Green Guy Report: Fall Planters

October 13, 2014 Editorial Staff
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Today we’re talking about planters and why fall is a great time to use them. There are many varieties of planters, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Terra Cotta planters are very popular, but DO NOT use them out-doors. They will freeze, crack and break in cold winter months. If you do use them outside in the warm weather, make sure to bring them inside before the cold weather descends.

Fiberglass, resin and cement planters are great to use and all come in many varieties. Fiberglass can be done in faux-lead, which looks terrific. Resin planters are a bit more expensive but worth it as they never break down – 20 years from now you’ve got the same planter. Except for occasionally replacing the soil, they are good to go! Cement planters are great for front yards and sidewalks because of their weight; they are hard to steal (we do live in the big, bad city.)

Here are a few tips to remember when filling your planters with soil:

  • First, drainage holes: They are an absolute must. Your planters must drain quickly. Most plants don’t like soggy soil.
  • Second, cover holes with drainage cloth so no soil escapes and only pure water flows out. A weed barrier cloth from a local nursery works best.
  • Third, use a potting mix with lots of Perlite. Make sure to mix plenty of this white stuff into your potting soil as it an excellent drainage material. DO NOT USE TOP SOIL! It will not work in your planters; it is a heavy substance that doesn’t drain well.
  • Finally, make sure you fill you planters up to the rim with potting soil. The soil compresses several inches after you water it so don’t skimp.

Make sure that you pack your planters very tightly so that it looks full and lush immediately. Unlike in spring, there is no time for plants to grow and fill up the space because winter is coming!

Here are a few of my favorites containers that I’ve recently planted up:

•In a resin planter mimicking sandstone, I have planted bronze colored mums, crotons and a millet called Purple Majesty (birds LOVE these seed heads!) As a final touch, I added a little-leafed ivy, a better choice for smaller planters than the more common, larger-leafed English Ivy.

•In a square faux-lead fiberglass planter, I have flowering cabbage (an excellent fall and cool weather plant) flanked by dwarf boxwood and again little-leafed ivy to soften it.

Last but not least I have a more formal upright circular planter domed by two large chrysanthemums with peach colored flowers, flanked on either side by ivy.

Fall is a great time of year for planting because there are so many colors of flowering fall plants to choose from, and foliage textures to pick. Almost every combination is a good one. Don’t be afraid to fill those planters and make them beautiful!

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