Planting Containers for Late Summer into Autumn

Late Summer Planter

As the end of August approaches, summer containers may be in need of renewal. Save the fall mums and pumpkins for October and November. There are dozens of cool season container plants, including small shrubs, perennials as well as “fall annuals” that will put on a show for the next 6-8 weeks, at least.

A few tips about late season plantings: If your original planting included strong foliage plants that are still looking fine, leave them and pull out the sad looking offenders. Add some fresh soil in the pockets. Select some new plant material to replenish the bare spots. If starting a new combination, consider this. Plant growth is slowing down, due to fewer hours of daylight, so plant more densely than you would in early summer. Give a feeding or 2 of Dynagro, or other liquid fertilizer.

Here’s an example of great late season ensemble. This combination has been a favorite for years, and works well in an 18-20″ pot. For height we?ve used Purple Fountain Grass Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’, and added a pair of Cuphea ‘David Verity’, a hummingbird magnet, with its tubular orange flowers and handsome foliage that takes on burgundy tones in cool temperatures. A robust Heuchera ‘Caramel’ adds weight, a dark leaved ornamental pepper adds fun, and ‘Dreamsicle’ Calibrachoa cascades over the pots for dramatic effect.

2 thoughts on “Planting Containers for Late Summer into Autumn”

  1. Hello, I just bought 2 new planters and am looking for late summer (pre-Mum) ideas, but for shade? It is on a wrap around deck that is roofed, left and right of front door. Thank you!

  2. Did you check out our blog posts on Plectranthus & ? They take a bit of shade and show off in late summer and fall. You could add Chasmanthium ‘River Mist’, or a vareigated Alpinia for height, and for fillers Euphorbia ‘Helena’s Blush’ or ‘Ascot Rainbow’ or even one of the Heuchera such as ‘Caramel’ or ‘Electra’. Ivy’s make great end of the season trailers, and will even survive frost. Try Hedera ‘Amber Wave.

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