Using Autumn Flowers in Containers


Fall for Creative Containers

Bring beautiful container creations to the end of the season, don’t give up after summer! Autumn blooming flowers are sturdy enough to take some cold temperatures, and they can last longer in the season than you might expect. Don’t leave all the garden color to autumn leaves and pumpkins. Read on for tips, plant recipes, and a spark for your own container garden accents.

Top Fall Container Tips

  • Plant early September for best results
  • Foliage plants are king. Lasting show when flowers are over
  • End of fall? Plant the hardy varieties in a protected garden bed for next year.
  • Live in the South? Salvia, all pansies and violas, or Cuphea may be great choices for you.
  • In general, fall container recipes benefit from contrasts and tighter planting (more plants)

Pink for Autumn!

Chrysanthemums, ornamental cabbage, sedum, ivy, and ferns fill the ceramic pot, above. Bright pink florals and color from foliage make an outstanding design. This combination shows that pink is definitely a color for the end of the season.

It doesn’t need to be entirely orange and yellows to express the beauty of fall. Pink asters, mauve and rosy Chrysanthemums, Light pink Korean mums, even late blooming sedums have pink blooms.

A similar arrangement of plants, but in a formal, dark colored urn. The colors are closer in harmonies of orange, green, and purple. This is a rich and dramatic palette, eye-catching in this season.

Plants for Autumn Containers

In both the featured photos, the main plant materials are cushion chrysanthemums and flowering kale or cabbage. Both these choices will resist frost. The arrangements drip with ivies or small sedums, and can be accented with grasses, small asters, ferns, and the like.

Flowering Kale

I have had the flowering kales last well until after Christmas in containers outdoors. It took the really harsh temperatures of January to diminish them.

These can get tall and leggy, so try to find  (or grow earlier in the season) those which are thrifty and have foliage down to the ground. Barring that, install the Kale plants at the center  and fill in around thme with mounds of asters or contrasting foliage of Heuchera (coral bells).


An idea that almost seems too simple, except that it is visually outstanding and effective, is the single large display. The ideal is cushion mums of all one type and color. I have purchased this size for a reasonable price, especially during early fall at Costco, Sam’s club, etc. Place in prominent containers in front of your porch- striking!

FALL Chrysanthemum Container

Chrysanthemum in golden hue.

Sedums and other succulent plants will give texture while maintaining their good looks in the cooler temperatures of fall. They mix so well with other plants or just among themselves, creating interesting arrangements.

Coreopsis and Sedum Container photo by greenwalksblog on Flickr

Plants for autumn containers are a mix of perennial and annuals. Coreopsis and Sedum Container photo by greenwalksblog on Flickr


For detailed information on putting together your containers, see


autumn flower container with mums

Mums center it, while golden foliage shrub and grasses or plants like Bergenia harmonize.

Plants for Autumn Container Ideas:

  • Mums 
  • Flowering Kale and Cabbages, Brassica oleracea
  • Sedums and succulents
  • Grasses  fountain grass, sedge and others)
  • fall Pansies
  • Coreopsis
  • Coral Bells, Heucheras
  • Oxalis regnallii ‘Charmed Velvet’
  • Calibrachoa (million bells)
  • Barberry bush
  • ‘Rainbow’ leucothoe
  • Strawflowers
  • Rosemary, thyme, and lavenders
  • Euphorbias
  • colorful Swiss chard
  • Rudbeckia, Black-eyed Susans

Of course there are more, but these are enough to get your imagination in gear. Autumn is a wonderful time for fun arrangements of plants in your containers. Don’t forget to accessorize with gourds, pumpkins, and corn stalks, as well.

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author


I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of "Ilona's Reflecting Pool". Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. The work on "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.