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How to Build a Fall Container

Fall brings cooler temperatures, colorful leaves and all things pumpkin! In the gardening world, this time of year also means it is time to refresh your pots and container gardens. As your summer blooms start to fade and your pots become sparse, consider the addition of Fall plants. We hosted a Fall Container Class at the shop last week, but if you missed the tutorial, don’t worry, we’ll lay out the basics of building a Fall container for you right here!

First, and most importantly, consider how much light your container garden will get throughout the day. Even though the temps are getting cooler, some plants still don’t want to get blasted by the sun all day long. Before you start buying plants, figure out if your space gets sun in the morning, afternoon, all day or none at all! Lighting is critcal in finding plants that work best for your space. The first thing we ask customers after talking about their sun situation is if they want to achieve a certain style or color scheme. Building a container garden is all about personal preference - you don’t have to follow strict rules!

Speaking of rules, let's dissect the phrase "Thriller

Filler & Spiller. You've probably heard this term used before when designing containers, but what exactly does it mean? Thrillers are the tallest and largest plants in your container that stand out and immediately grab your attention. If you’re creating a one sided container, these plants should be placed toward the back of the planter. If you’re building a 180° design, consider putting your largest plants in the center. Fillers are the medium sized plants that literally fill up the space in your container. Most of the plants in your design will be fillers - these plants help guide the eye from the tallest plant down towards the spillers. Spillers are trailing plants that spill over the edge of your pot. These plants are situated toward the front of your container and bring the eye down the design. While you don’t have to choose plants from each category, using this method will help you build a full, cohesive container garden.

Let’s get into plants! Some of our favorite spillers for this time of year include: asiatic jasmine, ivy (don’t let it get too wet), wire vine, lemon ball sedum (drought tolerant), lamium, creeping jenny (fast growing), sweet potato vine and dichondra. Our favorite fillers include: ferns, coral bells, ornamental cabbages/ kale/ chard (great texture), crotons, lambs ear and ornamental peppers. Our favorite thrillers include: mona lavender, coleus, persian shield, pentas and ornamental grasses.

Now that you know how to choose the plants for your container, discuss how to put it all together! Be fore you get started, fill your container about half way full of dirt. We also like to add Bio-tone Starter to all of our plantings. If planting in a very large container, consider filling space at the bottom with another material like rocks. As you start planting, remember you can angle and manipulate the plants in the space. While most people think you need to break up the roots when planting, we disagree. Your plants will be just as successful without breaking up roots and stressing them out. These annuals have been grown specifically for container gardening, so they don’t need our help! If you’re adding in larger, hardy perennial plants, cutting apart the roots will be beneficial for spacing. Keep in mind that any perennials can be removed from your pots and planted in-ground once they outgrow your container.

As you’re arranging your plants, periodically add in more soil throughout the process. If you wait to add all your soil at the end, you are bound to leave empty holes and make a mess of your beautiful new arrangement. Once finished, top the planter off with soil and give your new design a heavy watering.

And voila! You have successfully design a beautiful Fall container!

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