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As temperatures begin to dip and the days shorten, we look ahead to fall and all of the lovely décor this season calls for. This includes autumnal floral arrangements, both indoors and out. Fall planters, in particular, are an excellent way to dress up your home for the start of a new season, and they can incorporate features like seasonal flowers, plants, and other timely motifs into your landscaping. Ahead, how to curate your own.

ellow and orange chrysanthemum flowers in pots
Credit: Dmytro Duda / Getty Images

Mix and Match

Seasonal décor is on display for such a short time, which is why lifestyle expert Jaclyn James, the founder of Jaclyn James Co, encourages clients to have fun and pick plants that they love. "It's a great time to try new varieties and mix up bold colors," she explains. To build your own fall planter, James notes that you can't go wrong with traditional mums and marigolds, while adding unexpected plants, like ornamental kale or red begonias, add different colors and textures. "I add pumpkins or gourds around or near the base of the planter or my fall display to really up the fall vibes," she shares. A good rule of thumb? Prioritize height variety: Taller mums should be placed in the back; vine-like plants belong on the sides and around the outer edges; and filler plants (like marigolds) should be tucked into any empty spaces.

Go for Impact

If you can't create height variety with your actual plants, consider a prop, notes James. "Use a small bale of hay," she says, "which is fall appropriate and allows you to stack and layer various pots, planters, and pumpkins." Shop your local pumpkin patch or even craft stores to introduce everyone's favorite gourds (real or faux) to your vignette; you can also search your home for items that can add some height. "I've turned a vintage bucket upside down and placed a planter on top of that or used a block of wood for just a little variation," she says.

Mind the Sun

Those living in warmer climates likely know that their living decorations, including pumpkins and flowers, says James, will feel the effects of the sun. "No one wants a pumpkin 'cooking' on the porch—that will bring lots of fun critters," she explains. "I always keep a close eye on my displays in the afternoon, during the full-sun period. We often need to water our planters twice per day until we get well into October."

Choose Live Material Wisely

If you're an early fall decorator or planter curator who likes to hit the pumpkin patch before October, James says to select gourds that have healthy green stems. "This will help them last a bit longer, especially if you have them outside on display," she explains, adding that if you need to extend the lives of your pumpkins even further, you can try giving them a bath. "Using one part bleach and 10 parts water, soak the pumpkin for just a few minutes," she says. "Allow to dry completely and then put them back out to dry."

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