Vail Daily Landscape Logic column: Pitch the petunias, plant some pansies |

Vail Daily Landscape Logic column: Pitch the petunias, plant some pansies

Becky Garber
Landscape Logic
Close up of pansy flowers
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

The first trees turning color reminds us that the time has come to refurbish patio and porch containers with the bright colors of fall. And that goes for flower bed areas too.

It used to be that when the petunias got nipped by frost, all the containers were emptied and parked in the shed or garage until spring. Now that we’re enjoying our patios into the fall longer than ever, we need seasonal color that outlives the petunias. The welcome container on the front porch also needs to be in tune with the season.

For many plants, the cool nights and warm days this time of year are ideal growing conditions. Planting perennials in fall color in bed areas still gives them time to settle in before winter without having to endure the hot days of summer.


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Pansies and their smaller cousins — violas — are standby fall flowers for good reason. They are hardy enough to bloom throughout the fall and even during the winter in some locations. Best yet, they will be back early next season with bright spring color.

With pansies there are so many varieties and colors that they never get boring. There are black and orange pansies for Halloween — or orange and blue for the Bronco season. Pansies in the traditional fall colors of orange, rust and yellow can stand alone or be used in countless combinations with other plants.


Other great fall bloomers are asters and mums. Find your favorite colors ranging from lavender and purple to soft and brilliant yellow to rust and bronze. Most asters and mums are perennials that you can plant this fall and enjoy for years to come.

Perennials are also great choices for seasonal interest in containers. Plant them along with annuals such as dianthus or snapdragons. Additional perennials to consider include sedum, ivy, plumbago, dianthus, yarrow, grasses and Helen’s flower.


Also add foliage in fall combinations. Foliage adds drama when included with flowers because of the deep shades and texture that make them distinctive. Incorporate ornamental kale, sedum, coral bells and ornamental grasses into containers and beds alike. Their deep hues, shape and texture will backstop flowering plants and make their color pop.

With Halloween and Thanksgiving around the corner, there are many creative ways to add holiday interest to fall containers and beds. Look for pumpkin shaped containers, black pots meant for witches’ brew, buckets or copper containers with a weathered patina. Fall lends itself to many fun and creative options that let us enjoy the outdoor ambiance with plants and gardening for a few months more.

Becky Garber is a member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.

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