Submitted by Laura S.
Fall is a wonderful time of year to create some color in your gardens or at your front door. Garden mums are very popular for achieving that pop of color. I’d like to share some tips for creating fall containers that will create lots of dimension while keeping the cost down.
Containers look best if you add three different styles of plants:
- “Thrillers” are the most dramatic and the tallest plants, and they tend to have a thin upright shape. To give height and drama, they should be placed either toward the back, or in the middle of containers.
- “Spillers” are plants that stay short, and spill over the sides of the containers, to soften the edges. They should be placed closer to the edge of the containers.
- “Fillers” are plants of medium height and width that fill out the rest of the container. They can be placed anywhere in the containers.
If you like to create seasonal containers like I do, consider adding some perennials into the design. This has two distinct benefits. First, a perennial is long lasting, and when finished doing its duty in your container can be planted in your garden for future enjoyment. Depending on the size of a container I usually add 1-3 perennials into my creations.
Choose annual plants that can transition well with the seasons. For example, potato vines as the “spiller” can take your summer containers right into the fall season.
A fun low-cost addition to any container is some edibles! Lettuce plants make wonderful “fillers,” and can even provide some nourishment at the dinner table.
On the right is a summer container that brought a lot of cheer to those who passed by. The annual Gomphrena “ping pong” has been a steady workhorse for this planter. A fuchsia-colored celosia and an annual salvia rounded out the “thriller” part of this container. The thyme and several different heucheras are the “spillers,” and have been in this container since the spring.
On the left is the container after removing the perennials for the redesign.
The redesign continues to the right with a “Cappuccino” carex, a perfect thriller. Put your perennials back in and add small pink and rust garden mums, and you have a beautiful fresh fall look to this container, which has now made the transition from summer to fall.
Two more examples: The picture below shows a fall container with recycled Cuban oregano, which came from a summer arrangement, and is a sturdy and fragrant spiller. The burgundy potato vine and cordyline, also recycled from a summer arrangement, bring continuity to the design. Fresh additions of two small garden mums and an ornamental cabbage is all that is needed for this redesign. A truly cost-effective container!
Instead of just one mum in a container for your fall design, how about adding some texture and color interest. In the container below white pansies and different kinds of lettuces really tie in with the rust garden mum and the beautiful color of this container. Color and texture add lots of interest.
Have fun, and don’t forget: every eye-catching container should contain a “thriller,” “a spiller,” and a “filler!”