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Building a Successful Fall Planter

Fall Planter

Fall annuals have arrived with a punch of deep colors and interesting textures. If your summer planters are looking tired, now is a great time to refresh them with a look that works for the fall season and that will last through the next few months.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there is a classic formula for creating a professional looking and interesting planter. Three elements of a successful planter are known by several names but we’ll call them the “thriller, filler, and spiller.” By selecting plants that fit into these categories, you can create a planter that has interest at varying height levels.

In this blog, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite fall annuals and put them in these categories to help you understand how to use them effectively. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so make sure to visit the store to see all of your fall options.

Thriller: A plant that grows taller than the rest of the planter which often adds not only height but texture.


Grasses: A classic choice since fall reminds us of the harvest with tall stalks of corn and waves of wheat. Grasses add height and texture, which can offset larger blooms. Depending on the color you choose, it can also add a contrasting dark look or a bronzed, dried look.

Celosia: Celosia is a tall annual that comes in the warm autumn colors of gold, orange, and red. It’s a great backdrop while adding some color to the height. Some celosia looks like a feather while others look like a brain.

Filler: A plant that adds bulk and color to the mid-section of the planter.

ornamental peppers

Mums: Nothing screams fall quite like mums that become a globe of dense blooms in a variety of colors. Similar to mums are asters, which come in a cooler pallet of blues and purples.

Ornamental Peppers: Get changing color from these darkly foliated ornamental peppers. The peppers themselves change colors as they mature. These are ornamental so they aren’t meant for eating, but they can be quite spicy.

Cabbage and Kale: Ornamental cabbage and kale bring beautiful geometry along with cool blues, greens, and purples. These plants are very cold hardy and can continue to look excellent through November.

Pansies and Violas: Joyful pansies and violas are back after going dormant for the summer. These flowers are more cold tolerant than most other flowers, which means you can enjoy them longer into the season.

Spiller: A plant that hangs over the edge of the pot to give it a softer, more naturalistic look.

Creeping Jenny

Creeping Jenny: This bright green plant adds a more delicate dripping look to the edge of the pot.

Petunias: While they can also act as a filler, many petunias, and their close cousin calibrachoa, will droop over the pot line while adding color down low.

A few last tips:

Using at least one plant in each of these categories is a great first step towards a professional looking fall planter. Keep in mind a few more tips to wow your neighbors!

  • Use complimentary colors to make the planter look cohesive
  • Consider a few plants with interesting foliage so the planter looks good even if it stop blooming
  • Vary your textures to help each plant to stand out
  • Don’t be afraid to use more than one of the plants in each category to give a full, overflowing look
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