The perfect autumn container in four steps
The days are slowly getting shorter, there's a chill in the air and colourful summer flowers are gradually saying goodbye for another year... Autumn must be knocking at the door! But there's no need to get rid of your pretty plants just because we're entering the colder seasons. We'll show you how you can use a couple of well-chosen plants to create an elegant autumnal planting arrangement for your patio or front garden – all in timeless white!
Our autumn favourites
Traditional, magical and sophisticated – people have all kinds of associations with the colour white. And to make the most of them, you can also take this on-trend colour as inspiration for your container arrangement. A simple container full of white autumn flowers will show off your outdoor living space in a whole new light in autumn, offering a stylish contrast to colourful autumnal foliage – no matter whether it's on your patio or in your front garden.
You can combine white container plants with each other in many different ways. We've got lots of autumnal container favourites, but autumn chrysanthemums are simply a must-have. Thanks to its white petals, this popular flower will bring your patio to life from August to November. Low-maintenance heather shrubs, such as common heather and ling, are popular picks for an autumnal arrangement on your patio or in your garden. Thanks to their pollen-laden flowers, they are a fantastic source of food for bees, bumblebees and butterflies right through to late autumn, too. Boxberry is a perfect partner for heather. This small evergreen shrub will put a smile on your face on drizzly autumn days thanks to its white fruits – and it'll keep going right through to next spring! Plants that add structure with unusual foliage, like silver cushion bush or compact ornamental grasses add variety to your container planting arrangement and ensure its overall design is pleasing to the eye. Ornamental gourds and succulents come in all shapes and sizes and make an eye-catching addition.
The best time to put these flowering plants in your container is in the late summer or autumn so you can enjoy the final flowers of the summer to the fullest – and give your now-empty container a new lease of life!
A step-by-step guide
When you're making your autumn arrangement, select a container that has plenty of space for the plants you've chosen and ensure it has good drainage to prevent standing water. To do this, start by filling the container with a few pieces of clay, expanded clay or pebbles – but do make sure the container has a few drainage holes so excess rainwater can run off freely. Autumn flowers thrive especially well in loosely packed, porous soil, so fill the container with soil that's suited to garden and container plants, such as 'COMPO BIO Universal Potting Soil' organic peat-free universal soil. Thanks to its high proportion of humus, this will provide your container plants with the nutrients they need and ensure strong growth. If your container plants feel dry, it's a good idea to give them a generous watering before re-potting them.
Before you put the plants into your container, you can carefully loosen up the lower root ball with your hands. Gently opening up the roots encourages your precious plants to generate new roots and start growing in their fresh soil.
You can now take the plants you've selected and arrange them in your container however your heart desires. We recommend putting big plants in the middle and smaller, shorter plants on the outer edge of the container to ensure the same amount of sunlight reaches each plant and the arrangement has a pleasing overall shape. Make sure to leave enough space between the individual plants. Once you've put them all in, press the soil around them down a bit so there are no hollow spaces in it. Finally, help the plants take root by watering them generously and evenly from below so the water goes straight to their roots.
Voilà – now you can relax and enjoy your vision in white! You do need to make sure you give your plants a little bit of attention, though, so you can enjoy your freshly planted autumn container for as long as possible. If you haven't had any rain, your container plants would benefit from regular watering, for example – test the soil with your finger to see if it's completely dried out.
To overwinter a hardy perennial, such as common heather, move the container so it's against a wall or wrap it in a layer of non-woven material or jute before the first frost hits.
Container plants for every location
With such a wide range of autumn flowering plants out there, your creativity knows practically no bounds when it comes to picking the right container plants. Silver ragwort, also known as silver dust, for instance, cuts a fine figure as a balcony or container plant thanks to its felty, silvery green leaves. This plant gives a fantastic amount of structure, and its hardy leaves make a striking sight when paired with white cuphea.
But what if the only empty spot you've got on your patio is in the shade? That's no problem for fortune saxifrage, a groundcover perennial that only starts to flower in October. It's a no-nonsense option and will make a beautiful addition to a north-facing patio or front garden, even if it doesn't get a lot of sunlight. Finally, white toadflax is also an ideal autumn container plant thanks to its long flowering season, stretching all the way from June to October.
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