In Your Garden: Fall Containers

By September, patio containers can get looking pretty bad.  Those petunias that stood through the heat of summer are finally getting stretched, sweet potato vine has taken over or some plants may have just given up.  That means it's time to make a trip to the garden center for some plants to freshen up the garden before we call it quits.

Planters for fall are a lot easier than spring.  While you may not find as much variety on the benches at stores, everything you find at the garden center now is going to grow great for you for the few weeks before frost hits.  You'll find tried and true things like pansies, flowering cabbage and kale and of course garden mums in all sizes and colors.  These plants are great when combined together, but can also be used to spruce up containers you may already have growing.  Just keep in mind that these plants can take some frost while plants like impatiens and coleus will not.  You don't want to add color to containers only to have a frost kill half of it. 

You may also come across some plants you're not as familiar with.  Swiss Chard, typically grown as a green for us to eat, comes in all an array of bright orange, yellow and red that really look great in fall containers.  You may also find ornamental peppers with bright and colorful fruit.  Petunias and calibrachoa (Million Bells), Nemesia and Diascia are also very cold tolerant varieties.  Nemesia and Diascia are very cold tolerant and will easily bloom in containers up until we have several hard freezes. 

Don't limit yourself to just plants though.  Fall brings out a lot of great decorating materials.  The seed pods on sumac are bright red, hedge apples are brilliant chartreuse or even use some great looking branches for height and drama.  Just because the season is winding down doesn't mean we can't send it off in style.  Head out and see what you can find to make some great looking fall combination planters for your patio.

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