By Julia Sibley-Jones
Photos by Chelsey Ashford
Your neighbor’s front porch looks inviting and seasonal with effortless containers, but did they plant them? There’s a very real possibility that Pretty Pots filled them.
Before you get started, ask a few questions:
- What is the scale and style of your house?
- Do you have low-hanging eaves, a taller-than-usual door or other architectural features?
- What colors do you like and what would complement your front door?
- Is your location sunny, shady, sheltered, or open?
“Go bigger than you think,” says Joy Gregory.
Gregory, owner of Greenville-based planting service Pretty Pots, believes it’s better to have a few large pots rather than a lot of little ones, and bigger pots mean less watering and maintenance because the soil can hold moisture.
Resist the urge to purge
You want to rip everything out and jump right into fall, but the problem is it’s still hot and daytime temperatures can stay warm into November. A better idea is to spruce your existing summer containers by using what Gregory refers to as “transitional plants.”
Start by cleaning out any dead plants. Next, deadhead remaining flowers and trim off one-third of the foliage.
“Don’t be afraid you’re hurting the plants,” she says. “Just think of it like giving them a haircut.”
Now add in a few transitional plants like euphorbias (Gregory likes ascot, blackbird and any shade of bronze). She’s also fond of coral bells, ornamental grasses, sedum, creeping Jenny and dichondra (silver falls), all which make excellent container choices.
Barberry bush is a non-evergreen shrub that is hardy and deer resistant. Gregory loves to use them because the foliage has amber, yellow and deep-red leaves that change with the season. They also stay relatively small, can live in sun to partial shade, and the berries attract birds. Another option is black lace elderberry, a shrub with lacy, purple foliage and clusters of pink flowers with a slight lemony scent.
Fall is a great time to capitalize on foliage for color and texture. Many plants and shrubs have attractive berries and or leaves that change color with temperature changes.
“You can have a beautiful fall container with lots of color and texture without any flowers at all,” Gregory says.
Finally, as temperatures get cooler, add in fall elements such as pumpkins and gourds, bittersweet or birch twigs, feathers, pods or other natural elements.
The rule of thirds
When planting a container, Gregory says it’s best to think in thirds. Plan for the bottom third of the pot to be drainage (foam peanuts or gravel); the middle third needs a mix of soil and compost. Reserve the top third for the plants, which then have room to spread and mound, spill over or grow upright.
For the first week, check the pot every day. If it’s not moist mid-way down, then your container needs water. Even if a container is in shade, a breezy spot can wick water as though the plants were in full sun.
Find out more
For more information about Pretty Pots, visit https://bit.ly/2q1scGf