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Fall Plants - Top 7 Plants for Fall Containers

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By summer's end, container plantings have often seen their day. There are still plenty of plants, in the nursery and your own gardens, that will see your containers through the cooler months of fall. There are plenty of pansies, mums and asters available. But don’t stop there. You can create wonderful unique fall flower pots using foliage and flowering plants in the colors of autumn, if you just look around and notice what catches your eye in the landscape. Here are some of my favorites.

1. Heuchera

Purple and Silver Heuchera
Photo: © Marie Iannotti
There are so many wonderful, new Heuchera varieties in purple, butterscotch, burgundy and frosty silvers. They are all perfect colors for the fall season, blending beautifully with other autumn tones Since most are hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 4, they can be over-wintered in the pots down to Zone 6 and sometimes even Zone 5. (USDA Zones 4 - 9, 1-2', Sun to Shade)

2. Sedum

Sedum 'Vera Jameson'
Photo: © Marie Iannotti
Sedum plants bloom from late summer through fall, in rich, deep pinks and magentas. They are easily grown in containers, being so drought tolerant. Try Sedum 'Vera Jameson' as an alternative to foliage trailers. She'll sprawl and spill over the sides of your pots. (USDA Zones 3 - 9, 1-2', Sun to Partial Shade)

3. Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas)

Photo: © Marie Iannotti
Chances are good that your vines have grown so long, they're taking over. Snip a few sections off the ends of the vines and root them quickly either in water or directly in the soil of a new fall container. Sweet Potato Vines can be in containers for the entire season. The bronze varieties blend well and good old 'Margarita' complements the other colors magnificently, from spring pansies to fall's hardy mums. (Annual, Vine, Sun to Partial Shade)

4. Coleus

Photo: © Marie Iannotti
The orange and rust coleus are naturals for an autumn container. You don't have to worry about bloom time and the leaves of coleus act as prisms in sunshine. They are also extremely easy to propagate by cuttings. You can make more during the season or bring a few cuttings in for the winter, to have large plants ready to go out in the spring. (Annual, 1-3', Sun to Partial Shade)

5. Firethorn (Pyracantha rogersiana )

Photo: MEJones / stock.xxchng (http://www.sxc.hu/profile/MEJones)
Pyracantha grows quite well in pots, although it won’t reach the size it does in the ground. The long-lasting red, orange or yellow berries are a natural for fall. They can be trained on trellis supports or allowed to grow through other plants. Just be careful of the thorns when pruning. Excessive pruning will result in less flowers and berries. (USDA Zones 5 - 8, 1-3' in pots, Full Sun).

6. Snapdragon (Antirrhinum)

Photo: © Marie Iannotti
You probably planted some in the spring and haven't seen much action from them during the summer, but snapdragons usually rally again in early fall. The yellow, red and rust colored varieties are the easiest to work into a fall color scheme. Snaps will keep blooming through a bit of frost. ((Annual, 8 - 12"', Sun to Partial Shade)

10 Cool Season Annuals

7. Red, Gold and Purple Grasses

Photo: © Marie Iannotti
  • Curly Top Sedge (Carex buchananii) Bronze red foliage. (USDA Zones 6 - 9, 1-2', Sun to Partial Shade)
  • Golden Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola') Gold variegated bamboo-like foliage. (USDA Zones 5 - 9, 2', Partial Shade)
  • Japanese Blood Grass (Imperata cylindrica 'Rubra') Red tipped blades. (USDA Zones 6 - 9, 1-2', Sun to Partial Shade)
  • Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum 'Rubrum') Burgundy foliage and flowers. (USDA Zones7 - 10, 2-3', Sun)
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