Try New York asters in fall planters
Even in the fall, garden centers have lots of great plants to fill a late-season container. And if you are bored with the classic garden mum in a fall planting (or don't know how to work one of those big beauties into an arrangement), try a New York aster. This plant has the same mounding habit as a garden mum, but looser branching so it's easier to mix into a container with other plants. It also comes in shades of purple and lavender, a lovely cool complement to warm fall colors. Click on the video above to watch as Eric and Kristin plant a New York aster in this gorgeous container.
Perennial thrillers & fillers for a fall planter
For a container planting like this, shop more than just the high-traffic areas of the garden center. Wander down the perennial aisles and look for still fresh-looking plants like 'Variegata Aurea' iris for foliage with a structural element and contrasting texture, or 'Goldsturm' black-eyed Susan with architectural branching to add height and bright color. Mystic Spires Blue salvia and 'Electric Lime' heuchera are colorful fillers. Perennials like these grown in containers can serve double duty — after the arrangement winds down and before the ground freezes, plant them in your garden so you can enjoy them next year. Best of all, they might be on sale at the end of the summer!
Tuck in extra plants
In the succulent section, coppertone stonecrop and 'Variegata' rainbow bush stand out for their coloring that echoes the iris and rudbeckia, as well as the fall accent pumpkins that would be placed nearby. To finish off this planting, ornamental kale and ornamental pepper were tucked in, their purple tones repeating the aster's color.
Fit & finish your fall planter
You might think all these plants won't fit in a 16" container, but surprisingly, they will with a bit of finesse. So it doesn't get too crowded, snip a few branches from the aster if it is really full (and enjoy them inside in a vase). If the perennials are rootbound, trim or tease apart the roots, shaking some of the soil loose so they will all fit better together. Since it is a late season planter, you don't need to worry as much about plants being packed in too tight — they'll only be there temporarily.
Once the plants are all arranged, add fresh soil and pack it in around the roots. No need to add fertilizer this time of year. Simply water in thoroughly and check every few days to make sure the planting doesn't dry out on extra warm fall days.
Fall container plant list:
Here is a list of the plants used in this container. Try experimenting with different cultivars and plants available! Accent your container with fun fall decorations like pumpkins, corn stalks, and gourds for a welcoming display.
- Magic Purple™ New York aster Symphyotrichum novi-belgii (formerly Aster novi-belgii)
- 'Variegata Aurea' iris Iris pallida
- Mystic Spires Blue salvia Salvia hybrid
- 'Goldsturm' Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia fulgida
- 'Electric Lime' coral bells Heuchera hybrid
- Coppertone stonecrop Sedum nussbaumerianum
- 'Variegata' rainbow bush Portulacaria afra
- Ornamental kale Brassica oleracea
- Ornamental pepper Capsicum annuum hybrid