We’re still soaking up these last sunny weeks of summer, but we can’t help but start brainstorming ideas and inspiration for our fall container planters. As summer shifts into fall, your fading summer planters might begin to look a little dull and may need some freshening up.
In Powell River, we’re lucky to have one of the longest growing seasons in Canada. As the trees start to take on that golden glow we can’t get enough of, the bright colours of summer are gradually being replaced with rich, warm shades and jewel tones. Why not refresh your fall containers to match?
Thrillers, Fillers, and Spillers
There’s a great rule-of-thumb for container planting to keep in mind. It’s the idea that a balanced container planting should contain a thriller, a filler, and a spiller. What the heck are thrillers, fillers, and spillers, you ask?
A thriller would be the eye-catching feature planting for your container. It can be something tall and dramatic, something that blooms profusely, or something that has an interesting texture or colour.
A filler is something that will nicely fill the space around the middle or bottom of your feature plant. It’s often something with a contrasting colour, bloom type, or texture that is complementary to your thriller.
A spiller is something that trails down over the edges of your container. Often, these are eye-catching foliage plants—although there are lots of trailing plants that bloom as well. This should be complementary or contrasting to your thriller and filler plants.
Having all three of these options in a container is a feast for the eyes, and there’s plenty of options that will thrive in Powell River gardens. We’ve picked 7 of our favourites for fall container planting.
Our Top 8 Favourite Fall Plants
- Asters are a fantastic thriller, or feature plant, for fall planters, and we have several types at our garden centre. The purples, pinks, and whites they come in add a bold colour contrast against the backdrop of orange, red and gold tree foliage. An added bonus: they produce lots of nectar, which migrating monarch butterflies will happily snack on to fuel up for their descent into Mexico for the winter.
- Chrysanthemums are a fall classic across Canada, including here in Powell River. They make a great feature or centrepiece in a fall container. They bloom non-stop until frost, come in a wide variety of brilliant colours, and they’re super low-maintenance. Some chrysanthemums grow to an impressive size, great for adding interest to large patio containers.
- Pansies are an excellent filler choice to refresh fall containers. Their vibrant cheery “faces” add brilliant colour to containers. They bloom profusely, are easy to care for, and thrive in the cooler weather of fall. They’re a nice medium height, and they fill in well around large feature plants.
- Kale, Swiss Chard, or Cabbage also make excellent filler plants for containers. They add a striking contrast in texture and shape. With colour options ranging from silvery-green, to purple, to burgundy, there’s something to complement every feature plant. Swiss Chard has vibrant jewel coloured stalks with glossy leaves. Kale is available in silvery purple or green varieties.
- Hedera Helix (Ivy) is a classic spiller plant with cool foliage that will blend fabulously with a fall jewel-toned colour palette. We have six different varieties in store, so you’ve got plenty of different colours, shapes, and textures to choose from. It’s actually quite an aggressive grower, so it’s best suited to container planting here in BC. It’s very easy to prune back, so if you notice it’s dominating your container arrangements, don’t be afraid to nip it back a bit to keep it under control.
- Heuchera (Coral Bells) are another beautiful spiller option. They don’t trail down the same way English ivy will, but they come in a wide variety of gorgeous fall colours and leaf shapes. Their foliage really brings the wow-factor, available in a whole spectrum of incredible colours perfect for fall decorating. Lime green, purple, silver, black, you name it— there’s a heuchera variety for every colour palette.
- Herbs are pretty and practical for fall container planting. A container overflowing with rosemary, sage, oregano, basil, and cilantro can elevate your decor—and your cooking. Visually, the different textures and cohesive colours of each herb make a pleasing combination. Best of all, you get the added benefit of having fresh garnishes for your favorite recipes and cocktails at the ready. Just snip off a sprig and enjoy.
- Gourds, while not really something you’d be planting in your containers, are the perfect final touch for fall containers. There are always so many pretty gourds available in fall. From those glossy orange mini-pumpkins, to striped acorn squashes, to mellow yellow butternut squash, there’s something to suit every arrangement. Gourds are a classic fall decor item, signifying harvest time, sweater weather, Thanksgiving, and comforting fall soups and stews. As we get into fall, we’ll be receiving a stellar collection of ornamental gourds and squashes, so stay tuned!
Summer isn’t over yet, but we’re brimming with anticipation for fall! Get ready to embrace those cozy sweaters, fall leaves, and pumpkin spice everything, and get planting! Fill your containers with some delightful fall features and enjoy the vibrant colours, tones, and textures of fall. Visit Mother Nature, your garden centre in Powell River to see our newest autumn-friendly plants and décor—we think you’ll fall in love!