Learning Center


How to Create a Gorgeous Fall Combo Pot!

If you already have a planter, measure it before you go shopping.  Before purchasing a planter, consider style options as well as sizing.  You want it to fit in proportionately with your existing space. Next, figure out where to place the planter so it gets as much sun as possible.

Here is what you will need for a great fall combination planter:

  • Container with good drainage
  • Good Earth brand Professional Growing Mix
  • Fall/ winter interest plants with contrasting textures
  • Fertilizer
  • An appreciative eye!

Planters can be made of fiberglass, iron, heavy plastic, glazed pottery, concrete or stone.  Thicker walled planters will protect plant roots from heat and cold weather stress.  Make sure the container has adequate drainage and have more holes drilled if necessary.  If the planter is large and lightweight, the lower portion can be filled with drainage rock.  Large, heavy planters can be filled partway with packing peanuts to cut down on potting soil and increase the drainage.

Quality potting soil is not something to skimp on!  The inexpensive 50 pound bags of potting soil are too heavy for most annuals and perennials, and the planters won’t drain as well as the plant roots will require.  We suggest using Good Earth brand Professional Potting Soil; we have had it specially formulated for growing our perennials, and have seen how successful it is, firsthand.  This soil contains an iron source, beneficial bacteria, humic acid, perlite, peat moss, pH adjustments and a nutrient starter charge.

When choosing plant materials, make sure to get ones with fall foliage interest or winter interest.  Some examples include Autumn fern, ornamental cabbage and kale, heucheras, ivy, pansies, and violas.  For larger planters, consider adding in evergreen shrubs like yew, camellia, fatsia or boxwoods and surrounding these larger plants with smaller perennials and annuals.  Small trees like Japanese maples and contorted filberts make good larger planter centerpieces also.  For trailing color, use Cool Wave or Freefall pansies… they will provide cascading color all season! All of these plants can be kept in the planters for several seasons if they are placed in the appropriate amount of sun and have enough root room to grow, and can then be planted out in the landscape.  Take note of the additional options below.

Use Good Earth brand Jump Start when planting these…and anything else!  This product container mycorrhizae, which can increase the water and nutrient utilization of your plants by up to 1,000 times!  To increase blooming, apply Ferti-Lome Premium Bedding Plant Food as a granular slow release fertilizer to the soil when planting. Pansies and other cool season bloomers utilize fertilizer when temperatures are above 50 degrees; apply a water soluble fertilizer such as BR-61, for a quick and dramatic impact!

Water, or lack thereof, is the biggest detriment to fall and winter plantings.  Plants do not like to freeze dry; if a cold snap is coming and we haven’t seen rain lately, water the planter well.  Pay special attention to planters under cover that do not get rainfall.  The weather stays warm throughout the fall; water well at planting and check the pots every few days for additional water.  If watering has been an issue in the past, consider a moisture meter.  They are inexpensive ($10) yet effective tools to determine how wet the soil is down in the root zone area of planters, planting beds and houseplants!

Fall Plant combinations:


  • Red Ornamental Cabbage
  • Petra Croton
  • Celosia
  • Cool Wave Pansy


  • Boxwood
  • Green leaf Heuchera
  • Viola
  • Creeping Jenny


  • Green Giant Arborvitea
  • Dusty Miller
  • Purple leaf Huechera
  • Pansy


  • Camellia
  • Pink leaf Heuchera
  • Autumn Fern
  • Cool Wave Pansy


  • Hicks Yew
  • Violas
  • Lime green Heuchera


  • Ornamental Grass
  • Pansies
  • Heuchera


  • Ornamental Mustartd
  • Primrose Pansy
  • Autumn Fern


  • Hinoke Cypress
  • Creeping Jenny
  • Dwarf Mondo Grass
  • Pansy