Best Plants for Fall Containers

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Here in Southern Indiana, the season is shifting slowly but noticeably from summer to autumn. It’s mid-September, and many summer annuals are looking weary (especially Petunias), so it’s time to change them out for fall plants that can handle the cooler weather.

Try planting these in your fall containers this year.


Mums have prolific, long-lasting blooms, and they come in a wide range of colors. For longevity, buy plants that a lot of tight buds and deadhead regularly to encourage new blooms. For best results, plant mums in full sun.

Ornamental Kale and Cabbage

Shades of pink, green, white, and purple will last well into winter. Plant in full sun to part shade.


This fall blooming perennial comes in a range of sizes and colors. They are deer resistant, but rabbits will chew on stems. Plant in full sun.

Pansies and Violas

These flowers are small but add a lot of color when massed. Deadhead regularly. Plant in full sun to part shade.

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses add great texture and, depending on the variety, can function as either a cascading element or add height to a container planting. Look for varieties with good fall color like Purple Fountain Grass, Flame Grass, or Japanese Forest Grass (for shade).


Heuchera, or Coral Bells, come in many colors that are perfect for fall combinations and their size makes them perfect filler plants around the edge of containers. There are varieties for both sun and shade.


Ferns add texture and are great filler plants for shade containers.

Shrubs with burgundy or evergreen foliage

Burgundy and evergreen shrubs add height, texture, and color to container plantings. Look for shrubs in smaller nursery pots to be sure they’ll fit into your container. Evergreen shrubs will last longer since they won’t drop their foliage when temperatures start getting chilly.

Consider adding in other materials like pumpkins and gourds, cut grass plumes, dried Hydrangea blooms, Hedge apples, sticks, straw, or basically any fall decoration you can think of that can hold up to outdoor conditions for at least a couple of months. These are especially great to use in shade containers, since most fall plants don’t perform well in the shade.

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