If your outdoor space is lacking in autumn interest, a container potted up with autumn-flowering plants is a quick way to give it a lift.
On top of the autumnal colour provided by deciduous shrubs and trees, there are lots of perennials that reach their peak display in autumn, including dahlias, sedums, rudbeckias and Michaelmas daisies.
Don’t forget, the pot or container you choose can be just as important as the plants you grow in it – check out these rustic upcycled garden containers.
For even more autumn colour, add autumn-flowering perennials and bulbs to beds and borders. These plant combinations for autumn colour should give you lots to think about.
Get started with these pot and container ideas for autumn colour.
Agastache, sedum and veronica
Bee-friendly combinations are a good source of nectar and pollen for pollinators. The purple sedum provides beautiful contrast with the foliage and flowers of the agastache and veronica.
We used: Agastache ‘Summer Glow’, Veronica ‘Atomic Sky Ray’ and Hylotelephium telephium ‘Purple Emperor’.
Purple sedum with agastache and veronica in a terracotta pot
Festuca, rudbeckia and eucalyptus
Evergreens play a large role in this container, with the snow gum forming the backbone of the pot and the blue fescue bringing some texture. Rudbeckias lighten everything up.
We used: Eucalyptus gunnii, Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’, Festuca glauca.
Silver festuca and eucalyptus with golden rudbeckia flowers
Sempervivums are evergreen, so they can be relied upon to green up your outdoor spaces at any time of year. Go for several different varieties of different sizes and colours to add interest. Position the container in a sunny spot. Find more advice on growing sempervivums.
A variety of sempervivums in a shallow blue glazed pot, topped with gravel
Lilyturf, button fern and balloon flower
This indigo-toned container is perfect for a spot in partial shade. The button fern is tender, but so do consider other evergreen ferns like aspleniums or common polypody.
We used: Liriope muscari ‘Royal Purple’, Pellaea rotundifolia, Platycodon grandiflorus.
Mauve lilyturf and balloon flowers, with button fern, complemented by a blue hued pot
Dahlia, heuchera and carex
This container is packed with warm tones that echo the turning autumn leaves of deciduous trees and shrubs. Deadhead the dahlias to prolong their flowers and protect the tubers over winter.
We used: ‘Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Nouveau’, Heuchera ‘Fire Chief’, Carex comans ‘Bronco’.
A warm planting of bronze-leaved heuchera, brown carex and a pink-flowering dahlia
Hylotelephium, Japanese anemones and anemanthele
This combination of Japanese anemone, stonecrop and anemanthele can be placed in sun or partial shade, where it’ll attract pollinators seeking autumn nectar. Discover how to propagate Japanese anemones.
We used: Anemone ‘Pretty Lady Julia’, Anemanthele lessioniana, Hylotelephium spectabile.
Pink sedum and Japanese anemone flowers with anemanthele
Speedily grown salad leaves are a great way to get fresh leaves on your plate after as the main growing season comes to an end. You can also continue to harvest crops like tomatoes, aubergines and courgettes that were sown at the beginning of the year. This assortment shows chard, beetroot, carrots, tomatoes, watercress and lettuce.
Chard, carrots, tomatoes and lettuce growing in containers
Rudbeckia, symphyotrichum and anemanthele
Rudbeckias and Michaelmas daisies (also called autumn asters) provide colour that is easily on par with summer flowers. New Zealand wind grass boosts the height and gives the container a more informal feel.
We used: Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’, Symphyotrichum novi-belgii ‘Tonga’, Anemanthele lessioniana.
Golden rudbeckia and purple Michaelmas daisies with pale green anemanthele