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Fall Pumpkin Planter Ideas

By: Garden Gate staff
How does a gardener decorate a pumpkin? With plants! We're here to share our best tips and ideas for creating a fall pumpkin planter.

c-pumpkin-planter-lead: This festive pumpkin planter uses cool-weather plants like pansies and kale.

Putting together your fall pumpkin planter

Decorate your front entryway with a festive fall pumpkin planter. Learn exactly how to make a pumpkin into a flower pot, and then scroll down for a couple more inspiring ideas!

The key to making a pumpkin planter look its best for as long as possible is to not plant directly inside the pumpkin. Instead, plant up a plastic nursery pot. (We used one 8 in. in diameter. Make sure to choose a pumpkin that can fit the size of pot you’d like to use.) Pick out plants that look good late into the fall. These kales, pansies and cape daisies all do well in cool fall temperatures. When you’ve gathered the materials, you’re ready to begin.


Planting tips

First, place a little potting mix in the bottom of the pot. Most pumpkins won’t hold a very big pot, so to fit in as many plants as possible, flatten each root ball before you tuck it in, then fill in any spaces with more mix. Once everything is planted, water the pot and let it drain completely before you place it in the pumpkin.

Cut an opening in the top of your pumpkin large enough for your nursery pot. Scoop out the insides and cut a 1-in. drainage hole in the bottom. Seal the pumpkin by spraying the inside with Wilt-Pruf®, especially around the hole. Once it dries, sink your pot inside. And there you have a "Jack o' planter!" Scroll down for some more details about the plants and plan.

Container care

  • Full sun
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Remove plastic pot before each watering and allow it to drain before replacing back into the pumpkin

pumpkin-planter-lettered-plan-orange: Make sure your nursery pot fits inside the pumpkin you choose. For our pumpkin we used one that is 8 in. in diameter.

Plant list (number to plant)

A) Kale Brassica oleracea ‘Peacock Red’ (2)
B) Kale Brassica oleracea ‘Nagoya Red’ (1)
C) Pansy Viola x wittrockiana ‘Blues Brothers Mix’ (7)
D) Cape daisy Osteospermum ‘Orange Symphony’ (4)

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Fill a pumpkin with funky foliage

Fill a pumpkin with funky foliage

Fun in fall hollowing out pumpkins doesn’t have to be solely for jack-o’-lanterns. Have fun with lime-green and black foliage to create a spooky fall scene. Cluster together plants in their own 3- to 4-in. pots. This combo is only around for a short time, so there’s no need for lots of room to grow. Add a little height and some additional creepiness by poking a few contorted or lichen-covered sticks in the back of the planting.

Full pumpkin planter planting diagram

Plant list (number to plant)

A) Dracaena Dracaena fragrans ‘Limelight’(1)
B) Earth star Cryptanthus‘Black Mystic’ (1)
C) Begonia Begonia ‘Black Taffeta’ (1)
Pumpkin opening is 8 in. in diameter

Planting a carved pumpkin

Plant a carved pumpkin

Don’t let your carved pumpkin sit empty! For a light-hearted look, lightly carve the pumpkin, as we did (but don’t turn it into a full jack-o-lantern!), and give it a simple planting of mums or asters.

Planting tips

  • Don’t plant directly into the pumpkin. Plant up a nursery pot, and slide that into the pumpkin.
  • Spray the pumpkin with an antidesiccant like Bonide Wilt Stop to help it last longer.
  • Remove the pot to water.
  • When the plants have faded, toss them or plant them in the garden, and add the pumpkin to the compost bin.

Plant list (number to plant)

A) Garden mum Chrysanthemum morifolium (1)
B) Black mondo grass Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’(1)

Published: Oct. 16, 2018
Updated: Oct. 1, 2020

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