Looking for easy container garden ideas for fall? I planted some cool containers for my front porch that look amazing! Learn how to make your own with these easy tips.

Container gardening is one of my favorite things to do. It’s easy, they warm up empty spaces, you can change the plants out to match the season, and you don’t need much room to enjoy one.

But for me?

The best part about growing plants in containers is designing them. Because I really enjoy spending time at the garden nursery playing around with different plant combinations.

And when I’m shopping around, I look for plants that will add seasonal color, texture, and dimension.

In this post, I’m sharing how to plant a beautiful container garden idea for fall with beautiful flowering annuals and perennials.

Wait until you see how gorgeous this planter looks!

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What Can I Do With My Container Garden for Fall?

As the fall season approaches, it’s time to transition your container gardens to embrace the changing colors and cooler temperatures.

With a few simple steps, you can keep your containers thriving and add a touch of autumn beauty to your outdoor space.

Here are some easy ideas on what you can do with your container gardens in the fall.

close up of pink garden mums

Replace Summer Annuals with Fall Garden Favorites

Start by removing any summer annuals that may be past their prime. Replace them with fall-friendly plants like pansies, ornamental kale, mums, and decorative cabbage.

These cool-season plants can withstand chilly temperatures and add a splash of color to your containers.

Add Fall Blooming Flowers

Consider incorporating fall-blooming flowers into your container arrangements. Flowers like asters, chrysanthemums, sedum autumn joy, pansies, celosia, and zinnias can add vibrant colors and extend the blooming season well into fall.

close up of pink celosia at sunset

Introduce Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses are perfect for fall container gardens. Their feathery plumes and changing foliage hues add texture and movement to your arrangements.

I have several different varieties planted in the beds, but there are smaller ones that you can grow in containers too.

Incorporate Fall Foliage

Embrace the beautiful foliage of fall by adding plants with colorful leaves to your containers.

Consider plants like coral bells (Huecheras), Japanese maples (Acer palmatum), and ornamental peppers (Capsicum annuum) for their eye-catching foliage hues.

For me, I love using huecheras in my planters instead of garden mums because they last longer are much easier to grow the following season.

flea market finds potted up with heucheras on the front porch with porch swing, fall pillows and cozy blanket in autumn

Plant Fall Bulbs

Get a head start on spring by planting fall bulbs in your containers.

Tulips, daffodils, crocuses, and hyacinths can be planted in the fall, and they will reward you with colorful blooms when spring arrives.

If you plant them in containers, pot them up, lightly water them, and keep them in a covered protected area like a garage or shed so they don’t go through the freezing and thawing of winter that can rot them.

Then pull them out in early spring as you see the growth emerge.

The pointed end is the top of the bulb -How to Plant Bulbs in Fall

Keep Watering and Maintaining

Even in the fall, container plants still require regular watering. While you might not need to water as frequently as in the summer, make sure to check the soil moisture regularly and water as needed.

You can use your finger by sticking it in the soil about an inch to check for dryness. Or you can use a moisture meter like this.

Additionally, continue to deadhead spent blooms and browned leaves to keep your containers looking tidy.

fall garden plants with rudbeckia, sedum autumn joy and garden mums with white birdhouse

Protect from Extreme Weather

As temperatures drop, keep an eye on frost warnings. Move your containers to a sheltered spot or cover them with a frost cloth or old blanket overnight to protect sensitive plants from frost damage.

I will admit, I don’t do this regularly. But I will do if we are expecting a frost much earlier than we should.

For the most part, I let the weather do what it’s going to do and the plants that are hardier will fare better than ones that aren’t.

In this same regard, it’s not a good idea to buy garden mums too early when the weather is still hot out. I know nurseries, big box stores, and markets start to put them out in August.

But resist the urge to buy them!

They are not bred to last more than a few weeks anyway and they can’t love hot weather. It’s better to hold off buying them until later in the fall when the temps stay more consistently cool.

Backyard zen gardens in fall with changing foliage at sunset with tree sculpture shaped like koi fish

Get Creative with Fall Decor

Add a touch of seasonal flair to your container gardens with fall-themed decorations. Consider incorporating pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks, or other fall harvest elements to create a festive display.

I like to add cornstalks to my porch posts in addition to tucking pumpkins in both on my porches, ledges, and walls.

And last year, I even added the biggest pumpkins I could find on the pillars as you enter my driveway and I love how it looked!

front yard cottage garden in fall with a view of the valley in new jersey with rudbeckia, celosia and snapdragons
view of the front yard driveway gardens

Bring Indoors

If you have container plants that are not cold-hardy or won’t survive the winter, consider bringing them indoors.

Many plants can thrive as houseplants with proper care, giving you a head start for next year’s garden.

Geraniums and coleus do well when you move them indoors. I’ve had great success overwintering them in my sunroom and family room.

But it’s also a good idea to dig up and save tender perennials like dahlias, caladiums, and colocasia too so you can plant them again next year without rebuying them.

dahlia thomas edison and fountain with arbor in potager garden
Dahlia ‘Thomas Edison’

Enjoy Fall Blooms and Foliage

Above all, take the time to enjoy your fall container gardens.

Whether you have a few pots on the porch, patio, or a collection of containers throughout your yard, these fall displays are sure to bring joy and beauty to your outdoor space during the autumn season.

You can even cut some, like celosia and strawflowers, to dry and use with your fall decor or to make a wreath.

Hydrangea flowers are easy to dry using this method and you can even dry them directly on a wreath.

DIY Simple Hydrangea Wreath using what you have on hand and cutting flowers from the garden

What Can I Plant in Fall Containers?

There is so much more to plant in fall container gardens than just garden mums!

Here is a great list of the best fall garden flowers. But here are some fall planting ideas for containers.

  • Millet
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Garden mums
  • Celosia
  • Pansies
  • Marigold
  • Snapdragons
  • Strawflowers
  • Creeping Jenny
  • Calamint
  • Fountain Grass

This year, I want to try something different and have a little more fun with my container gardens.

I can’t wait to show you the cool plants I used!

And guess what?

I did NOT use garden mums.

Container Garden in fall

Container Garden Ideas for Fall

For several seasons, I decorated the front porch urns with plantings that are easy on the eye.

Because my front gardens are so vibrant and colorful, I usually like to keep my front porch planters simple with a plant or two.

I love to use small dwarf Alberta spruces in the front porch containers because they are conical, create a focal point, and look simple.

Plus, they are green and look good all year round.

Since I’m decorating the porch for fall now, I started thinking about last year’s outdoor fall decor for some inspiration.

And I loved what I did.

While this post shares how I designed and planted these particular fall planters for my porch, feel free to substitute with plants you want to work with, that are available to you and inspire.

And be sure to check out the additional container garden ideas inspiration at the end of the post.

Container Garden Idea for Fall Supplies

For this container garden idea, I chose plants with bold, bright colors and lots of texture.

Here’s what I used:

  • millet
  • celosia
  • salvia
  • ornamental kale and cabbage
  • creeping jenny
  • calamint
  • pansies (the nursery didn’t have them when I first designed this, but I am adding them soon)
  • potting soil
  • slow-release fertilizer

Directions to Make Container Garden Ideas for Fall

First things first, you need to choose the type of planter you want to use. Do you want to use an urn, stone planter, terra cotta, all-weather resin, etc.?

Once you have the container figured out, you are ready to design and plant.

When designing any container garden, it’s important to consider the thriller, filler, and spiller technique for design.

Since my containers already have plants in them, I cleaned them out first.

Instead of tossing the dwarf Alberta spruces, I planted them directly in the ground in other areas of my garden.

I added some fresh potting soil to the container. then started with the thriller plant.

Designing the Fall Planter

For this fall garden container idea, the thriller is the millet. It is tall, leafy, creates a focal point, and adds movement, color, and texture.

When I dropped the millet in the urn, I centered it towards the back since this is sitting on my front porch.

The plant’s root ball was a little bigger than I estimated for my container garden.

Ah well, I can work around it. Sometimes I get so excited about things I see at the nursery that I want to use, that I just go for it and figure it out later.

Since the root ball takes up a lot of container space, I have to squish the smaller ones in there around it.

I tucked the creeping jenny in front as the spiller. I love that bright chartreuse green. It pairs well with the millet.

As an aside, creeping jenny can be a little invasive here. So keep an eye as it trails down over the edges of the containers.

Container Garden for Fall
Container Garden for Fall

I had it in one of my summer containers years ago in the garden.

It crept down from the pot and rooted into the ground. I’m still pulling it out – it grows quickly and can be hard to get rid of.

But it should be fine in this fall outdoor planter because it will be located on my front porch.

Then I added the ornamental cabbage and kale as some low filler.

Aren’t they so fun? I love the colors and leafy texture they add to the planter.

Next, I tucked in the salvia and the celosia on one side with the billowy calamint and celosia on the other.

Container Garden for Fall
Container Garden for Fall

The Final Result

I really love this plant combination with the millet. That beautiful purple with the bright fuschia of the celosia is really striking, isn’t it?

And the calamint smells really good! Before finishing up, I added plant food and watered it thoroughly.

And that’s it!

Container Garden for Fall
Container Garden for Fall

I can’t wait to add some pansies, garden mums, and pumpkins to the front porch.

That’s happening later this week.

Fall Garden Tip: if you buy and plant pansies now, they will bounce back in spring when the daffodils start to bloom.

Now that my container garden for fall is planted, I am ready to decorate the front porch with some outdoor fall porch decor.

Can’t wait to show you how it looks!

Container Gardem for Fall
Rustic Farmhouse Fall Home Tour

More About Fall Planting in Containers

Do you love to plant fall containers too? What plants do you like to design them with? Do you have any tips you’d like to share? I would love to know more in the comments below.

Sunset in the front porch cottage garden in fall with rudbeckia, sedum autumn joy and snapdragons overlooking the valley

More Container Garden Ideas You Might Enjoy

Wait until you see these beautiful container garden ideas that will inspire for different seasons.

container garden ideas graphic over blooming container  garden

Thank you so much for following along.

Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

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Container Garden for Fall
Container Garden for Fall

Early Spring in the Cottage Garden
Front Porch Urns in Spring

The bricks \'n Blooms guide to a beautiful and easy-care flower garden book by stacy ling
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  1. These turned out lovely. I’ve never tried a fall container garden. This makes me want to try! The millet is perfect for fall!

    1. Thank you! They are so fun to do! I love the different fall plants to include in them. The millet and cabbage are my faves! xoxo