Fall Container-Garden Recipes

Add beauty to your fall garden or landscape with these container-garden creations.

Everything In This Slideshow

  • Showstopper

    This arrangement's rich tapestry of fall color and texture happens without any flowers and will last well past first frost.



    A. Coprosma 'Tequila Sunrise': Shiny leaves with orangey hues exude autumn. Zones 9-11

    B. Mahonia 'Charity': Striking evergreen with vivid yellow flowers yields purple berries in winter. Zones 7-9

    C. Heucherella 'Stoplight': Lime green leaves with red splotches make this plant easy to combine with other ornamentals. Zones 4-9

    D. Kale 'Nagoya': A purple splash offers dramatic contrast.



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  • Harvest Hues

    Dish up the season's bounty by planting frost-tolerant coralbells and Swiss chard in the center of a galvanized pan and surrounding the plants with a colorful collection of gourds and mini squash. 

    A. Heuchera 'Pinot Gris'

    B. Swiss chard, Beta vulgaris

  • Autumnal Textures

    Plant an autumn-inspired container in September and enjoy it until winter sets in. The fuzzy foliage of silver sage grows alongside the arching leaves of sedge and a clump of long-lasting ornamental peppers. Almost-black pansies complete the spooky autumn color palette.

    A. Salvia argentea

    B. Carex 'Frosted Curls'

    C. Viola × wittrockiana 'Bowles' Black'

    D. Capsicum annuum

  • Burgundy Beauty

    Invest in a pot you love, then let it be your partner, using its color to launch each new combo you plant. Consider a brightly colored pot; neutrals look drab on a gray winter day.

    A. Bountiful blue blueberry: With vivid fall coloration, blueberries are wonderful additions to containers. Zones 6-10

    B. Purple kale 'Lacinato': This cold-tolerant annual keeps rich color and bold texture through fall and winter.

    C. Millet 'Jade Princess': A tender annual, its chartreuse leaves shine until frost.

    D. Heuchera 'Berry Smoothie': Deliciously rich color foliage is a star in pots. Zones 4-9

    E. Lamium 'Orchid Frost': The silvery foliage stays fresh even in subzero temps. Zones 4-9

  • Purple Punch

    In each pot, use at least one plant with height, one with bright colors, and one with bold textures. There won’t be time for plants to grow in, so pack the pot full for instant impact.

    A. Little bluestem: Upright stems complement this design with reddish hues. Zones 3-9

    B. Honeysuckle 'Twiggy Dwarf': Fine-textured, chartreuse leaves tinge red in fall. Zones 6–9

    C. Leucothoe 'Rainbow': Colorfully variegated foliage is a wonderful partner to the Heuchera. Zones 5–9

    D. Heuchera 'Berry Smoothie': Rich, dark leaves contrast to other plants in this pot. Zones 4–9

  • Kale and Hardy

    Flowers are fleeting, so choose plants for lasting foliage. Grasses, kale, Heuchera, and Heucherella are colorful, textural, and frost-hardy, so they're dependable anchors for fall pots.

    A. Kale 'Purple Lacinato': The deep purple of this hardy annual is a colorful counterpoint to lighter-color companion plants.

    B. Carex 'Orange Sedge': This upright plant offers grassy texture and orange highlights. Zones 7-10

    C. Sundance Choisya: Glossy green adds texture to designs. Zones 7-10

    D. Coprosma 'Roy's Red': Dark, shiny leaves create strong contrast with lighter foliage. Zones 9-11

    E. Viola sorbet mix: These annuals will keep blooming through fall and into winter.

    F. Heucherella 'Stoplight': Bright, bicolor leaves on this low grower make it a great pot partner. Zones 4-9

  • Standing Tall

    Branch out! Simple objects like twigs add pizzazz to pots. Paint them for even more color.


    A. Ornamental millet 'Purple Baron': This annual sports bold, upright, burgundy foliage.

    B. Maidengrass 'Morning Light': Wispy, variegated blades accentuate the bolder millet. Zones 5-9

    C.  Hebe Variegata: White-variegated foliage makes this hebe a nice filler. Zones 7-10

    D. Mugo dwarf pine: Dense evergreen branches play a solid supporting role in this combination. Zones 2-7

    E. Wintergreen: An American native, wintergreen bears festive red berries in fall. Zones 3-8

  • Grow Glorious Grasses

    Grasses are a no-brainer for fall gardens. Keep them in mind for your container plantings, too. Most grasses look great in pots. Here, purple fountaingrass and blue fescue create a lovely contrast for pink mums and yellow strawflower.

    A. Blue fescue (Festuca glauca): 1

    B. Chrysanthemum 'Cecilia': 2

    C. Strawflower (Bracteantha 'Sundaze Golden Yellow'): 1

    D. Purple fountaingrass (Pennisetum 'Burgundy Giant'): 1

  • Video: Container-Garden Design Tips

    Watch this short video and get tips from the Better Homes and Gardens garden editors on designing gorgeous container gardens.

  • 10 of 33

    Make an Accent

    Small containers are great accents because you can easily move them for parties, to fill in gaps in the garden, or just to change your yard's look. This container is a perfect match for a festive series of small pumpkins.

    A. Zinnia (Zinnia 'Magellan Orange'): 1

    B. Lamium maculatum: 1

    C. Pansy (Viola 'Panola Orange'): 1

    D. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): 1

    E. Celosia 'Prestige Scarlet': 1

  • 11 of 33

    Mix Materials

    Great container gardens aren't always just live plants. Here, dried hydrangea flowers add grace and interest to a charming planting.

    A. Pig squeak (Bergenia cordifolia): 2

    B. Sedum 'Xenox': 2

    C. Rubygrass (Melinis 'Pink Crystals'): 2

  • 12 of 33

    Plant Perennials

    Perennials can be the highlight of the fall container garden, especially if you choose types with flashy foliage. Treat them as inexpensive annuals or get them in the ground as soon as you can before it freezes.

    A. Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Efanthia': 1

    B. Fountaingrass (Pennisetum 'Hameln'): 1

    C. Diascia 'Flying Colors Trailing Red': 1

    D. Coralbells (Heuchera 'Dolce Creme Brulee'): 2

  • 13 of 33

    Forgo Flowers

    Lots of fall landscapes rely on foliage for a big bang -- so why shouldn't your container gardens? Try plants with colorful leaves so the container sill looks pretty after blooms fade.

    A. Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris 'Bright Lights'): 3

    B. Flowering kale (Brassica 'Pigeon Purple'): 1

    C. Coralbells (Heuchera 'Marmalade'): 1

  • 14 of 33

    Add Formal Flair

    Make a statement at your entrance with a well-placed container or two. For classic gardens, it's tough to beat an urn filled with flowers, such as the one shown here.

    A. Purple fountaingrass (Pennisetum 'Burgundy Giant'): 1

    B. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Sedona'): 1

    C. Zinnia (Zinnia elegans 'Zesty Scarlet'): 1

    D. Annual black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia 'Cordoba'): 1

    E. Calibrachoa 'Superbells Tequila Sunrise': 2

  • 15 of 33

    Keep It Cool

    Asters and kale are surefire picks for a great fall show, and silvery foliage from 'Icicles' licorice plant is a perfect end-of-the-season accent.

    A. Aster (Aster 'Purple Viking'): 1

    B. Flowering kale (Brassica 'Kamome Red'): 2

    C. Licorice plant (Helichrysum 'Icicles'): 2

  • 16 of 33

    Utilize Rich Colors

    Deep, dark purples create garden intrigue, especially when they're paired with a bold, bright color. Create contrast for a stunning fall show.

    A. Leatherleaf sedge (Carex buchananii): 2

    B. Chrysanthemum 'Golden Andrea': 1

    C. Purple millet (Pennisetum 'Jester'): 3

  • 17 of 33

    Go Bold with Color

    Reds, oranges, browns, and yellows fill the fall landscape. Add color and contrast with pink, blue, or silver flowering container plantings!

    A. Chrysanthemum 'Soft Cheryl': 1

    B. Dusty miller (Senecio cineraria): 3

    C. Purple kale (Brassica 'Redbor'): 1

  • 18 of 33

    Keep to a Color Theme

    This container looks great because the natural terra-cotta hues echo through all the plants.

    A. Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Efanthia': 2

    B. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Ulrich'): 2

    C. Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans): 1

    D. Chrysanthemum 'Festive Ursula': 2

  • 19 of 33

    Play Up Texture

    Frost-tolerant flowering kale is a perfect choice for adding color and texture to late-season containers. Try a handful of varieties to create a bold look.

    A. Flowering kale (Brassica 'Osaka White'): 2

    B. Flowering kale (Brassica 'Pigeon Purple'): 1

    C. Flowering kale (Brassica 'Redbor'): 1

  • 20 of 33

    Use an Interesting Container

    Boost a set of great plants with a fun container, such as an old, cracked birdbath. Or consider an old bushel basket, wooden crate, or other material with character.

    A. Lysimachia 'Golden Globe': 1

    B. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Tiny Toes'): 1

    C. Chrysanthemum 'Blushing Emily': 2

    D. Kale (Brassica oleracea): 2

    E. Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender': 1

    F. Coralbells (Heuchera 'Dolce Creme Brulee'): 1

    G. Rubygrass (Melinis 'Pink Champagne'): 1

  • 21 of 33

    Add Art

    Give your fall container gardens a bit of whimsy by adding artistic elements. A birdhouse, for example, ties into the colors and gives the container additional height and texture.

    A. Chrysanthemum 'Cheryl': 2

    B. Sedge (Carex flagellifera): 1

    C. Golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea'): 1

    D. Pansy (Viola 'Icicle'): 3

    E. Purple fountaingrass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum'): 1

  • 22 of 33

    Select Soft Colors

    Contrast autumn's bold and bright reds, oranges, and yellows with soft shades of pink, lavender, and burgundy.

    A. Flowering kale (Brassica 'Osaka Purple'): 1

    B. Pansy (Viola 'Icicle'): 4

    C. Chrysanthemum 'Debonaire': 2

    D. Purple fountaingrass (Pennisetum 'Red Riding Hood'): 1

  • 23 of 33

    Create Instant Charm

    Fall container gardens can be any color. Mix your favorites for a look that suits you. Here, a deep red mum makes a great contrast for a blue calibrachoa in a galvanized container.

    A. Calibrachoa 'Cabaret Purple': 2

    B. Chrysanthemum 'Brandi': 1

    C. Flowering kale (Brassica 'Osaka Purple'): 1

    D. Fountaingrass (Pennisetum 'Hameln'): 1

    E. Sage (Salvia officinalis): 1

  • 24 of 33

    Keep It Simple

    Even just a couple of plants creates a stunning container. This one offers a bonus of the strong fragrance of the flowering stock.

    A. Sweet alyssum (Lobularia 'Wonderland Mulberry Mix'): 6

    B. Flowering kale (Brassica 'Osaka Purple'): 1

    C. Flowering stock (Matthiola 'Vintage Lavender'): 2

  • 25 of 33

    Add Cheer

    Even against the bright colors of fall, yellow shines in the landscape. Pansies are some of the best plants for fall because they flower well past the first frost.

    A. Pansy (Viola 'Panola Yellow Blotch'): 3

    B. Licorice plant (Helichrysum 'Icicles'): 2

  • 26 of 33

    Create a Wonderful Window Box

    Mums are among the most widely used fall plants. Use them to fill your window boxes for a burst of autumn color.

    A. Chrysanthemum 'Draga': 2

    B. Chrysanthemum 'Denise': 4

    C. Flowering kale (Brassica 'Osaka Purple'): 2

    D. Variegated ivy (Hedera helix 'Glacier'): 1

  • 27 of 33

    Go Patriotic

    Red, white, and blue never go out of style -- so celebrate autumn with these festive colors.

    A. Annual vinca (Catharanthus 'Titan Pure White'): 2

    B. Pentas 'Starla Red': 2

    C. Variegated feather reedgrass (Calamagrostis 'Overdam'): 1

    D. Salvia 'Mystic Spires Blue': 1

  • 28 of 33

    Beat Frost

    Frost doesn't have to mean the end of your container plantings! Tough plants stand up to the cold and stay looking great.

    A. Hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum tectorum): 1

    B. Ajuga 'Mahogany': 1

    C. Flowering kale (Brassica 'Kamome Red'): 1

  • 29 of 33

    Earthy Vibe

    A simple gathering of cold-resistant ruffled green kale (Brassica oleracea), striking magenta chrysanthemum, and variegated Iresine herbstii 'Aureoreticulata' invokes autumn in earthy containers.

    A. Ruffled green kale (Brassica oleracea)

    B. Magenta chrysanthemum

    C. Iresine herbstii 'Aureoreticulata'

  • 30 of 33

    Add a Pop of Color

    Tassled purple fountaingrass adds height, texture, and just enough color to contrast with vidid magenta chrystanthemums in a terra cotta pot. 

    A: Purple fountaingrass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum')

    B. Magenta chrysanthemums

  • 31 of 33

    Add an Ornamental

    Ornamental black pepper (Capsicum annuum 'Black Pearl') makes an outstanding display in a rusty cast-iron pot with pink verbena, bold purple kale, and ornamental cabbage.

    A. Ornamental black pepper (Capsicum annuum 'Black Pearl') 

    B. Pink verbena

    C. Purple kale

    D. Ornamental cabbage

  • 32 of 33

    Punch Up the Orange

    An airy mass of long-blooming coreopsis 'Mango Punch' combines with matching chrysanthemums and a few berried spikes of ornamental black pepper in a footed urn.

    A. Coreopsis 'Mango Punch'

    B. Chrysanthemums

    C. Ornamental black pepper

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