Landscape Logic: Is your patio ready for Labor Day? |

Landscape Logic: Is your patio ready for Labor Day?

Becky Garber
Landscape Logic
Gardening and potting fresh colorful flowers outdoors in spring season
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

If you’re gearing up for Labor Day barbecues, you might want to add refreshing patio flower containers to your to-do list for this weekend. Around Labor Day is when we see many of the annuals we enjoyed all summer begin to decline.

Annuals respond to changing temperatures. The cooling night temperatures we have seen this week and shortening hours of daylight will only continue.

Now is a prime time to refresh containers and the bonus is that plants we use to refresh pots now will work well into the fall. Most of the plants you’ll see in garden centers right now are meant to transition into autumn and their colors and shapes complement fall decor.

Rules of thumb

Any time we create containers, it’s a good rule of thumb to use the thriller/filler/spiller formula. Rather than planting one container with the same type of plant, this formula requires three different varieties and sizes of plants that will create the most attractive container.

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A thriller is a tall plant placed either in the center or back of the container, if it is viewed from only one side. A good choice for fall is an ornamental grass both because of the height and because it will sway in a fall breeze.

A filler is made up of mounding plants that will fill in gaps around the thriller. One option to consider for fall is ornamental flowering kale. It offers both flowering foliage and interesting texture for the container. Mums also work as fillers and they are available in different sizes and colors.

A spiller is a plant that will trail over the edge of the container, breaking up the line of the pot’s rim. Ivy offers a hardy choice this time of year.

Most of the plants available in garden centers now are selected because they will thrive during the transition into autumn days and work well with fall decor. Ask a professional if you need help selecting plants best suited for sizes and exposures of containers that you have.

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