My favorite season is on its way, AUTUMN!!! Which also means it’s time for autumn annual containers.
The only thing you need remember for a well-presented display is: Thriller, Filler & Spiller!
- Thriller is that one large plant that is generally in the center and taller than the rest.
- Filler are those mid-range sized plants, often of ‘fatter or fuller’ stature.
- Spiller is just that, plants that hang over the edge of the pot.
The only small difference you need to remember is that autumn plants do not grow like summer plants do. Basically, WYSIWYG (what you see, is what you get), you do not need to think about a plant growing into it’s place. Fill the pot to it’s greatest extent because this container will only be around for two months at best.
Here’s a great tip when using grasses: There’s no need to plant them! Wire, tie or tape them together right at the base (think ponytail), and stuff them in. Therefore, no high-end real estate being wasted on another bundle of roots.
Most autumn plants are also not that tall. I use grasses, sticks and other material to get the height the design requires.
Here’s what I commonly order for my autumn containers:
- Miscanthus grasses – These add great height & texture
- Pennisetum millet – Height & texture, fuzzy seedheads.
- Heuchera – Coral bells – Great colored leaves available
- Acorus & Carex – A nice bright yellow or white for a great spiller
- Sedums – Great for spillers
- Ajuga – Nice texture
- Rudbeckia – Great reds, yellows and oranges available, also great for height
- Kale – It comes in many varieties from cabbage/round style to tall parsley-looking
- Osaka Cabbage – A staple in most of my designs. Fills those ‘holes’ really well
- Swiss Chard – A wonderful filler that is very colorful also
- Mums – Surely the official fall flower!!! Great filler
- Calibracoa – They look like small petunias, but can handle the cooler temps. Great spiller
- Ivy – Sometimes I reuse the ivy from the summer containers (Shhh) as it still looks great and it’s much bigger than the newly ordered pots
- Ornamental Jerusalem Cherry – Looks like a tomato plant, but use with caution, they don’t take the cool weather well & the ‘cherries’ fall off
- Ornamental peppers – Great way to splash in some color to the filler section (No, you can’t eat them!)
- Crotons – One of my favs! Great for a colorful thriller
- Pansy – These cool season flowers look great and add great color to the pot
- Bittersweet or honeysuckle – This one is not alive, but it is a great finishing touch to the design. Unfortunately, it is a very invasive species, but is grown for the floral industry. I wish someone would get a business together where they would ‘wild collect’ this and do a ‘two-fer’ for society, invasive removal & design enjoyment
- Eucalyptus, magnolia leaves, corn and millet – Wonderful for height and fill