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Add interest to your container gardens this fall     Send a link to a friend

[SEPT. 13, 2004]  URBANA -- As days shorten and temperatures begin to drop, you can give your container gardens a new look by replacing some of the warm season plants with cool temperature lovers. New additions can extend the life and enjoyment of your container gardens, according to Susan Grupp, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator based in DuPage County.

"Chrysanthemums are a traditional favorite and show up in garden stores in numerous flower forms and colors," said Grupp. "Consider other plants that will do well in cooler weather, such as pansies, snapdragons, sweet alyssum, strawflower, cornflower and calendula."

She noted that the current trend of growing plants for their foliage interest continues, and good choices for the fall season include English ivy, dusty miller, vinca vine, spikes, sprengeri fern, flowering kale and licorice plant. In most years, all of these plants should stay looking good well into fall.

 

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"Be creative and add pumpkins, gourds, grapevine and even sprigs of straw to add interest," Grupp said. "Then when temperatures really plummet and if your containers can withstand the harsh winter weather without damage (some materials may crack and chip), you may want to replace everything with a variety of evergreen boughs.

"Most years our weather remains cold, and if your planters are located in a protected spot, out of the sun and wind, the evergreen branches should remain green, often until early March. If they brown up, simply remove and replace them with fresh boughs."

[University of Illinois news release]

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