23 Top Fall Flowers for Container Gardens


by Jennifer Poindexter

Are you looking for different flowers to decorate your home with this fall? Mums are the traditional fall container flower, but are there other options?

Yes, there are! In fact, there are many flowers which do well in the fall temperatures, are content growing in a container, and add the rich colors we all seem to crave when autumn arrives.

If you’re in need of inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to provide you with a list of flowers you can grow this fall.

I’ll share what planting zones they grow best in and also some general information about what they need in growing conditions.

Keep reading to find your new favorite container flowers for the fall season:

1. Salvia

Salvia is a colorful plant with rich green foliage, long stems, and dainty blooms. There are some perennial varieties and some annuals. The perennial varieties are extremely hardy. Whereas the annuals typically bloom through summer and fall. 

These flowers will require well-draining soil and enjoy lots of sunlight. They grow well in planting zones four through ten. Be sure to take their height into consideration when choosing a container as they can grow to be as tall as three feet.

2. Marigolds

I love marigolds. They’re small, colorful, and their aroma is great for keeping pests away. I use them a lot in my garden to keep unwanted visitors out. These flowers are low-maintenance. They do prefer to grow in full sun.

However, they can handle some shade assuming the light is bright enough the rest of the day to make up for what they missed during the shady period. These flowers do need well-draining soil and will need to be watered more frequently if they’re growing in extremely hot conditions. These plants are a great fit for almost anyone as they grow well in planting zones two through eleven.

3. Celosia

Celosia is such a fun flower. Like Salvia, it starts with lush green foliage. Then it has long stems which protrude from this bountiful foundation. At the end of the stems are unique, almost jagged blooms which add vibrant colors to your fall displays.

If you’d like to grow this flower, be sure to place them where they’ll receive full sunlight. They also must be planted in nutrient-dense, well-draining soil. When you want to grow something a little different around your home for fall, celosia could be a great choice. Just realize, they’re grown as annuals in most locations. These flowers are only perennials in planting zones ten through twelve.

4. Petunias

You might think that petunias are more of a summer flower. They are in many cases. Yet, if you provide them with proper care, they could keep blooming all the way through fall. The main thing is to ensure these plants are watered frequently, fertilized regularly, and deadheaded regularly as well.

These gorgeous flowers do need to be planted where they’ll receive ample sunlight and in soil that drains properly. Petunias are treated as an annual in almost every location with the exception of those who live in planting zones nine through eleven. They can actually be grown as perennials in these areas.

5. Verbena

Verbenas are sweet flowers that make you smile when looking at them. They have rich green foliage, long stems, and dainty clusters of blooms at the end of them. They’re a nice choice for brightening up a dull space.

These plants grow well in containers, but they are particular about their growing conditions. They must be provided with full sun and well-draining soil. You also shouldn’t overcrowd them. If there’s any way for moisture to get locked in their growing area, these flowers won’t be happy. Verbenas are only hardy in planting zones nine through eleven, but they could still make a wonderful fall annual around your home.

6. Ornamental Cabbage

Some people are all about ornamental plants and others just aren’t. If you’re someone who likes to use these plants in your flower arrangements, you won’t want to miss ornamental cabbage. It looks like a cabbage, but it has hues of purple intertwined with the green foliage.

You could grow these plants by themselves in a pot or mix them with some of the other flowers on this list for beautiful décor. This is a durable plant that’s hardy in planting zones two through eleven. It does need full sun and should be planted in well-draining, sandy soil. Ornamental cabbage could be a unique option for your fall planters.

7. Impatiens

Do you have a shaded location you’d like to brighten up this fall? Consider planting impatiens in a container to add some color to this area. Though impatiens like consistent care, such as water and feedings, they also love shade and cooler temperatures.

These flowers don’t just grow well in containers. They’re also wonderful choices for window boxes and even hanging baskets. Impatiens are hardy in planting zones ten and eleven but still make wonderful annuals in other growing locations.

8. Lamb’s Ear

Lamb’s ear is an interesting choice for a fall container garden or display. It has fuzzy green foliage that would certainly add texture to your arrangement. Yet, it doesn’t stop there.

The foliage then produces long stems with cone-shaped blooms. It’s an eye-catcher for sure. Lamb’s ear isn’t fussy when it comes to soil-type as long as it’s well-draining. It can even be grown as a perennial in planting zones four through eight.

9. Asters

Asters are bright flowers which produce daisy-like blooms. They come in various heights which can be as short as a foot or as tall as four feet.

These flowers need well-draining soil that’s also slightly sandy. They can easily form root rot if left standing in soggy conditions. Asters grow best in full sun. They can handle some shade, but it will reduce the number of blooms the plant produces. Asters are a great option in planting zones three through eight.

10. Helenium

Helenium is a bright, cheerful flower that would be beautiful in a hay bale display filled with pumpkins and scarecrows. If you’d like this vibrant flower in your fall displays, be sure to provide the right growing conditions.

They need full sunlight, nutrient-dense soil that’s well-draining, and they also need to be watered consistently. Helenium is hardy in planting zones three through eight. If you can provide these needs and are in the right planting zone, helenium could be a great choice for a potted flower this fall.

11. Sedum

Sedum is another tall flower that almost has a bush-form about it. At its base is mounding foliage that produces long stems.

From the stems, clusters of blooms form which are great for adding color and design to your growing space. These flowers need fluffy soil that’s well-draining. They also need plenty of sunlight and grow best in planting zones four through nine.

12. Toad Lily

Toad lily almost looks like an alien flower. It has speckled blooms that curl at the ends. If you’d like a unique plant to liven up your fall container garden, don’t overlook this charmer.

However, be mindful of the growing conditions that toad lilies need. They’re a great candidate for growing in partial to full shade. They also like moist but well-draining soil. This flower is hardy in planting zones four through nine.

13. Mums

This list was supposed to provide great alternatives for mums. However, you can’t create a list of fall container plants and not include the chrysanthemum.

They come in a variety of colors, and if you choose the perennial variety, should return each year in planting zones five through nine. Mums do need indirect sunlight and well-draining soil to thrive under your care.

14. Succulents

Succulents are very popular for both indoor and outdoor plants. There are many varieties which come in a plethora of shapes and sizes. Plus, some handle shade and sunlight better than others. 

Do your research as to which succulents to include in your container garden this fall based upon the growing conditions you can provide. Once you find the right fit, know that succulents can make quite a splash in your container gardens and displays.

15. Caryopteris

This plant is also known as a bluebeard. You’ll understand why when you see it grow. It all starts with mounding foliage that produces long stems and blue blooms.

Though this plant would require a larger container, it would certainly make a beautiful statement in your fall flowers. Caryopteris is hardy in planting zones six through nine. It also requires well-draining soil and needs full to partial sunlight.

16. Coral Bells

Coral bells is another wonderful statement plant. It produces colorful foliage, long stems, and dainty blooms.

This is a hardy plant in zones four through nine. It also grows best when provided well-draining soil that’s rich in nutrients. These flowers also prefer partial shade. However, they can handle a little more sun if growing in colder planting zones.

17. Million Bells

Million bells’ blooms remind me of petunia blooms, only smaller, and are a little fuller than the blooms of impatiens. Like many of the other flowers on this list, they grow well in containers that are filled with well-draining soil that’s also rich in nutrients. 

You should place the container where it’ll receive full sun to get the best showing of this plant’s blooms. Million bells are grown as annuals in most places as they’re only hardy in planting zones nine through eleven.

18. Oxalis

Oxalis is a unique flower which is gorgeous when grown in containers. It has purple foliage that produces wiry stems and delicate blooms. If this sounds like a plant, you’d be interested in growing, ensure you get the planting zones and growing conditions right for the best experience. 

Oxalis grows best in planting zones three through eleven. It also needs well-draining soil that’s consistently moist but not drenched. It can handle morning sun but needs shade in the heat of the afternoon.

19. Autumn Clematis

Every time I look at this flower I think of my mother and grandmother. They’re fans of any type of clematis. The autumn clematis can climb and become a large show-piece for your fall container garden. 

Autumn clematis can grow as tall as thirty feet in height and stands out for its vibrant white blooms. This plant is hardy in planting zones five through nine. However, it requires well-draining soil and blooms best in full sun. It will also need a trellis for support.

20. Goldenrod

As I was standing on my back porch this morning, I couldn’t help but smile because of all the goldenrod which grows around our property. It’s a beautiful sign of fall. Goldenrod can grow as tall as four feet in height and is hardy in planting zones four through nine. 

The main thing is that goldenrod is provided well-draining soil to grow in. It does best in full sun but can survive in just about any lighting. The plant will need a trellis for support when growing in a container. 

21. Coleus

Coleus comes in a variety of colors and designs. Some leaves are mainly dark red with streaks of green while others are the opposite.

This plant is a great way to provide life and color to otherwise neglected areas around your home. They’re also a great addition to most potted flower arrangements. Coleus is hardy in planting zones nine and higher. It does need well-draining soil and either shade or dappled morning sunlight.

22. Black-Eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan flowers are easy to spot. They stand out due to their long stems, vibrant yellow blooms, and prominent black centers.

If you’d like to grow this flower in your container garden, during fall, ensure that they’re provided full sun and well-draining soil. These flowers are a great fit for most climates as they’re hardy in planting zones three through ten.

23. Pansies

Pansies are one of my favorite cold weather flowers. I live in planting zone eight, and they survive all fall and winter around my home.

If you’d like to grow pansies, ensure you’re in the right zone and provide the right conditions. Pansies are hardy in zones seven through ten. They need soil that drains adequately and is high in nutrients. These flowers do enjoy some morning sunlight but need shade in the afternoons.

This concludes our list of flowers which grow well in containers and during the fall months. If you’d like to brighten up your home during this time of year, these flowers should be able to help.

They might also offer a slightly different look to your fall décor. Hopefully you’ll find something that fits your needs while adding some fall-charm to your home.

More About Fall Flowers

https://ag.umass.edu/home-lawn-garden/fact-sheets/fall-flowers

https://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/resource-library/plant-week/fall-flowers-11-6-2015.aspx

https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/dodge/fall-care-of-perennials-part-1/

impatiens and million bells with text overlay twenty three top fall flowers for container gardens

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