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12 Best Plants For Stunning Fall Pots & Container Displays

The beautiful pots and containers of fall create a tribute to this exceptionally special time of year.

In fall, we reminisce about the glorious successes of gorgeous backyard blooms of spring and summer.

With excitement, we anticipate next season’s glory of abundant blossoms.

Make the Most of Fantastic Fall Plants

In Autumn some plants fall short, while others put on their best show of the year.

The gray skies and barren branches of fall let us catch our breath with a thoughtfulness other seasons’ bustle rarely allows.

The crackling of dry fallen leaves is accompanied by a chill in the air.

This pairs perfectly with a warm crackling fire, a cozy wool blanket, and a hot cup of something delicious.

All the Rules Change for Pots & Containers in Fall

Pots and containers of earlier seasons are all about big blooms and big colors.

With the slower pace of fall, we can enjoy deep rich tones of harvest-inspired colors.

The form and texture of plants are more thoughtfully considered in fall pots and containers.

Bring Out the Colors of the Fall Garden

Find a cohesive theme for fall plants to match, contrast, or enhance fall-blooming perennials.

Be inspired by autumn’s warm color shift with plants that reflect nearby red maples, yellow birches, or orange oaks.

Light it up from underneath with brightly colored leaves, or dive into autumn melancholy with deep, dark foliage.

Anything Goes! Vegetables, Succulents, Evergreens, and Bulbs

Fall-blooming crocus are stunning in pots, while late-season Dahlias and Gladioli steal the show!

Ornamental cabbage, kale, peppers, and Swiss chard are just a few gorgeously delicious fall vegetables that look spectacular in autumn container arrangements.

Form and texture meet durability and longevity with succulents and evergreens in beautiful fall pots and containers.

Fall Pots and Containers Are Not Just About Living Plants

Break barriers by adding other elements such as gourds, pumpkins, squash, or apples.

Dried flowers and seed heads add eye-catching elements to autumn displays.

Create even more focal interest with colorful evergreen or berry-bearing branches in fall pots and containers.

Add bare stems of unique shapes such as contorted hazelnut or branches with colorful bark such as red or yellow twig dogwood for a long-lasting wow factor.

Inspire Fall Celebrations with Autumn-Themed Pots and Containers

Choose warm-toned containers to complement the harvest hues.

Use pots and containers made from earthy materials such as wood, stone, rustic ceramics, or brushed metals.

Match containers and pots with other outdoor elements such as porch and siding materials, outdoor furniture, and other garden structures.

12 Best Fall Plants for Beautiful Pots & Containers

Some Like It Hot

Craving sweater weather? For a harvest-like feel even in warmer temperatures, try these fall-inspired pot and container plants.

1. Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas)

A vigorous annual, sweet potato vine’s gorgeous foliage spills and cascades from containers.

Available in a large assortment of leaf shapes and colors that vary from darkest black to bright chartreuse.

A wonderful fall container plant that may not tolerate frost. But sweet potato vine will continue to grow until temperatures fall below 60° F.

Sweet potato vine is perfect for fall pots and containers that do double duty as indoor plants in winter.

2. Coleus (Coleus)

Coleus warms up the fall display with hot contrasting colors, unique eye-catching variegation, and lush velvety foliage.

Available in a spectacular range of sizes. There are dwarf types that reach 6 to 10 inches tall, to large 2 to 3 feet giants with 6-inch leaves.

The color schemes of coleus are perfect for fall. But coleus prefers warm temperatures above 60° F. They don’t love a hard frost.

Coleus grows surprisingly well indoors, so this plant also performs double duty in a fall display that can move indoors for winter.

3. Ornamental Peppers (Capsicum annuum)

Striking ornamental peppers really come into their own in fall, with abundant colorful fruit when grown in full sun.

Spicy colored fruit heat up beautiful fall pots and containers with round and elongated peppers in reds, oranges, purples, blacks, and white.

Fabulous harvest shades on a backdrop of glossy green foliage, ornamental peppers, hardy in zones 9 to 11, won’t last through frost.

Frost-Forgiving Summer Beauties That Tough Out Cooler Temps

An extensive group of annuals and perennials provide their best show way past Labor Day. Our shortlist is below, but noteworthy contenders are Snapdragon, Alyssum, Dianthus, Calendula, and Salvia.

4. Petunia (Petunia)

Petunias in containers look great in fall making them excellent additions to the fall container garden.

As tough summer annuals, petunias don’t show their stress until severe cold weather.

Flower variations make designing with petunias nearly limitless with smooth, ruffled, solid, striped, veined, single, and double flowers.

Rich, harvest-inspired colors of Petunias are also available to best enhance the fall display.

5. Dusty Miller (Jacobaea maritima)

The snowflake-inspired foliage of Dusty Miller brings colorful harvest hues and rich autumn tones to life.

The lacy leaves of naturally frosted silvery gray hold their best color when grown in full sun.

Hardy in zones 8 to 11, the popular bedding plant, grows 6 to 18 inches tall and tolerates frigid fall temperatures.

6. Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’)

This tender perennial favors many container gardens with its deep maroon arching grass form and graceful feathery burgundy plumes.

Delightful in a fall container display, purple fountain grass needs lots of room as it can reach 5 feet in height.

They are perfect alone or at the back or center of a pot or container.

Their elegant seed heads are wonderful in dried flower arrangements.

Purple fountain grass is hardy in zones 9 to 11 so will require a move indoors or winter protection.

For more on growing and enjoying purple fountain grass, read our full growing and care guide here.

7. Succulents

A vast group of plants includes Echeveria, Curio, Aeonium, and the bomb-proof Sedums, and Sempervivums.

Succulents are stellar in beautiful fall containers creating form and texture in incredible shapes, patterns, and colors.

Some are hardier than others. For example, some Sedums are hardy to zone 2, while some Echeveria are hardy in zones 9 to 11.

Check your variety as some may thrive outdoors even through winter while others may love to camp out inside with you in freezing weather.

Tough as Nails Plants That Flourish in Fall

If autumn bites with temperatures well below 40° F, here are some plants that will take the freeze with ease.

These lovely toughies may take your fall-inspired containers through Thanksgiving and excitingly, convert perfectly into winter holiday décor.

8. Ornamental Cabbage and Kale

With impressive durability, ornamental cabbage and kale thrive in frosty weather.

The colors and contrasts of purples, whites, creams, and greens are enhanced as the autumn chill increases.

A wide range of shapes and sizes, ornamental cabbage and kales can be long-stemmed, or stout, frilly, or deeply scalloped.

Hardy in zones 2 to 11, these resilient plants bring out the best of fall pots and containers.

9. Swiss Chard (Beta vulgaris var cicla)

Colors so exquisite they could only be made by nature. Related to beets, Swiss chard boasts vibrant stems, leaves, and leaf veins.

The upright Swiss Chard leaves and stems seem to be lit from within in striking shades of vibrant red, orange, purple, yellow, and white.

Not as sturdy as ornamental cabbages and kale, Swiss Chard is hardy in zones 6 to 10. It grows 1 ½ to 2 feet tall.

10. Mums (Chrysanthemums)

The long-celebrated harvest flower, mums provide the blossoms we crave as we head into winter.

The assortment of rich bold colors of mums ranges from bronze, burgundy, reds, oranges, yellows, and golds warm up any chilly fall day.

Round, mounding plants virtually smothered in fabulous Autumn blossoms, mums are perfect in fall pots and containers.

For care and ongoing prolific blooms check out our article Deadheading Mums + More Tips to Make Chrysanthemums Last Longer.

11. Pansies (Viola)

Adorable and cheerful, pansies take the doldrums out of any gloomy fall day with their perky, uplifting faces.

Rich jewel tones and unimaginably jovial patterns anchor a sunny display of fall containers or pots.

Easy to grow, pansies perform with ease, preferring cool weather in zones 6 to 9.

12. Coral Bells (Heuchera)

The finer foliage of coral bells forms colorful mounds in variegated, solid, striped, and even speckled variations.

The playful colors are warm at heart often growing deeper with age, so even a single plant has depth and texture.

In shades of autumn orange, deep purple, or lively lime, coral bells bring form and function to the fall display.

Hardy in zones 4 to 8 as a perennial, heuchera creates a container spectacle year after year.

Final Thoughts

Make the most of fantastic fall plants by planting up beautiful fall pots and containers.

Enjoy the gray skies and barren branches while you pay tribute to this special time of year.

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