Specimen Guide: Our Early Autumn Hanging Basket
As we look ahead to autumn, we're planning to extend garden season a little bit longer with a fresh recipe for hanging baskets. In our latest how-to video, our stylists showcase seven components that make it simple to create a beautiful basket planting. For a fall-specific container look, we bent the rules a little and mixed ferns and succulents in our planting. While this unconventional mix wouldn’t be ideal for permanent landscaping, our autumn basket will only last until first frost, when we’ll repot the plants and bring them indoors for winter. Though the plants need different habitats for long-term growth, they’ll thrive with partial sun and daily watering in fall weather. For now, we're digging in with a closer look at our stylists' plant picks, from grasses and ferns to dried blooms, and how each piece fits into the arrangement. Watch the complete how-to below.
1. A grass for height: A star in the fall garden, Autumn Moor Grass (Sesleria autumnalis) offers golden autumn foliage topped with silvery bloom spikes. Tall and linear, this European perennial is native to mountain climes, so it's tough and hardy in cold temperatures. This cool-season variety can be sensitive to extreme heat and humidity, making it ideal for planting as temperatures drop.
2. A fern for texture: Offering foliage in a bright shade of coppery red, Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora) is a dwarf-growing specimen that thrives in shady spaces. Its lacy fronds bring lush texture and a touch of the forest to our fall planting.
3. A sedum for color: Named for its vivid raspberry flowers, Sedum Hybrid 'Sunsparkler Dazzleberry' is a new variety that blooms in late summer. We chose it, however, for its blue-gray foliage, which maintains a smoky shade all the way through fall. Compact and simple to grow, it thrives in sunny locations and also makes an excellent addition to border gardens, rock gardens, and container plantings.
4. A heuchera for foliage: Commonly known as "Foamy Bells," Heucherella 'Honey Rose' offers ever-evolving foliage colors, from bright coral in spring to warm honey in autumn. A hybrid of Heuchera and Tiarella, this variety takes its name from its frothy white flowers, which appear in summer. It makes a beautiful addition to hanging baskets thanks to its shapely, deeply veined leaves. 'Honey Rose' also attracts butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden.
5. A succulent to spotlight: The perfect accent pieces for our planting, rose-shaped Aeoniums are succulents native to the Canary Islands. Though drought-tolerant, they become somewhat dormant during the heat of summer; in fall plantings, Aeoniums will begin to thrive once again. Place them on the sunny side of your basket, as exposure to sun makes the foliage more vibrant.
6. A cascading plant to spill: A low-growing groundcover plant, Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea') drapes beautifully over the edge of a hanging basket. Its fast-growing stems can remain evergreen in milder climates, offering an abundance of vivid, lime green leaves with ruffled edges. Its Latin name, nummularia, means "like a coin;" this refers to the golden hue and rounded shape of its abundant summer blooms.
7. A dried stem to accent: The finishing touch for our planting, stems of dried Allium offer a unique, starbust shape and long-lasting appeal. Tuck them in among the plants to add height and texture.