When the days start to get cooler and the temperature drops, don't give up on your garden. There's still plenty of time to display fall potted plants before the coldest months of the year. With autumn-blooming flowers, vibrant foliage, and our fall planter ideas, you can bring gardening glory to your home and yard that'll last until the chill of winter sets in.
Beautiful Fall Flowers for Pots
There are many great potted flowers to plant and grow in the fall. You can fill your autumn containers with plants that prefer cooler weather or selections that bloom from spring or summer all the way through fall.
Aster is a genus within the Asteraceae family, which explains its daisy-like appearance (daisies are in the same family). These lovely flowering plants are well suited for container gardening. Most aster species bloom in late summer and continue going through October. They can tolerate brief periods of near-freezing weather, so it's possible for them to bloom into the winter in warm climates.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis), often referred to as pot marigold, makes a lovely autumn container plant. These plants have earth-tone flowers and prefer cooler temperatures, so they are a great choice for fall. If you are lucky enough to have calendula plants that make it through the summer in your garden, you can just transplant a few into the containers you want to display during fall. They'll keep blooming until the temperature drops to around 25°F (-4°C).
With their sunny colors and cheerful appearance, gerbera daisies are great potted plants that will take you through summer and fall. They will bloom when it's hot outside and keep on going until the temperatures start to dip below freezing. They come in several colors, including lavender, orange, pink, red, white, and yellow. Most are a solid color, though some are bicolor. If you're looking to fill a large container, plant several gerberas together in the same or varying colors.
Heather is a great potted plant for fall. It can bloom from July through November, so it's a wonderful way to add color to the garden from mid-summer all the way until winter arrives. If you do plant it during the summer, be sure to deadhead the plant once blooms get tired in order to ensure a spectacular fall display.
Lantana is a great potted flower for most of the year. This tropical plant blooms in spring and keeps going until the first frost. In warm climates (USDA Zones 8-10), it's a perennial that can actually produce blooms year-round. Lantana comes in a variety of vivid colors, including orange, pink, purple, red, and yellow. Mix multiple colors in the same container for maximum impact.
Lobelia (Lobelia erinus) is a lovely container plant for fall gardens, especially if you're looking for something to cascade over the side of the pot. These plants bloom in spring and can continue through the summer and into fall. They sometimes stop flowering when it's really hot, but they will start blooming again once it cools down in fall if you keep them well-watered during the hottest months of the year.
Marigolds (Tagetes) start blooming during the summer and keep going through the first frost of the year. There are many varieties in various shades of yellow and orange, including single color and bicolor varieties, so their tone is perfect for autumn. They transplant well and root easily, so if you used marigolds as companion plants in your summer garden, you can snip off some rooted stems or dig up a few plants to pot for fall.
Mums (Chrysanthemums) are very popular potted flowers for fall. They are hardy until temperatures dip to around 20 degrees Fahrenheit. They work great in any kind of container, from a standard flowerpot to a large urn. Mums come in a wide variety of colors, including lavender, orange, white, purple, red, and yellow. Most mums are a solid color, but some are bicolor.
Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) is a lovely perennial in the Asteraceae family, so it's related to both asters and daisies. It's a wildflower but performs wonderfully as a potted plant. Sneezeweed blooms in late August or early September and continues to flower for about three months. This plant is a fabulous fall pollinator.
According to the University of North Carolina, it's called sneezeweed because, historically, the flowers and leaves were used in a type of snuff that made people sneeze.
More Interesting Fall Planter Ideas
Fall planters don't necessarily have to be filled with flowers. You can create beautiful fall containers with other types of plants, including small fall color trees, foliage plants, or even edibles.
Add visual interest to your fall garden by combining multiple plants that are grown for their foliage. Here you can see coleus, caladiums, and ferns growing together. Coleus plants will actually produce flowers as the cool days of autumn set in. Their flowers are pretty and seed-producing, but they generally signal that the plant is near the end of its life. You'll need to be prepared to replace that part of the display with another plant.
If you're looking for an impressive fall planting for your front porch or the entrance to your garden, consider planting a dwarf or semi-dwarf Japanese maple tree in a large container. Its red leaves will put on an impressive fall color display throughout autumn. Japanese maples are deciduous trees, so they'll lose their leaves when winter arrives.
For beautiful fall containers that are also edible, consider combining a few types of leafy greens in a pot, or even pair edible flowers with leafy green vegetables in containers. The containers pictured here feature lettuce and nasturtiums, both of which prefer growing in cool conditions. Enjoy the beauty of your containers, as well as salads made of lettuce and nasturtium leaves topped with nasturtium petals. Swiss chard and kale also grow well in containers.
Ornamental or Edible Cabbage
Whether you choose a purely ornamental version or one that is edible, cabbage is an interesting choice for a fall potted plant. Be sure the variety you select is an appropriate size for the container you are using. Dress it up by placing a few gourds, small pumpkins, or cured winter squash around the edges of the container for impact.
Create a Lovely Autumn Container Display
There are plenty of wonderful fall planter ideas to consider. Use or combine any of the ideas here to curate a gorgeous selection of fall potted plants. Whether you have an elaborate container garden design or just a few potted plants, your autumn display is sure to be lovely.