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Fall Corten Steel Planter

By: Jennifer HowellJennifer Howell
Corten steel lends rich fall color to a late-season garden planter. Eric shares his tips for getting the perfect patina & which unique plants provide the perfect accent.

Add a rustic touch to fall containers with Corten Steel

Many plants hit their peak in fall, so it’s a good strategy to buy when they look their best. And they'll look great planted in a Corten® Steel planter with a rustic finish, such as the low bowl in this arrangement. Check out this container planting easily created from an end-of-year trip to the garden center, with tips to get the most from your seasonal display. Watch the video above to learn tips for pulling this container together!

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Corten steel patina process: This Corten Steel planter started out as silver and after adding several applications of the solution, takes on the rusted finish at right.

How to get patina on Corten Steel faster

When purchased, this Corten Steel bowl was a sleek silver metal color, and would have rusted naturally with time. Watch the video to see how we instantly transformed the metal into the perfect container for fall. If you want to speed up the process like we did, here’s how:

  1. Mix 16 oz. hydrogen peroxide, 2 oz. white vinegar, and ½ tbsp. salt in a spray bottle and spritz the container until it is soaked. Be sure to do this project on grass, plastic or cardboard — the runoff will stain concrete and other surfaces.
  2. You’ll start to see the rust form almost instantly! Let it dry between applications.
  3. Apply as many coats as you want. This finish took six, but you could do more for a darker color.

Container tip

Rust from metal containers can stain surfaces like concrete, so this bowl sits in the garden. Two bricks beneath it keep it level and allow it to drain.

Project Supplies:
Spray Bottle
Hydrogen Peroxide
White Vinegar

Fall planter with pumpkin and Corten steel container

Fall container planting

All the elements of fall are right here: Warm colors, rich textures and even a pumpkin blend together in one shallow bowl for the perfect autumn accent. Don’t worry about packing so many plants into such a small container — since it is a seasonal display, they aren’t expected to grow more roots. Less intense late-season sun leaves you free to combine plants you wouldn’t normally in summer (like Northern maidenhair fern and coneflower) without fear of scorching less sun-loving foliage. And cooler fall temperatures mean they won’t be as thirsty, either.

Corten Steel Containers You Might Like:
Steel Bowl Planter
Square Steel Planter
Corten Steel Long Planter Box

Plant care tips

  • Once temperatures get close to freezing, deconstruct the bowl planting.
  • The Mexican hen and chicks, maidenhair fern and rubber plant can be brought in as houseplants for the winter
  • Perennial garden mum, gloriosa daisy, ornamental grass and coneflower can be planted in the garden.
  • If a hard freeze is expected within a couple weeks after you plant the perennials in the garden, top with a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch to insulate newly planted roots before they can get established.

Fall container planting plan

Container plant list

A) Coreopsis Coreopsis Uptick Yellow and Red (2)
B) Celosia Celosia argentea var. cristata ‘Fresh Look Orange’ (1)
C) Garden mum Chrysanthemum hybrid(2)
D) Gloriosa daisy Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherry Brandy’ (2)
E) Sedge Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’ (2)
F) Celosia Celosia argentea var. cristata ‘Fresh Look Yellow’ (1)
G) Miniature fountain grass Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Burgundy Bunny’ (1)
H) Coneflower Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ (1)
I) Northern maidenhair fern Adiantum pedatum (1)
J) Mexican hen and chicks Echeveria shaviana (1)
K) Rubber plant Ficus elastica ‘Burgundy’ (1)
L) Bidens Bidens Campfire® Flame (1)

Container shown is 22 inches in diameter

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Fall Flower Pot Ideas
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Published: July 30, 2021

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work in the garden. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.


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