As I see it, there’s no denying this has been one long, hot summer. The smoky skies and lack of rain didn’t help. Now, some of my pots of annuals appear to be waving a white flag of surrender. I get it! But if you’re seeing the same thing in your container gardens, you don’t have to take it lying down!
This is a great time to help give our containers a “third season,” changing them out a bit and dressing them up in the colors of fall. And the timing is great since this makes a terrific Labor Day Weekend project!
Who doesn’t love September!
Despite the sweet pastels of spring and the bold blossoms of summer, I have to admit: September is my favorite time in Colorado. The heat is easing, hopefully. The nights are cooler. And giving our tired and failing pots of annuals a lovely facelift for fall is fun and easy!
It’s common to find that some of the plants in a container look fine while others are clearly just done! To solve this problem, Tagawa’s has dozens of beautiful flowering and foliage plants perfect for helping a summer container transition to autumn.
You can choose from different rudbeckias (a.k.a. “Black-eyed Susans”), grasses, colorful varieties of kale that will just get prettier with cool weather, and a rainbow assortment of smiling pansies!
Start by deciding what needs to go
I start by deciding which plants in a container are worth saving and which are past their prime, then I start to remove overgrown plants or plants that have gotten leggy or didn’t stand up to the weather all that well.
Quite often, the roots of the various plants have grown together. That’s when I use a serrated knife to carve out the root ball of the failing plant to make way for the new one rather than trying to tease them apart from the entire clump.
It may be helpful to trim back a bit of the flowers and foliage on both the older and newer plant to create a good fit. Make sure the entire root ball of the newer plant is well-seated, not sticking up above the level of the other plants.
Example #1: Before and after
The first pot I worked on had one large, tired plant that needed to come out. It was way past helping it recover with more deadheading.
I dug out the failing plant (seen on the left) and replaced it with a couple of big, beautiful Black-eyes Susans. So easy!! And I loved the results!!
Example #2: Before and after
I love silver plants in my summer containers, and I’m especially fond of this soft, lacy artemisia, so I definitely wanted to save it, but I needed something tall to cover up the bare stems at the bottom of the plant.
I cleaned out the plants that just weren’t working anymore, and tucked in Black-eyed Susans, some ornamental kale and a few soft blue pansies.
I left the lantana and the Creeping Jenny. The two Black-eyed Susans and the purple ruffled kale brightened up the whole pot!!
Example #3: Before and after
The last container I worked on was really a mess. Again, the artemisia was going to stay, along with the deep pink lantana. Everything else…out!!
After a lot of digging and removing a good third of the plants, it was time for the fall facelift!
I love it!! Notice the ornamental kale on the right, and how nicely it taps into its blue and silver neighbors!
Not in the mood to plant fall flowers yourself?
Tagawa’s can help you out here, too! We have half-bushel baskets all planted up with many of the flowers I used in my own pots.
Along with the Black-eyes Susans and the sweet lemony pansies, there are mums that will be blooming soon! Supplies of these baskets may be limited.
And there’s more for those who thrive on instant gratification: beautiful bowls of cheerful pansies, just waiting to go home and brighten your balcony, deck, or patio.
Or, our Annuals staff can come to YOU—and plant right in your own pots! Click here for more information—scroll down to Program 2, Offsite Planting at Your Home
I know it’s hard to let go of summer…
…but with beautiful new plants dressing up your containers, maybe the change of season doesn’t have to be all that hard.
Want to see our video about changing out your summer container gardens for fall? Here is it below, featuring Deborah, our Annuals Dept. Supervisor!
Hope to see you soon at Tagawa’s!