Secrets for Great Fall Pots
When is the best time to garden in the South? Right now. The humidity is gone, the bugs have given up, and even the weeds are considering retirement. Better yet, it just feels good to get outside. As a bonus, lots of plants thrive in containers, so it’s easy to fill your favorite outdoor spaces with seasonal color. Think of your pots as tiny gardens, and arrange them so they’ll really put on a show. Here are a few tricks to make you look like a pro.
It’s a lot easier to care for your plants when they’re in one spot. You can water, feed, and groom them all at once. You’ll also get a lot more impact from your flowers if you have several pots in the same location. What’s the real secret? Choose pots with different shapes and sizes. This makes a much more interesting display and creates an established look instantly.
Here’s another tip: You can’t beat terra-cotta pots if you are on a budget. Their warm shades not only amplify yellows and oranges but also contrast nicely with cool purples, blues, and whites.
Mix It Up
If you think pansies and violas are the only game in town, you’re missing out on the incredible variety that fall offers. This time of year, you can find an abundance of flowers, herbs, vegetables, and foliage that will thrive in containers.
To create an interesting combination, think high to low. Anchor your container with a plant that gives it height, such as ‘Ogon’ golden sweet flag, variegated monkey grass, leather leaf sedge (Carex buchananii), heuchera, or autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora). Next, choose flowers and fillers. Herbs such as thyme, lavender, fennel, and Italian or triple-curled parsley fill in beautifully between colorful snapdragons, calendulas, nemesias, and sweet alyssums. For an alternative to blooms, try lettuce, Swiss chard, mustard greens, and kale. Finally, soften the edges of your containers with trailing plants, such as ivy, vinca, and ‘Angelina’ sedum.
Everyone has a favorite seasonal flower. Our Garden editors’ favorite pansy is ‘Pandora’s Box,’ which opens up an entire range of colors in one flower. Jimmy Turner, garden designer at the Dallas Arboretum, looks for plants that “coat themselves in a frosting of flowers, not just a spattering here or there,” and is partial to Panola and Nature Series. (He also likes ‘Purple Rain’ and ‘Frosty Rain’ pansies for window boxes and hanging baskets.) Every time we pay a fall visit to David Wright of Wright’s Nursery and Greenhouse in Plantersville, Alabama, we can bank on seeing a showy display of his favorite series such as Sorbet, Majestic Giants II, Supreme, Matrix, and Venus. Try any of these, and you won’t be disappointed.