Autumn Plant Recipes
Amateur Gardening|October 02, 2021
It may be past summer, but you can still plant gorgeous containers to bring colour and beauty. Tamsin Hope Thomson offers three great ‘recipes’ and lots of tips
Tamsin Hope Thomson

NOW’S the time to enjoy vibrant autumn colours, but you don’t need an arboretum to create this effect at home – why not create your own miniature display? As borders fade, it’s the perfect month to plant up a container that brings the best of autumn to your patio or balcony. Even one pot can make a huge impact in a small space.

Plants that look good at this time of year include shrubs and trees with searing leaf colour, from deep orange and yellow through to scarlet reds; ornamental grasses; late-flowering perennials and berrying shrubs. There’s still a huge variety of plants to choose from that will perk up your garden for weeks to come.

Plants for instant impact

There won’t be much plant growth over the next few months, so you can pack plants into a container for a display with instant impact. Pick your plants carefully and you can have a season of interest that extends into winter. For a winning combination, look for an evergreen shrub or long-flowering perennial that will keep the pot looking good for a long time. Shrubs like skimmias, box, sweet box, euphorbia and holly will look good for months and can be given a boost of colour combined with planting partners such as bright winter bedding or late-flowering perennials such as asters, penstemons, Japanese anemones and sedums. Chrysanthemums, too, will give you bright colour from August to the first frosts. These are used as bedding plants and there will be plenty to choose from at the garden centre.

Heucheras and ferns

For underplanting, heucheras are a great choice because many are evergreen and there’s a huge range of colours to choose from. Ferns are also good choice, especially for shady spots, and there are compact varieties that can be fitted in among your other plants, like the wavy-leaved Hart’s-tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium) or the hard fern (Blechnum spicant).

It’s worth investing in decent sized plants, as they won’t grow much over the next few months. There are so many plants that look good at this time of year – here are a few ideas to get you started.

3 simple container ideas

Recipe One

Skimmia x confusa ‘Kew Green’ AGM

This plant gives year-round interest, with green flowerheads in autumn and white flowers from late winter to spring. It’s evergreen and makes an easy plant partner for bedding plants and grasses. Flowers March-May. HxS: 3-5ft (1x1.5m).

Anemanthele lessoniana AGM

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