Can you see P. virgatum 'Hot Rod' behind the plants in these pots? I placed it to give some upright growth for the fall season. Then, I'll replant it somewhere.

Fall container rehab

Last week, I did a live video on Facebook about my fall container rehab. Click below to see me in action.

It’s time to pull out the old and bring in the new. I threw the old plants on the compost pile. They had a good run, but summer is thankfully over, and it’s time to begin anew.

Empty container just begging for new plants.

Empty container just begging for new plants.

Fall is a great season for these containers because they actually get enough sun. In summer the container on the right side of the door gets afternoon sun, and the left one is mostly in the shade. It’s hard to pull off anything that looks symmetrical, but I still try. In Autumn, all is forgiven because the oak trees in the front yard begin to lose their leaves.

Fall container rehab. Plants from four stores and a new doormat for fall. The mat says "You are my sunshine." I used to sing that song to my kids when they were little.

Plants from four stores and a new doormat for fall. The mat says “You are my sunshine.” I used to sing that song to my kids when they were little.

As I said in the video, in Oklahoma and the rest of the South, we use both cold-weather plants and tropicals in our fall containers. We usually have a long fall season full of coolish nights and warm days, the perfect conditions really, which makes up for our hellish summers. The ornamental grass is Panicum virgatum Hot Rod, a Burpee introduction. It’s a perennial switchgrass, so I’ll remove it in winter and plant it elsewhere on the property. Switchgrasses are among my favorite grasses for the garden, and they come back each year.

This is a closeup of the pot on the right hand side of the door. It has crotons, an ornamental pepper, ornamental kale, golden creeping Jenny to trail down the sides, and celosia.

This is a closeup of the pot on the right-hand side of the door. It has crotons, an ornamental pepper, ornamental kale, pansies, golden creeping Jenny to trail down the sides, and celosia.

Crotons are the big-leaved plants in the container above. A purple-leaved ornamental pepper adds drama and contrasts nicely against the croton and the color of the pot. In the center is a peach and pink celosia, chosen for its fall colors. I then added a few pansies and Lysimachia nummularia, golden creeping Jenny, to hang down the pot’s edge. To keep everything fresh, I’ll be watching for cold nights under 42F so I can cover the whole thing with a clear plastic trash bag, something Helen Weis taught me years ago. Just don’t forget to take off the bag before temperatures rise during the day. Otherwise, the sun will cook your plants.

I went to four stores to find these plants so don’t be surprised if you need to go to more than one nursery or store. No one has everything. I’m off this weekend to find a few mums for the front bed too. I know not everyone is into mums, but I enjoy these bright spots of color in for my fall front border.

Here’s a photo from 2014 where I used crotons instead. Either will work for what I want which is beautiful fall color. Of course, the mums are hardier. Buy mums when the buds barely show color. That way, you’ll get the most bloom for your buck. Don’t buy mums in full bloom. They will fade before you can say, “Boo.”

I often use pumpkins, but I can’t decide if I want to mess with them this year. After looking at these photos from previous years, I may not be able to stop myself from adding a few here or there.

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17 comments on “Fall container rehab

  1. Robin Ruff Leja

    Fabulous Dee! Your fall-flavored garden is fabulous! I haven’t done any updates this year, off to Maui in the morning and it hasn’t been a priority. LOL Maybe when I get back. I predict that frost will zap my containers while I’m gone anyway.

    1. Dee Nash

      Thank you very much Robin. I hope you enjoyed your trip to Maui. What fun!

    1. Dee Nash

      It does feel much more fresh.

  2. VP

    I love what you’ve done, and I’m sure a true USA garden has to have at least one pumpkin somewhere 😉 We’re clinging onto summer here, so I haven’t had the heart to rip up my summer pots and baskets yet.

    1. Dee Nash

      Haha, Michelle, I guess so, but I ended up not buying pumpkins. I think I put in too many for the tour last year. I did buy some pretty daisy-like white mums.

  3. Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening

    Our “nice” fall season is a lot shorter–or it starts in August. I am thinking about replanting some containers, but I don’t think I have as many options. Violas, pansies, and ornamental kale are probably it, as I expect frost soon, maybe by Sunday. Lots of times I don’t even bother switching them out, but I think we will avoid hard frost for a long time, so it might be worth it.

  4. [email protected] Trekker

    Great video tutorial on using pots in the landscape; I shared this to my Pinterest, Facebook, and Google followers so they could enjoy it as well.

    1. Dee Nash

      Charlie, thank you so much. I missed your comment because of my surgery. I appreciate it!

  5. gardenannie

    What? 72? It is 91 here today. I love skullcap! It grew well for me in Plano, Tx. . . not so well here in the piney woods.

    1. Dee Nash

      I know! We had that one day, and now it’s been hot ever since. I’m ready for cooler weather.

  6. Beth @ PlantPostings

    They look great, Dee! Fabulous combinations of plants. And I enjoyed your video, too.

  7. indygardener

    Always inspiring to see what you are up to in your garden!

  8. Lisa at Greenbow

    Your containers look fabulous. I like the idea of using some tropicals with those intense colors to bring color into fall. Can you really have fall without pumpkins?? I don’t think so.

  9. Anonymous

    Beautiful!! Where did you get the cute doormat?

    1. Dee Nash

      TLC Nursery.