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Top 10 Fall Container Plants for a Pretty Front Porch

Think beyond mums and pumpkins when dressing up your porch for autumn. These fall container plants have gorgeous seasonal color and texture to offer.

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Tiger Eye viola W. Atlee Burpee Company

Fall Container Plants: Tiger Eye Viola

Viola Hybrid

Zones 4 to 9

With distinct burgundy markings and dark veins on golden petals, these perennials live up to their name. A piece of garden art, these fall container plants do best in full sun to partial shade. As a bonus, the vibrant flowers are fragrant and cold resistant. Tiger eye viola plants get scraggly in summer; cut them back to encourage new blooms and divide them regularly.    

Why we love it: Each flower has gorgeous petals that are edible if they haven’t been treated with pesticides.

Check out late summer and fall flowers that attract hummingbirds.


Onyx Red ornamental pepperAll-America Selections

Onyx Red Ornamental Pepper

Capsicum Annuum

Zones 9 to 11 or Annual

Although they’re safe to eat, these stunning annuals are more prized for the color of their fruit clusters. Onyx Red performs well in the sun from late spring through hard frost. The striking glossy black foliage also provides lush texture to smaller containers. Grow in rich, well-draining soil.

Why we love it: These fall container plants need the same care as other pepper varieties and will add a ton of wow factor to tiny spaces with little hassle.

Check out 10 secrets to fantastic fall leaf colors in your yard.


Mango Punch lanceleaf coreopsisTerra Nova Nurseries

Mango Punch Lanceleaf Coreopsis

Coreopsis Hybrid

Zones 9 to 10 or Annual

Blooming from June through September with bright mango-orange and red flowers, this mounding plant thrives in full sun and moist, well-draining soil. It makes an ideal accent plant, attracting butterflies and reblooming after spent flowers are cut back.

Why we love it: This easy-to-grow variety provides high-impact color and ferny foliage, and is a favorite of bees and butterflies.

Don’t miss these 5 essential fall butterfly garden tips.


Hippo Red polka dot plantCourtesy of Proven Winners - www.provenwinners.com

Hippo Red Polka Dot Plant

Hypoestes Phyllostachyas ‘G14158’

Zones 10 to 11 or Annual

For instant drama and next to no fuss, this dark green, red-speckled annual provides the perfect foliage-centered design for fall pots. In hot climates, treat this plant as a perennial. It prefers part shade and rich, well-draining soil.

Why we love it: The pint-sized plant tolerates heat, and three similar cultivars also feature vibrant colors.

Check out 18 fabulous foliage plants for garden pizzazz.

Nagoya flowering kaleSakata courtesy of Ball Horticultural Company

Nagoya Flowering Kale

Brassica Oleracea

Annual

Ornamental flowering kale’s ruffled, feathered leaves are just as pretty as a traditional bloom. The veggie grows well in full sun and works best in fall containers if it’s planted by early July. It’s a true biennial but is usually treated as an annual. It can survive winter in some places, but many think it’s unsightly.

Why we love it: The compact head of kale looks lovely when planted with pansy and viola.

Psst—you should never skip these fall garden chores.


fall container plants, graceful Grasses purple fountain grassChris Brown Photography

Graceful Grasses Purple Fountain Grass

Pennisetum Setaceaum ‘Rubrum’

Zones 9 to 11 or Annual

Add sway, height and volume with this heat tolerant arching purple fountain grass. It features bronze-purple foliage that provides interest well into winter. These fall container plants look lovely standing covered with snow or ice. Find out when you should cut back ornamental grasses.

Why we love it: With its striking crimson colors and minimal upkeep, this grass works with any garden style, providing a dramatic focal point.

Follow these tips to grow native ornamental grasses for birds and butterflies.


fall container plants, Dolce Wildberry coral bellsCourtesy of Proven Winners - www.provenwinners.com

Dolce Wildberry Coral Bells

Heuchera Hybrid

Zones 4 to 9

With glossy reddish purple leaves, dark veining, scalloped edges and a dense, rounded habit, this perennial grows 10 to 14 inches tall and 20 inches wide. Dolce wildberry coral bells is the perfect year-after-year anchor for a container garden; just provide extra winter care in colder climates. Pollinators also love it.

Why we love it: After the tiny white flowers blossom in midsummer, the textural foliage holds its color through autumn.

Check out the top 10 shade tolerant coral bells.


Whirlwind Starlight fan flowerCourtesy of Proven Winners - www.provenwinners.com

Whirlwind Starlight Fan Flower

Scaevola Aemula ‘DSCAWINDST’

Zones 10 to 11 or Annual

Swirls of trailing purple and white blossoms make this annual perfect for hanging baskets or to fill out container gardens. Native to Australia, it is happiest with more than six hours of sun and doesn’t require deadheading.

Why we love it: The color keeps coming from spring until hard frost.

Check out the top 10 fall blooming perennials for your garden.


fall container plants, Matthiola Incana / Stock Flowersmagicflute002/Getty Images

Brompton Stock

Matthiola Incana

Zones 7 to 10

Originating in England, this sun-loving cottage garden staple has thick clusters of fragrant blossoms on sturdy stems that can grow up to 3 feet tall. Blooms appear sequentially from the bottom up, lasting right through the fall in cool regions.

Why we love it: You can divide an existing plant to create new ones. 

Discover the best fall flowers (that aren’t mums).


fall container plants, Mojo Cranberry Splash geraniumSyngenta Flowers LLC

Mojo Cranberry Splash Geranium

Pelargonium Interspecific

Annual

This pollinator-friendly annual requires deadheading, but it’s worth it to see the large, bicolored red and pink mounded blooms against lush dark foliage. First introduced in 2020, it does well in 1- to 5-quart containers.

Why we love it: The plant’s clusters of hefty flowers are bold enough to be interesting in a pot on their own.

Next, check out the 9 best fall shrubs to grow.

Wendy Helfenbaum
Wendy Helfenbaum is a freelance journalist and urban gardener in Zone 5 who enjoys the flexibility of container gardening. Follow her on Twitter: @WendyHelfenbaum

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