Five Easy Fall Container Ideas

By this time, some gardeners in  the northern tier have experienced a frost or even a freeze, and that means summer container plantings may be looking a little raggedy. We could still have another month or more of decent weather, so why not update a container — or plant a new one — for fall.

pumpkin pot

Use a pumpkin for a pot for a whimsical fall container.

Here are five easy fall container ideas. For some of them, you can simply remake a summer container.

Edit your summer containers. Sometimes less really is more. If you have a container where one plant looks fine, but the others are spent, consider just pulling out the bad ones and giving the lovely plants more space around them. Negative space — an area of absence around an object — is a principle of Japanese garden design.

Veg out. If you don’t like the idea of nothing filling your container, add an item from your vegetable garden for a fall focal point. A small pumpkin or two, an over-sized cabbage or a squash from your garden will fill the hole nicely and bring your container into the season.


Add a fall bloomer. Mums look terrific in fall, and they are available everywhere in a variety of sizes and price points. They can be tucked into a current container or set apart in their own pot. A more unusual choice would be ornamental peppers, which add fiery color and unusual texture. Or add a perennial that you can put in your garden at the end of the season, such as grasses, sedum or heuchera.


Emphasize your fall colors. Purple sweet potato vines, orange marigolds, bright yellow calibrachoa add a fall touch to containers. You may still be able to find plants in your local nurseries (at deep, deep discounts), if you want to create a new container. Or, simply move your containers around to put the fall colored plants toward the front.


Use a pumpkin for a pot! This is just plain fun, especially if you have children. Take a pumpkin, cut off the top, hollow it out, and fill it with a little potting soil and a couple of plants. You can use plants already in your garden or new ones. Depending on the weather, the pumpkin will last several weeks. When it begins to collapse, toss it all in the compost.


What are your ideas for easy fall containers?


One Minute Video Recipes

About Tom McKusick 30 Articles
It is the mission of MSHS to serve Northern gardeners through education, encouragement, and community. Through a variety of educational programs, classes and conferences, and by publishing an award-winning magazine, Northern Gardener, MSHS helps its members and the general public to be better gardeners in USDA plant hardy Zones 3, 4 and 5. MSHS’ plant donation network, Minnesota Green, started in 1988, serves the greening efforts of volunteer gardeners throughout the state. Minnesota Green promotes grassroots efforts to revitalize communities by coordinating the donation and distribution of nurseries and greenhouse’s flowers and trees to be planted in public spaces statewide. MSHS was formed in 1866, as an association of fruit growers who took on the challenge of growing apples and other fruits in a northern climate. Two years later, the association became the Minnesota State Horticultural Society to recognize the importance of all phases of horticulture development in rural and urban Minnesota. In 1873, the Minnesota Legislature approved an act providing for the publication and distribution of 2000 copies of all the transactions of the society. 1894 marked the birth of one of the longest continually published horticultural magazines in the country: Northern Gardener, formerly known as Minnesota Horticulturist.