What to Plant in Fall Planters Now

Ah, the shades of autumn! It’s time to start thinking about planting your fall planters and placing them on your front porch or back patio.

It’s Time to Start Planting Your Fall Planters

You can enjoy them through Thanksgiving. Then it’ll be time to begin thinking of Christmas decorations!

Fall is one of our favorite seasons! The air is brisk, the wind is blowing, and some rain is falling. Halloween and Thanksgiving are both just around the corner!

The trees are spectacular, with the leaves turning brilliant shades of red and orange. When they fall to the ground, you can walk on them in silence when they’re fresh, and with crunching after they’ve dried.

Pumpkins and squash are ready to harvest, lending their beautiful hues to their surroundings. It’s fun to go through the corn mazes and pumpkin patch. Pick out some pumpkins to display on your front porch and use them for your fall decorations.

Mix it up! Get some orange ones, some white ones, some large, and a couple of the small ones. They’ll all go together looking like an abundant harvest spilling down.

Make your own beautiful fall garden containers. Just add some mums, grasses, straw, pumpkins, and other fall-like items to create your own stunning autumn planters.

Thrillers, Fillers, and Spillers, Oh My!

container gardening with thrillers, fillers and spillers
Beautiful container garden

When beginning to think about creating your fall planters, remember the container building theory of having different heights in your container.

You need the thriller (tall), the filler (bushy), and the spiller (trailing) all involved to create an exciting fall planter.

If you already have containers planted with the last of the summer plants, remove the dead and tired ones. You can reuse the ones that still look good, add some new ones, and your arrangements will last into late fall.

Add some fresh foliage like ivy, lamium, and dusty miller. Lamb’s ear and hardy herbs make nice fillers.

Check out your local nurseries for end-of-summer sales plants that are in shades of autumn. We found prices that were up to 50% off and loaded our car.

You can add artificial elements to your fall planters for extra color and texture. And they won’t wilt!

Add fall accents like pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, or straw bales. Choose plants that can overwinter and develop more interesting colors after a frost.

Here are some examples of beautiful fall planters:

gold ceramic pot with fall plants and grasses
Fall Planter from Life on Virginia Street
fall planter in white ceramic includespurple cabbage, tall grass and verbena
Fall Planter from Feast and Flowers
fall planter with purple astilbe, yellow mums,
Fall Planter from Southern Living
fall planter combines red and yellow mums with green and purple kale and ivy trailing
Fall Planter from Mod Vintage Life

Some of Our Favorite Plants for the Fall Planters:



Asters (aster genus) look a bit like daisies, and bloom in late-summer and early-fall.

They are very easy to grow and come in a variety of colors and sizes. They will bloom predictably and reliably.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 10
  • Growth: 1 to 4 feet high, 1 to 3 feet wide
  • Bloom time: August through October
  • Color Varieties: White, pastel blues, pastel pinks to hybrids of deep scarlet and purple
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to light shade
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained


colorful orange, yellow and red chrysanthemums in pots
Assorted Chrysanthemums

Look at these colors! Chrysanthemums (chrysanthemum grandiflorum), also known as mums, are a very popular fall garden flower.

There are hundreds of varieties available in a range of shapes and colors. They will provide blooms from late summer through fall.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
  • Color Varieties: White, yellow, orange, lavender, purple, red, and bicolor
  • Bloom time: September to frost
  • Sun Exposure: Sunlight before blooming, shadier when flower buds develop
  • Soil Needs: rich, well-drained soil

Coral Bells

for the fall planter coral bells pink flowers with purple variegated leaves
Coral Bells

Coral Bells (Heuchera spp.) aren’t your grandma’s coral bells anymore! Today, they have a huge diversity of foliage color and patterns, plant size and flower performance.

There are coral bells for direct sun and shadier areas. They provide multi-season interest in both the garden and the planter or container.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
  • Growth: 6 to 18 inches high, 1 to 2 ½ feet wide. Flower stalks grow to 2 feet or taller
  • Color Varieties: Red, pink, coral, white
  • Bloom time: late spring to midsummer
  • Sun Exposure: Full to partial sun
  • Soil Needs: Loamy

Ornamental Cabbage

purple and green ornamental cabbage plant
Ornamental Cabbage

Ornamental cabbage (Brassicaceae oleracea var. acephala) is a true workhorse for the fall garden and containers.

It’s a stubby and cheerful addition and is available in a variety of shapes and colors.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11
  • Color Varieties: Purple, rose, cream
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Needs: Loamy

Flowering Kale

flowering kale in purple, pink and green colors
Flowering Kale

Flowering kale (Brassicaceae oleracea var. capitate) is a true workhorse for the fall garden and containers. It has a spiky with varying foliage forms and colors.

As the weather gets colder, the kale’s colors change and the bold foliage can really make a statement.

You can use the taller selections as the “thriller” in your plantings, or the shorter selections as the “filler” in your container scheme.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11
  • Color Varieties: Purple, rose, cream
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Needs: Loamy

Oxalis or Shamrock

green shamrock or oxalis leaves

Oxalis or shamrock (Oxalis vulcanicola is not invasive) is a nice addition to the fall container. It comes in a variety of colors and can function as the “filler” for the planting scheme.

Oxalis or shamrocks have three leaves (not four!), and you will see them everywhere on St. Patrick’s Day!

The species has a bit of an identification problem: some say it’s a clover, others say it’s a wood sorrel. But all say the shamrock has only three leaves.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 8 to 11
  • Color Varieties: Mauve, lavender
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Soil Needs: Well-draining soil


Pansies flowers come in all colors yellows, reds, blues and purples
Pansies with Happy Faces

Pansies (viola x wittrockiana) colorful flowers with heart-shaped, overlapping petals and can grow almost anywhere.

They are associated with the spring garden, but pansies are a hardy addition to the fall planter.

They come in a variety of sizes and colors. Choose some that contrast with the dark green foliage of other plants.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 9
  • Growth: 9 to 12 inches wide and 6 to 9 inches tall
  • Color Varieties: blue, orange, pink, purple, red, white, yellow, and multicolored
  • Sun Exposure: full sun to part sun
  • Soil Needs: loamy

Purple Fountain Grass

purple fountain grass is lovely with purple stems and flowing tops
Purple Fountain Grass

Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum zadvena ‘Rubrum’) can add contrasting shape and texture to your garden or container.

It is a beautiful grass with tall plumes rising above the clumping grass.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 9 and warmer
  • Growth: 3 to 5 feet high, 2 to 4 feet wide
  • Color Varieties: burgundy-red leaves, burgundy-purple flowers
  • Sun Exposure: full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Needs: average, well-drained


Sedum or Stonecrop Flowers

Sedums, also known as stonecrop, are easy-to-grow succulents that add color and interest to the garden or your containers.

There are three varieties of sedum plants:

  • Tall border varieties (Hylotelephium or Sedum telephium) have dense, domed flowers and succulent leaves on 1 to 2 foot stems.
  • Creeping ground covers (Sedum) are low to the ground and produce clusters of star-shaped flowers.
  • Trailing varieties (Sedum morganianum) include donkey’s tail or burro’s or lamb’s tail.
  • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 11
  • Growth: tall varieties up to 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide, creeping 2 to 6 inches tall and up to 2 feet wide
  • Color Varieties: Pink to mauve, copper and dark purple
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: average soil with good drainage


pink verbena flowers on green stems for the fall planter
Verbena Flowers

Verbena is a wonderful plant for the garden and the container garden. It blooms all season long with brightly colored flowers. It tolerates the heat of mid-summer and the late fall cooler days.

New cultivars are being offered which offer better flower production and a broad range of color choices.

  • Garden verbena (Verbena xhybrida) offers different varieties offer low growing and trailing to upright patterns
  • Tall verbena varieties (Verbena bonariensis) can grow to 4 to 5 feet tall.
  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 11
  • Growth: mounding to 5 feet tall depending on the variety
  • Color Varieties: White, pink, red, lavender, blue, purple, and bicolored
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Acidic soil

Plant Your Fall Planters Now!

Fall is the time to refresh your summer flower containers with autumn colors and plants.

We’ve listed some of the popular items that are used in the fall planters so you can get some ideas. You’ll be glad you got it done.

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