|Container Gardening for the Fall Season|
As the summer months fade, so do most container plantings. However, there is no reason why your front porch and patio have to be bland. Here are some ideas to get you started on container gardening for the fall.
Choosing Fall Flowers Pots that are Cold Hardy and Colorful
The most important part of planting a fall container is choosing cold hardy plants that are attractive. Some fall flowers produce colorful blooms that will brighten any container such as Mums, Verbena and Cana lilies. If you want a brighter splash of color, choose one of the fall flower bulbs, such as the Saffron crocus which has blue blooms and deep orange centers.
As the green grasses of summer die back, use the neutral-colored fall grasses such as Purple Fountain Grass. If you want some green color in the container, consider planting Flowering Kale, which looks like miniature cabbages.
Constructing the Container
Plant the flowers and grasses so that each of them is easily visible. Tall and spiky plants like the Cana lily should be in the back of the pot. Medium-sized grasses look good in the middle and flowering plants should be near the front. If any of the plants grow downward, such as Verbena, place them near the front edge so that they will drape down the front of the planter.
Add Decorative Fall Touches
Now that you have the fall flowers and grasses planted, add a touch of fall flavor by sticking a small scarecrow in the middle of the planter. Purchase small pumpkins and set them inside the front lip of the pot. You can also decorate around the pot by placing dried corn stalks behind it and larger pumpkins in front.
Plant Spring Bulbs in Fall Container Pots
For those who want to get a jump on spring, go ahead and plant tulip bulbs. Find a pot that is large enough to accommodate the number of tulips you want to plant and fill it 3/4 full of potting soil. Place a row of tulip bulbs on top of the soil with the pointed ends facing up and allow a little space in between them. Cover the bulbs with 5 to 6 inches of potting soil to provide winter insulation and move the pot to a protected outdoor location, such as under a tree.
Protecting Fall Flowers from Cold Temperatures
When temperatures are expected to dip below freezing, cover the plant containers with clear plastic sheeting at night before you go to bed. Remove the plastic in the morning before the sun rises fully since the plastic will heat up and kill the plant. By covering the plant with plastic, you can extend the growing season by at least several weeks.
For those containers that have bulbs, simply wrap wire mesh around the outside of the pot leaving a three inch gap between the wire and pot. Use twist ties to hold the ends together. Stuff the gap between the mesh and the pot with leaves, pine straw or hay and cover the top of the pot with an additional 3 inches of the material. Remove the material and the mesh in the spring.
Container gardening for the fall doesn’t have to be boring. With bright flower combinations and unique foliage, the containers will be just as beautiful as in the spring and summer. In addition, the containers will perfectly blend in with your other fall lawn decorations.
- Better Homes and Gardens, Fall Container Garden Recipes: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/container/plans-ideas/fall-container-garden-creations/
- Nebraska Extension: Hort Update, Container Gardening: http://hortupdate.unl.edu/ContainerGardening
- P. Allen Smith Garden Home, Abundant Tulip Container: http://pallensmith.com/2014/02/07/color-blocking-containers/