents have good drainage.