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.
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.
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.
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.