The Flowers I Chose For My Fall Planters

Every May, it’s a family tradition to plant flowers for the summer. Back when I was a kid, our planting day would always fall on Mother’s Day. Now, I’ve continued that tradition with my own little family and you can read more about it here.

Our cozy corner on the patio

This past summer, we planted our flowers for the summer, like usual, and they looked beautiful over the past few months. But, come late August, they had all run their course.

my crispy flowers by the end of summer
My crispy flowers by the end of the summer

My petunias were dried out and looking pretty stringy. I knew it was time for them to go.

Fall is actually my favorite time of year here in Chicago. The weather is usually pretty perfect with crisp, sunny days and we often spend lots of time outside and in our backyard. I didn’t want to stare at empty planters for the next few months, so I decided I would create some fall planters for the first time ever!

Finding Fall Flowers

Fall planting in our backyard

The day before shopping, I made a big list of what we might need. I knew I had four large planters, two medium planters, and our front window box to cover. I always try to do my filler, thriller, and spiller method for planters (more on that here), so I was able to make a rough list of what I would need ahead of time. Oh, and I knew I would need at least a few bags of fresh dirt too.

We made our fall planting day a big party with me, my mom, Ellis, and Rory. I love getting the kids involved in these kinds of things, and they enjoy it too. We stopped for donuts (Rory’s chocolate face is just the cutest) and coffee, so we were fueled up for our plant shop run.

First, we hit up Home Depot and they had lots of great fall flowers to choose from. I don’t typically flower shop during August, so I wasn’t quite sure what we would find.

What I chose to plant in our backyard

A lot of their flowers were really large, which was good for our fall planters, but not so great for the front window box. I ended up visiting a local nursery too (Farmer’s Market Garden Center, if you’re local) and found the rest of the plants I would need to get everything looking good!

What I Chose for My Fall Planters

The flowers to choose for your fall planters

Here’s a big list of all of the plants I got. I spoke with the employee at the nursery and these should all do just fine over the course of the next few months. By November, it will likely be time to remove everything and do some holiday planting!

  • Doreanthus, Mezoo Trailing Red
  • Red Garden Mum
  • Silver Inch Plant
  • FlameThrower Salsa Verde Coleus
  • FlameThrower Salsa Roja Coleus
  • FlameThrower Heartbreaker
  • Vinca Vine – Dart’s Blue

The Dang Squirrels…

red cayenne pepper in our fall planters to keep the squirrels away

Before I show you the photos of my completed fall planters and front window box, you may notice some red coloring in the dirt. That’s cayenne pepper to keep the squirrels away. I planted all of these and then wanted to wait about a week for the plants to settle in before taking the after pictures. Well, the squirrels went wild on all of my plants. Ugh. I’m trying cayenne to keep them away, but let me know if you have any other good remedies!

The Front Window Box

Our fall front window box
Vinca Vine, FlameThrower HeartBreaker, Spikes, Red Mums

First, let’s take a look at the front window box that I built myself! My white wave petunias and vines didn’t fare too well over the summer (womp womp), but the spikes did really well. We decided to remove everything, but keep the spikes, since they were already mature and still healthy.

flamethrower heartbreakers in my front window box
FlameThrower Heartbreaker
Our fall front window box
Mums, Vinca Vines, Spike
My fall front window box
Vinca Vine, FlameThrower HeartBreaker, Spikes, Red Mums

Then, we planted Mums, Flamethrower Heartbreakers, and Vinca Vines throughout the rest of the window box. I needed a bit of fresh potting mix up here too.

My Fresh Fall Planters

I ended up planting seven pots for our front porch and backyard and they add so much color and life to the outside of our house.

Our fall front porch

Doormat // Striped Rug (similar) // Large Planter // Small Planter (old from Home Depot)

On the front porch, I kept the planters we had, and the spike that was faring pretty well, so it stayed. Here’s what’s in each pot…

My new fall planters for autumn
Mezoo Trailing Red, Spike, FlameThrower Salsa Verde Coleus, FlameThrower Salsa Roja Coleus

The Mezoo Trailing Red plant is probably my favorite of the bunch. It’s got these thick green leaves and is the perfect “spiller” for your fall planters.

Wandering Jew plant
Silver Inch Plant, FlameThrower Salsa Verde Coleus

I used the Silver Inch plant as another nice spiller for my smaller planters. I love the green and purple colors.

The fall planters on my front porch

Now, let’s head to the backyard…

What I'm putting in my fall planters
Planter (old from HomeGoods) // Mezoo Trailing Red, Spike, FlameThrower Salsa Roja Coleus
My fall planters in the backyard

White Planter // Gray Planter // Small Planter

I love grouping together a variety of planters of different heights. Next to the sectional, I planted the following…

FlameThrower Salsa Verde Coleus
FlameThrower Salsa Verde Coleus
Silver inch plant
Silver Inch Plant
My fall planters in the bacckyard
Mezoo Trailing Red, Spike, FlameThrower Salsa Roja Coleus

Finally, up on our deck, I added one more fall planter.

My fall planter on the back deck

Gray Planter // Spike, Mezoo Trailing Red, FlameThrower Salsa Roja Coleus

Mezoo trailing red
Mezoo Trailing Red
My formula for a beautiful planter
Spike, Mezoo Trailing Red, FlameThrower Salsa Roja Coleus

This planter really showcases the thriller (Spike), filler (FlameThrower), spiller (Mezoo Trailing Red) method that I explained in this blog post. It keeps things balanced with height, fullness, and the elegance of a draping plant. I absolutely love it!

Tulip Bulbs – October

Our tulip bulbs in the front yard

During the fall of 2019, when we moved in, I planted some tulip bulbs in our front flower beds, but I wasn’t quite sure if anything would come up. Well, they actually bloomed in the spring and I was amazed! As mentioned, the squirrels in our neighborhood are pretty gutsy and relentless and they have since gotten some of the bulbs out of the ground.

My plan is to plant more, but I have to wait until it gets a bit colder. I have a reminder on my calendar to plant some in mid-October. I will order some tulip bulbs (I get mine here) and then I’ll dig down in the dirt a bit and cover them up! Easy planting!

Holiday Window Box – November

Our holiday window box

I’ll do our holiday window box again this year! It is one of my favorite Christmas projects and it makes the outside of our house look so festive. You can find the full tutorial and everything I use in this blog post. I may do a few holiday planters in the backyard too and if I do, I’ll be sure to share!

What to put in your fall planters

My Favorite Fall Planters & Accessories

Gray Planter // Purple Cimicifuga Leaves // Japanese Maple Leaves // Cream Heather Cluster // Striped Doormat // Faux Pumpkin // Terra Cotta Planter // Wreath

Share Your Favorite Fall Flowers!

My fall planting helpers

A big thanks to my fall planting helpers, Rory and Jan! Now, I would love to know…are you doing any fall planters this year? What flowers work well for you this time of year? I’d love to learn more as this is my first foray into fall planting!


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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