No Mums? No Problem! Pot Up This Fall Planter, Instead

Have your summer planters sizzled out but it's too early for mums — or you want to try a different look this year? We've got you! Use our plant recommendations and planting tips to pot up an autumnal planter that's fall-tastic!

Photo by: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Materials Needed

  • planter with included drainage
  • potting mix
  • plants: we used purple fountain grass, purple sweet potato vine, purple coleus and gomphrena (globe amaranth)
  • mulch

Most gardeners will agree that colorful, flower-filled mums are great, but their flower show can be relatively short-lived compared to colorful foliage, like coleus, ornamental grasses and sweet potato vine that keep their color till first frost. Add in gomphrena, or globe amaranth, as an eye-catching central spiller whose gumball-like blooms are a long-lasting cut flower that can even be dried for waterless arrangements.

Photo by: Sarah Busby

Sarah Busby

Add Empty Planting Pots

Every gardener has a stack of empty nursery pots taking up space in their potting shed or garage. Raid your stash and put them to work. Save on necessary potting soil and assist with drainage by filling the bottom of the planter with empty nursery pots. Tip: Be sure to leave the planter's drainage holes uncovered so excess water can easily drain out.

Add Potting Soil

Fill the container's bottom two-thirds with potting soil. Note: When planting your pots, always remember that all soil isn't created equal. Potting soil, not garden soil or plain ol' dirt, is the key to container gardening success.

Determine Placement

Unpot plants and place them on the layer of potting soil, arranging them till you're happy with each plant's placement and also being sure to leave room for growth.

Fill In With Extra Potting Soil

When you’re happy with each plant’s placement, fill in gaps between plants with additional potting soil, gently but firmly pressing the soil around each of the plants to secure them in their new home.

Add Mulch

No planter is complete without a layer of mulch that not only serves as a decorative finishing touch but also preserves moisture (meaning you'll need to water less often) and discourages weeds.

Water Plants In

Unpotting and planting is tough on plants, so be sure to give them a good soak when you're done to hydrate their roots and help them settle in to their new home.


Place your completed fall planter on your patio or front porch. Our recommended plants are pretty carefree once established, but be sure to water once or twice a week as the plants settle in. The coleus tends to be a little thirstier than the rest, so keep an eye on its moisture levels.

Photo by: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Fall for These Pretty Potting Ideas

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