A Bowl Full of Fall

GardenCreate your own festive planter.

Written by Charlie Thigpen   

Photography by Lindsey Griffin


In a large chocolate terracotta bowl-shaped container we mixed up a colorful combination of autumn hues. We wanted a different look that would reflect the season, so we chose to plant orange flowering annuals, ornamental peppers, and a little foliage. We then embellished the planter with a few fall touches for a fun and festive splash of color. Keep reading to learn how you can make your own fall planter.


Pick a Planter 

Select a container for your fall planting. It can be a bowl, an urn, or any type of planter that looks good in the setting around your home. Don’t forget salvaged items such as an old wheelbarrow or even a wagon that can be turned into a planter. Next, fill the planter with a quality potting soil. Fill the soil about a half an inch below the top of the pot. Water the soil and allow it to settle. You might have to add some more soil if it settles below half an inch.


Select Like Plants 

Choose plants that will all share the same conditions. If your planter is in a sunny spot, make sure all the plants you select require full sun. If your container will be positioned in the shade, make sure all plants selected need shade. Also, make sure your plants will share the same water requirements.

Set the plants you’ve selected in the places you intend to plant them. Step back and look at the planting arrangement to make sure it looks full and balanced before you plant. Make sure you don’t have any open holes in the planting.

We had a sunny site,  so we chose  Dreamsicle, Calibrachoa, Durango Orange marigolds, Cuphea cigar plant, Purple Muhly grass, Lemon Ball Sedum, Rustic Orange coleus and Explosive Embers ornamental peppers. We selected these plants because the Calibrachoa, Cuphea, and marigolds all produce orange blooms. The coleus and the Lemon Ball sedum added a splash of orange and chartreuse foliage, and the ornamental peppers provided purple and red fruit. The Muhly grass made a great backdrop and created nice lines. This wispy grass also produces airy plumbs of pinkish purple seeds that wave in the fall breeze.

Keep your planter watered regularly and be sure to dead head (remove spent flowers) the blooming plants to ensure they will be prolific. Occasionally pinch the tops of the coleus or upright foliage plants to keep them full and compact. Trim the stray shoots on the ornamental grasses to keep them tidy and in bounds.


Add a Little Something 

We draped a swag of bittersweet berries around the planter for a little bling. A few pumpkins were also scattered around the bowl for a nice seasonal touch. You can use anything that is available or will reflect the season such as apples, branches with colorful foliage, corn stalks, hay bales, persimmons, squash, or wheat bundles.

This fall, celebrate the changing seasons and do a little something creative to show off those brilliant autumn colors.

Leave a Reply