Container Gardening: How to Transition from Summer to Fall

Melodie Mcdanal

Thu August 25, 2016 6:24pm


How do you manage the in-between season when it comes to gardening? This is the time just past the prime of summer but before it is time to plant for fall and winter. It is still hot outside so it is too early to plant cool season plants. Some perennials have finished blooming for the season. But there might be areas that look a little weather worn and could use freshening up.
A container garden filled with flowers and foliage in a fall color palette can add just the needed freshness to your garden, porch or patio.
There are a number of plants that bridge the gap from summer to fall. They thrive in the late summer heat while providing nice fall colors and hues.
Depending on where you position your container, combine plants with similar light and water needs.
For sunny spots use:
Cordyline – purple spikes of foliage make for great architecture in pots.
Rudbeckia – daisy-like blooms with yellow petals and dark centers.
Celosia – fuzzy blooms in shades of yellow, pink, coral and red.
Calibrachoa – trailing mini petunia-like blooms in shades of yellow, coral, pink, red, white and purple.
For shady spots use:
Coleus – beautiful foliage in many different shades, shapes and sizes.
Heuchera – mounding foliage in coral, lime green, purple and green shades.
Creeping Jenny – trailing small yellow-green foliage.
Want to know a recipe for success to give roots enough oxygen to survive? Choose a container with drainage holes and select larger plants. A larger plant will have a bigger root system and be able to establish more quickly. Use high-quality potting soil (not planting mix) and an organic starter fertilizer. This will help your plants get off to a healthy start with a vigorous root system that can support them during the hot weather.
Care and maintenance for a successful container garden is simple and easy. Water the container garden well as soon as you have finished planting. With container gardens in sunny spots, you need to water them every other day. Gardens in the shade require less water. Watering twice a week is typically adequate.
Finally, make sure to fertilize the plants monthly with a liquid flowering plant fertilizer.
Melodie Mcdanal is horticulturist at Armstrong Garden Centers. Email her your gardening questions to