Autumn is a glorious yet often overlooked season for container creativity. As summer annuals wane, garden centers lure us with rows and rows of ornamental cabbage and stiffly budded mums for a final burst of color before winter. So it’s no surprise that our fall containers tend to look dispiritingly similar year after year.
This year, I set myself a challenge: to completely forgo those fall staples in pursuit of a wider, richer palette that would capture the unique beauty of the season. It turns out that we are spoiled for choices, even in the fall. Ornamental peppers, richly colored sedums, delicate bud-blooming heathers, and long-lasting winter pansies offer far greater interest and variety than the ubiquitous mums and cabbage. An increasing number of blooming perennials now include shorter, more compact varieties suitable for container culture. And whether or not you embrace a traditional warm fall palette, there’s a pansy or viola that can enhance any color scheme and outbloom any mum it goes up against.
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