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Update your planters with Autumn annuals and perennials

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One of the easiest ways to add color to your garden is by using planters full of flowers and greenery. As summer moves into Fall, some of your planters may begin to look overgrown or need to be refreshed with Fall-blooming annuals and perennials.

Gardening centers in Charlotte now offer a variety of mums, asters, pansies, snapdragons and other blooming plants. When selecting plants to update your planters, consider the following:

  • Buy only healthy plants.
  • Select plants that are not overgrown or root bound. These plants may have a difficult time spreading out roots and thriving in their new environment. If you see a lot of roots growing out of the bottom of the pot, check the edges of the root ball to see if the roots are tightly bound.
  • Read the size that the plant will grow to, particularly if you are look at perennials. If the plant will grow to be large, you will need to transplant it in a year or two for the plant to continue thriving. If you prefer not to move the plant for a few years, make sure it will not quickly outgrow the planter.
  • Look for small bugs, fungus or dead leaves and avoid buying plants with these problem. The bugs or fungus can spread to other plants in your yard.
  • Choose plants whose root ball will fit into the space you need to fill. While some adjustment is possible, if you try to fit a large plant into a small space, the plant may not have room to grow. A smaller plant, on the other hand, will fill out and grow happily in the space given.

With a few small changes, your planters can transition to Autumn and bloom beautifully for the next few months.

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Old planter
Old planter Mary Moore

Old planter

After a long summer, Spring planters may be overgrown and in need of refreshing.  Some annuals will bloom less and become leggy as the days become shorter and cooler. 

Remove annuals that are near the end of their cycle and compost them.  Cut away any dead leaves or stems from ferns and perennials, and clear away any plant waste on the surface of the planter. 

Organic Fertilizer
Organic Fertilizer Mary Moore

Organic Fertilizer

Refresh the soil with fertilizer and compost.   Follow the directions on the fertilizer to determine how much fertilizer needs to be added to the planter and mix into the soil. 

Autumn plants
Autumn plants Mary Moore

Autumn plants

To give your planter a fuller look in Autumn, replace the Spring annuals with perennials that will grow aggressively in Fall.  Some options include mums, asters, ferns and ivy.  Cool weather annuals, such as snapdragons or pansies can also be used to add color to your planters.

Spring bulbs
Spring bulbs Mary Moore

Spring bulbs

Another options is to plant bulbs for next Spring.  Layer tulips, hyacinths, crocus, miniature iris and other bulbs in your planter to enjoy months of beautiful flowers in Spring.  For more detail on planting bulbs in containers, see Order bulbs now to create your Spring planter.

Pansies Mary Moore


Pansies and violas are durable annuals that can be used to fill in spaces in planters.  They produce greenery and flowers through the mild Charlotte winters.   While they may be cut back by a hard freeze, they recover quickly once the weather warms up.  Violas are available in while, yellow, blue and purple, while pansies are also available in shades of pink and orange.