Fabulous Fall Planters

I’d love to tell you I just have rows and rows of mums in pumpkin pots in my backyard, but alas this photo is via Greenhouse Growers.

Almost without warning, the cooler days are going to begin to take their toll on our once brilliant blooming flower containers. And there is nothing more dismal and unwelcoming than a dead plant on a doorstep. Sidestep this gloomy pre-Halloween decor display by replanting today.

Here are three fall plants with tips that got me inspired:

Fall Pansies
I loved what Jennifer Schultz Nelson a Horticulture educator had say about fall pansies. “Pansies are one of my favorite annual flowers. Their bright smiling faces peering up in early spring offer some assurance of better weather to come. Only in recent years have I planted pansies in the fall, against well-meaning advice of friends and family. Many of them considered it wasteful to buy new annuals in the fall, arguing the remaining growing season was “too short”. Eager to prove everyone wrong I planted pansies in window boxes to see how long they would hold on as cold winds began to blow. What many may not know is that there are several varieties of pansies specifically bred for fall planting and overwintering. These types promise blooms long after the cold sets in, surviving to produce some of the earliest flowers in the spring. Two names to look for at your local garden center are Polar or Icicle pansies, which are available in more and more gorgeous colors each year. Pansies marketed under these names are guaranteed to overwinter and bloom again in the spring or your money back. I planted my pansies in window boxes and containers, so they did not qualify for the guarantee printed on the tag. Only those planted in the ground, in specific conditions are guaranteed. Guarantees did not concern me after I witnessed the wonderful results. Not only did my pansies continue to bloom well into October and November, but they were still blooming in December!”

Mums the Word – Chrysanthemums
Mums are by far everyone’s favorite fall planter. Gerten’s has a lot of advice when planting fall Mums. When selecting fall Mums often a mix of 3 different colors adds a fabulous warm fall feel. The quantity of plants will be determined by the size of your pot. It is best to have the pot full without overcrowding since fall is a short season. Try to choose your mums at the same stage of bud break so your planter will bloom evenly. You can personalize your own Fall theme by adding ornamental kale, fall pansies, trailing sedum, or ornamental grasses. You might even try adding a scarecrow or fresh bittersweet for that Harvest touch.

NFF Tip: To help hardy mums survive the winter outdoors cut them back down to 6″ after they are done blooming leaving some of the stems to trap winter snow for insulation. Also mulch your mums after a hard freeze with several inches of straw, pine needles or evergreens, the added insulation will protect the root system. Avoid using leaves as they tend to mat down and add little insulation.

Ornamental Cabbage or aka Kale
Garden Guides
instructs, “Should your fall planter need a bit of extra color or more filler plants, ornamental cabbages (kale) will be the perfect final touch. Their colorful tightly nested leaves of grayish-green with white centers, or green with purplish centers are very striking. Ornamental cabbages are fantastic as an alternative to flowers in planters. They can withstand cold temperatures, and should last throughout late fall and early winter. They also make a great conversation piece because of their very unusual colors.”

I am going to try planting today! Send us your gorgeous fall planter photos at and we’ll all share.

Happy planting,


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  • whether it’s for a doorstep, porch, or garden, incorporating fall pansies into your planters is a fantastic way to extend the beauty of your garden well into the cooler months.

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