How to Transition Flower Pots From Summer to Fall

Summer is prime time for flowers, but that doesn’t mean your flower pots have to fade away come fall. You can transition your flower pots from summer to fall easily. Here’s how.

Summer is prime time for flowers, but that doesn’t mean your flower pots have to fade away come fall. You can transition your flower pots from summer to fall—and even later, if you want! Here’s how.

fall flower containerSteven Russell Smith Ohio/Shutterstock

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CUT IT OUT. Take a look at your container. What’s looking good and what’s seen better days? Keep the former, and cut out the latter. Just removing some of the spent plants can make a container look better. Some plants, such as coleus, are more susceptible to light frost, so start thinking about what you can replace them with. No worries with the marigolds. They’ll go bonkers right up until a hard frost, so leave them be.

STRAIGHTEN UP. As long as you’re removing spent plants, also remove spent flowers to keep plants producing new flowers. Cut back lanky growth and trim any stray stems that look out of place.

Here’s where you can learn more about late-summer container gardens.

fall flower bedDel Boy/Shutterstock

FILL THE GAPS. Now is your chance to put in some fall bloomers like mums, asters, sedum, pansies and flowering kale. Small ornamental grasses could also work nicely and they will keep their form into winter, giving you extra time to enjoy them.

FORTIFY THE PLANTS. With the new mix of plants in place, you should fertilize with a water-soluble fertilizer, following package directions. Follow up with another shot two weeks later.

BUY SOME TIME. What’s nice about flower pots is they’re portable—you can move them out of harm’s way when frost is due. Take them to the garage or a covered porch, then return them outdoors when temperatures rise again. This can gain you weeks of extra bloom-time late into fall. You may even find time to add miniature pumpkins, gourds, dried corncobs and other seasonally appropriate accessories.

See 9 fun outdoor container ideas.

shutterstock_15420697 fall container wooden barrel hay pumpkin mums gourds squashJannis Tobias Werner/Shutterstock

CONSIDER YOUR OPTIONS. You’ve just bought yourself a few extra weeks of time for your flower pots. Care to go for more? You can keep things going in winter with ornamental grasses, evergreens, or decorations such as cut evergreen boughs, red- or yellow-twig dogwood branches, white birch logs, pine cones, and anything containing berries.

Luke Miller
Luke Miller is an award-winning garden editor with 25 years' experience in horticultural communications, including editing a national magazine and creating print and online gardening content for a national retailer. He grew up across the street from a park arboretum and has a lifelong passion for gardening in general and trees in particular. In addition to his journalism degree, he has studied horticulture and is a Master Gardener.