Our Favorite Autumn Plants For Container Gardening

  • Written by: Killingsworth Environmental
  • October 08, 2019

8 Autumn Plants To Make You Fall in Love with Container Gardening 

Spring and summer are commonly thought of as the perfect time for outdoor gardening. After all, warm temperatures and rain are more common in the spring and summer, and the beneficial insects that help your garden grow are most active then, too!  

But what if we told you that fall could yield a beautiful garden as well — just in a different way? This fall, put your gardening skills to the test with these autumn container garden ideas. Below, you’ll find our favorite plants to make your container garden burst with breathtaking autumn colors this fall. 

So leaf the hard work to us! Let us help you make the ideal fall arrangement for your container gardens. 

3 Steps to Creating a Container Garden

Before diving into the different plants to put into your container garden, let’s first discuss how to create a container garden.

Step 1: Pick a Container

Pick a container that accommodates the plants you want to grow and that allows for proper drainage. Be mindful of the size of the container — you don’t want it to be too big, or too small. 

Pro Tip: There are likely plenty of unused items around your home that would make the perfect container! See what you can find and don’t be afraid to get creative with it. 

Step 2: Choose the Right Soil

Next, choose the right soil — not just soil you dug up from your garden. Research the plants you want to add to your container garden to see what kind of potting mix they need and use it. This will make sure your plants get the key nutrients they need!

Step 3: Pick Your Plants

The options are practically endless when it comes to container gardening. From succulents to seasonal grasses, there are a variety of plants to choose from, each with their own distinct needs. Do your research to see what kind of light the plants need, the type of soil they require and how much water to give them. 

To learn which plants thrive in fall… well, keep reading. 

Easy enough, right? Now that you know what it takes to create a container garden, let’s take a look at the eight autumn plants you’ll want to fill yours with. 

Our Favorite Fall Container Garden Plants

1. Coral Bells

Coral bells are by far one of our favorite fall container garden plants not only for their variety of colors, but also their interesting leaf textures. These plants look beautiful on their own, or potted with other contrasting plants, grasses and even gourds for a gourd-eous fall look. Plus, coral bells are difficult to kill, making them an ideal choice for first-time container gardeners. 

USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8

Sun Exposure: Full to partial sunlight

Soil: Moist, rich soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0

2. Mums

Speaking of plants that look great with coral bells, chrysanthemums, also known as mums, are also high on our list of favorite fall container plants! Mums are easy to take care of, only requiring ample light and watering. They thrive in the cool temperatures of fall, revealing a bounty of autumn color. 

USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9

Sun Exposure: Direct sunlight

Soil: Well-drained soil with a pH of 6.3 to 6.7

3. Toad Lily

These speckled, purple flowers are anything but ordinary! The toad lily is unique, and perfect for fall container garden planting. It flourishes in the fall and requires little care to thrive. 

USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9

Sun Exposure: Partial shade

Soil: Moist, but well-drained soil with a pH of 5.6 to 7.5

4. Helenium

The reds, oranges and yellows of Carolina foliage is only complemented by the colors of helenium. Heleniums closely resemble daisies — another one of our favorite flowers, especially when it comes to creating the perfect Mother’s Day bouquet. They are the perfect fall container plant and extremely easy to take care of. 

USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8

Sun Exposure: Direct sunlight

Soil: Well-drained soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0

5. Verbena

Looking for a colorful fall plant that can survive even the coldest of temperatures? Look no further than verbena. These vibrant, flowering plants can survive in temperatures as low as 15 °F, and will even live through the season’s first freeze unlike most plants. Plant verbena alone or with other container plants — you can’t go wrong either way!

USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 11

Sun Exposure: Direct sun

Soil: Well-drained soil with a pH of 5.8 to 6.2

6. Oxalis

This dark, mounding plant is ideal for filling out your fall container garden. Its variety of deep hues illuminate the vibrancy of mums, providing you with a bountiful container full of color and texture. 

USDA Growing Zones: 8 to 11

Sun Exposure: Partial to full shade

Soil: Well-drained soil with a pH of 7.6 to 7.8

7. Sweet Autumn Clematis

With autumn in the name, what could be a more perfect fall container plant? This dainty white flowering vine begins blooming in summer through late fall. Choose a medium to large-sized container to grow sweet autumn clematis and use a trellis to support it. 

USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 11

Sun Exposure: Partial shade

Soil: Well-drained, tolerant of most pH levels

8. Pansies

Pansies are without a doubt the best container plant. They are extremely easy to take care of, and can survive throughout all seasons — yes, even in winter! The bright colors of pansies can brighten up any container, whether it’s on your front porch or in a windowsill container. 

USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 11

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Rich, well-drained soil with a pH of 4.8 to 5.8

There you have it! Eight of our favorite fall container garden plants. So go grab your garden gloves and your favorite container and get to work creating the best-looking container garden on the block. 

Looking for more ideas? You’re in luck — we’re full of them! Download our seasonal lawn care guide to learn more about what your lawn and garden needs this fall.

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