Gardening Tips > October > Autumn in the Garden…combine shrubs and bedding for instant impact

Autumn in the Garden…combine shrubs and bedding for instant impact

Planted containers are a great way to add colour and interest to the garden, particularly when you need a seasonal colour boost. We recommend combining shrubs and bedding in pots which will give you the perfect mix of height, structure and colour. Here we are sharing our tips on how to decide on which plants to include…

We tend to associate planted containers with summer, however containers for autumn and winter are ideal for bringing the colour of the garden closer to the house and help bring life to a fading garden as autumn sets in. Unlike most summer containers, plants used in autumn containers will often include a wide range of shrubs. They add structure and height which bedding plants can’t offer at this time of year as they grow less quickly than in the warmer summer months. We recommend you consider small ‘starter’ shrubs that are sold in smaller pots. They are used in containers for a few seasons before being planted out into the garden to grow on further in a more permanent position.

Shrubs to be used in containers should be chosen to highlight a particular attribute whether it’s their glossy evergreen foliage, flowers or berries. Shrubs worthy of consideration include; Aucuba, Box, Euonymus, Gaultheria, Hebe, Skimmia, Phormium and small conifers i.e. Cupressus Wilma Goldcrest.

Other plants that are worth squeezing into a container for extra colour include Heuchera, autumn and winter flowering heathers (Calluna vulgaris and Erica x darleyensis), ornamental kale and ornamental grasses.

These shrubs and perennials can be mixed with autumn/winter bedding plants to add some essential colour when there are few other flowers in the garden. As well as a bewildering selection of pansies and violas in assorted colours you can consider Cyclamen, Wallflowers, Polyanthus and Primulas. These can also be mixed with other bedding plants with attractive foliage such as trailing Ivy and silver leaf Cineraria.

Choosing the best plants to grow is not always an easy decision as there are hundreds to choose from. However, if you use our system of Thrillers, Spillers and Fillers you should be able to follow a template to create sensational autumn containers.

  • Thrillers: This should be a tall plant for the backdrop to give your display height e.g. shrubs
  • Spillers: These should be trailing plants to be planted at the sides of the container to cascade over the rim e.g. ivy
  • Fillers: These should be bushy plants to fill the containers and ensure its bursting with colour e.g. bedding plants

When planting up your autumn containers it is vital that you choose the right compost. We recommend a loam based compost such as ‘Perrywood Potting compost’ or John Innes as this will help your container to retain moisture and nutrients but not become waterlogged during the cold winter months. Avoid using water retaining gel as this will hold onto water during colder weather which can damage your plants root system if the pot freezes.

Once your have planted up your container, water it well and check it regularly as it may need watering throughout the season, even if it rains. Sit back and enjoy your colourful creation! Images provided by GAP Photos Ltd.


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