Fresh Ideas for Fall Containers

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I recently changed out a handful of outdoor containers for a client and found a couple of new fall combinations that I just love.

Pumpkins and Ferns for Shaded Walkways

The first was a series of urns. I used a medium to large pumpkin nestled in the center of four bright green ferns. This is a great combo to brighten up shaded walking paths, and it cost less than $20 to make, since the pumpkins and ferns were all less than $4 each.

The bright orange pumpkin and chartreuse foliage of the ferns really stand out in the shade and create a fun (yet tasteful) look. Repeating the design in several more urns and spacing them along a formal walking path created consistency and drew the eye down the path.

Mums and Ninebark Shrubs

The second was a series of containers with four quart-size rust orange Mums framing a one gallon-size Little Devil Ninebark shrub. I placed these between the doors of a large garage to break up wall space and add some color.

Again, I repeated the design in all four of the containers to create consistency. It’s rare to find a Ninebark shrub in a one-gallon size pot at the nursery, so I don’t often use them in containers, but their burgundy foliage is perfect for fall color, and they added nice height to the container.

Plus, if I can get the Ninebarks planted in the ground before it freezes, they should make it through winter and become a nice addition to the garden.

Cold Weather Perennials

Perennials used in fall containers, like the ferns I paired with pumpkins, are a little harder to get through winter. But if you can bury the whole container in the ground, a dense pile of leaves, or other insulating material, they might make it through.

You also could move the container into a cool, dark corner of the garage or basement and keep the soil barely moist through the winter. Or you could try planting perennials into the garden, but by the time fall is over, it’s often too cold for perennials to get established, especially in my Zone 6b. The odds of perennials surviving winter here are about 50/50 when planted in late fall or early winter.

Meet Abbi Hayes

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