Thursday, September 21, 2017
Posted By: in Fall Gardening

While anytime is a good time to plant, Fall is particularly rewarding because of the immediate results. It’s a time when what you see is what you get. Leaves are changing colour, berries are beaming, summer flowers are still hanging around and an entirely new plant palette gets the spotlight.

Fall Planter Collage

Fall plantings have a couple of benefits.

Benefits of Fall Planting

First, it’s a great time to get Trees, Shrubs and Perennials planted so that they get an extra couple of months of rooting before they go dormant for the winter. Then in Spring, their roots are established and they are ready to give you a beautiful Spring show. If you wait to plant in Spring, you reduce the risk of winter damage, but your plant will sit there for a couple of weeks or months while it establishes its roots. Planting now gives you a head start.

Second, you get instant gratification because you are planting for right now, not the future. This is particularly true for container plantings, front door décor and your Thanksgiving and Halloween decorating.

Third, it gives you motivation to clean-up the summer stuff that just seems to accumulate in the yard, or on the deck, and gives everything an attractive seasonal refresh. We all need that clean-up kick start... don't we :)

Stuff Them In

In a lot of ways, Fall Planters are easier and more gratifying because we don’t have the guilt and the angst about a plants long term care and health. Simply stuff as many as you can into a planter to make it yell… LOOK AT ME – I’M BEAUTIFUL!

By the time the plants wonder what hit them and why they don't have any room to grow, it will be nearly November and you can redo your planters with attractive stems, berries and colourful winter greens for the Holiday season. For perennials and shrubs you choose, plant them in the garden now or wait until Spring. When the frosts hit, have no mercy and just toss out the seasonal annuals and colour.
Mono Planter Using Mostly Pansies

Mono-Plantings

There are a couple of ways to create Fall planters. The easy way is to mono-plant. Fill your planter with the same plant. Mass for effect. Pack them in tight. The grouping will create interest because of its mass and similar colour palette. Odd numbers work. Try planting 1, 3 or 5 of the same plant in a pot. This style particularly attractive with grasses, mums and perennials like Heuchera.

Thriller, Filler, Spiller

The other way is to follow the traditional thriller, filler, spiller model.

Thrillers

To start, put something big in the middle that is the attention grabbing, dominant thriller. Ideal fall plants include: grasses, conifers, upright sedums, and Japanese maples just to name a few. Mums make good thrillers, but expect to haul them out when they are finished blooming or get opened up by the weather. Scale of planting is important. Try to establish a ratio of 1/3 planter height and 2/3 plant height. In other words, the thriller should be taller than the planter. This is not a rule, it just tends to look good.
Great Plants for Fall Planters - Thrillers

Fillers

Next, add the fillers. These are small to medium sized plants that accent the thriller. Usually fillers are planted around the thriller in odd numbers, for example 3,5 or more depending on the size of your planter. Excellent fillers include Pansies, Violas, Dusty Miller, Ornamental Cabbage or Kale, Decorative Peppers, Heucheras, Berry Plants Like Wintergreen, Bud Blooming Heathers and even mid-sized grasses. Two grasses that are always extremely popular are Carex 'Evergold' and Black Mondo grass. A few other fall favourites include windflowers (Anemone) and Dark Leaved Euphorbias like 'Blackbird'. Virtually anything can work as long as it doesn’t take too much dominance from the Thriller.
Don't forget to add non-living things to your planters as well. Gourds and Pumpkins make excellent additions to nearly every fall container.
Great Plants for Fall Planters - Fillers

Spillers

The spillers are smaller, pendulous or trailing plants that cascade over the edges of your planter. Ivy is an easy answer, as are trailing sedums or a classic favourite, Golden Creeping Jenny, also known as Lysimachia. These look good when asymmetrically. For example, only on one side of the planter.
Great Plants for Fall Planters - Spillers

If you find the height of your planter lacking, add something tall. For example a tall grass, corn stalks, or curly twiggy branches. It's a look that just seems to fit the season.
Some of my favourite plants for fall planters include:
 

Thrillers Fillers Spillers
Japanese Maples Mid-Sized Grasses Ivy
Trailing Grasses
Yews / Boxwoods Pansies / Violas Creeping Jenny
Lemon Cypress Ornamental Cabbage / Kale Trailing Sedums
Tall Upright Grasses Ornamental Peppers  
Upright Sedums Bud Blooming Heathers  
Mums Heucheras  
Sunflowers
Blueberry Plants (Colourful Foliage & Stems)
Winter Green (Gaultheria)  
Twigs, Sticks & Stems Dusty Miller  
  Euphorbias
Pumpkins & Gourds
 

Bulb Bonus Points

For bonus points, drop some spring blooming bulbs in your planters so you have an extra season on interest in the early spring! Maybe some Winter Aconites, Crocus, Snowdrops or even a few early blooming Daffodils!

So what are you waiting for? The temperatures are cooler and the rains have returned. Now is the time to plant up your fall planters! If you’re strapped for time, give one of our folks a call and we can have something gorgeous planted up for you.

Cheers... Rebecca

Rebecca van der Zalm

Rebecca van der Zalm

Rebecca is an owner and the ‘Plant Boss’ of Art’s Nursery Garden & Home, a large family owned garden centre in Surrey. Fueled by her passion for plants and the occasional grande vanilla latte, Rebecca strives to share her love of gardening at every opportunity. The goal: to offer more service, more selection and more fun.
Tel:604.882.1201
Email:rmrazek@artsnursery.com
Web:http://www.artsnursery.com
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