The 9 Best Plants for Fall Hanging Baskets

There are a number of ways to add life and colour to a garden in the fall, including using hanging baskets. With a variety of styles and sizes available and a seemingly unending selection of suitable plants, they can easily be located and even relocated around your garden. 

Whether you are looking to add vibrant and delicate flowers to your basket, evergreen foliage, or simply create a uniquely textured display, rest assured, there will be a plant in this article for you. 

Types of Fall Hanging Basket Plants

The first and most important step in curating a fall hanging basket is choosing the correct plants, after all, there are so many plants that have already bloomed and are past their best come late summer. Here below is a range of plant varieties for you to consider. 

Fall Perennials

Although perennials will only bloom for part of the year, under the correct conditions they will come back every year, saving you from having to re-pot annually.  Some species of perennials bloom in the fall, and many are cold-hardy, making them perfect for adding color to your garden during this time of year. 

Fall perennials vary in shape, colour, texture, and bloom. Many people choose to plant different varieties of perennials together in a hanging basket, creating a wonderful display. Some perennials such as snapdragons can add height to your basket, whilst others like pansies spill over the edges.

Evergreens 

If you’re looking for plants that are hardy, long-lasting and require little maintenance, then evergreens may be the best option. Evergreens still add colour to your garden, although they are best known for their contrasting foliage textures. 

From flowering and fruiting evergreens to shrubs, to fragrant herbs, there’s a huge variety to choose from. Evergreens look great in hanging baskets because the green foliage hangs down the sides of the basket. Trailing ivy is a popular choice. 

9 Varieties of Fall Hanging Basket Plants

If you’re wondering what a good fall plant for a hanging basket is, you have an abundance of options to choose from. This article lists the top 9 fall flowers to help decide on the perfect plant for you. 

1. Pansies 

Pansies 
Credit: David J. Stang by CC: 4.0

Scientific Name: Viola wittrockiana 

  • Ideal Position: Full sun to partial shade 
  • Difficulty: Easy to grow and maintain   
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic and edible 

Pansies are short-lived perennials that are very popular among gardeners for their delicate yet vivid appearance. Their petals can be either red, yellow, white, pink or purple and often have darker blotches around their centre. Their bold colours will certainly add a splash of sunshine to a dull, fall day. 

Pansies are a popular choice when planting in shallow pots or hanging baskets and many people choose to let the flowers bloom and drape over the edges. They require fertile soil with regular watering and feeding. It’s best to hang them in full sun and prune them regularly to encourage new flower growth. They will do best in zones 6 to 9. 

Pansy leaves and flowers are edible. They can be used as garnishes or decorations for many foods. Pansies are native to Europe and are surprisingly hardy flowering across the fall and mild winters.  

2. Ivy

Ivy
Credit: Killarnee by CC 4.0 

Scientific Name: Hedera helix 

  • Ideal Position: Full sun to full shade 
  • Difficulty: Very easy to maintain   
  • Toxicity: Mildly toxic if ingested   

Ivy is a woody, climbing evergreen that is native to Eurasia. There are many species of ivy and their thick, glossy leaves range from dark green to yellow to white. They are typically 5-pointed but may be ovular or arrow-shaped. Their leaves may be sold or veined. 

A common sight growing on trees, houses and walls, ivy is also a popular choice for hanging baskets. The leaves cascade over the edges of the basket creating a beautiful trailing effect. They can be planted alone but also look great when mixed with other, flowering plants.

Ivy is notoriously easy to grow and does best in zones 4 to 9. The soil should be moist but not soggy and they like humid conditions. Ivy can grow almost anywhere as it tolerates both full sun and shade, meaning you can hang it almost anywhere. 

Ivy is mildly toxic if large volumes of it are ingested. Cats, dogs, horses and young children are most at risk. Symptoms include sickness and skin sensitivity.

3. Verbena

Verbena
Credit: Ronnie by CC: 2.0

Scientific Name: Verbena officinalis 

  • Ideal Position: Full sun 
  • Difficulty: relatively low maintenance   
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic  

Verbena is a delicate-looking perennial plant. The flowers come in an array of colours including purple, pink, red, blue, and white. The small, star-shaped flowers form in clusters that stand out from the toothed, green leaves. 

Native to the Americas and Europe, verbena grows best in zones 5 to 11. They require regular watering to keep their soil moist but not soggy. You should hang your verbena in full sun and ensure not to overcrowd the basket when planting as they will not tolerate poor air circulation. 

Regarding temperature, verbena is fairly hardy and will continue to bloom at temperatures as low as 15oF. They have a long bloom season, and their habit of trailing makes them a perfect addition to a hanging basket. 

4. Winter Heather

Winter Heather/Heath
Credit: Krzysztof Ziarnek Kenraiz by CC: 4.0

Scientific Name: Erica Carnea 

  • Ideal Position: Full sun to partial shade 
  • Difficulty: Low maintenance   
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic  

Winter heather looks great either as a shrub or in hanging baskets as it flowers right through until April.

These are low-maintenance, evergreen shrubs with long, needle-like leaves that sit on stems that point upwards. Among the foliage are urn-shaped flowers that can be white, pink, red, and purple in colour. 

A tough and hardy plant, heather grows best in zones 3 to 10 and is native to the mountains and frosty bogs of Europe, meaning it is very tolerant to winter and can survive in lime soils. 

This colourful and delicate-looking shrub prefers damp, slightly acidic soil and can grow in both full sun and light shade. 

Heather makes an interesting addition to hanging baskets due to its texture and the fact the tall stems point upwards, contrasting with most other plants that will droop over the basket. 

5. Wintergreen, Checkerberry (Teaberry)

Wintergreen/Checkerberry/Teaberry
Credit: John Delano by CC: 3.0

Scientific Name: Gaultheria procumbens

  • Ideal Position: Full to light shade 
  • Difficulty: Easy to care for  
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic and edible 

Wintergreen is an evergreen plant that produces small, white flowers in the summer months that develop into vivid, red berries over the fall and winter months. The berries and flowers contrast with the dark, glossy green foliage that surrounds them. 

As a shade-lover, wintergreen does not enjoy hot or humid conditions. This plant favors moist, rich, acidic soils but once it has become established is fairly hardy. It grows best in zones 3 to 8. 

Native to Northeast America, the winterberry is found mainly in woody areas. If you are looking for hanging basket flowers for shade, wintergreen makes a great addition thanks to its summer flowers and pop of red in fall, which is sure to brighten up any dull day. 

Interestingly, the leaves and berries are edible and can be used to make jams and tea. 

6. Snapdragon

Snapdragon
Credit: Lazaregagnidze by CC: 3.0

Scientific Name: Antirrhinum majus 

  • Ideal Position: Full sun 
  • Difficulty: Easy to care for  
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic  and edible 

Snapdragons are short-lived perennials that are often grown as annuals. These flowers can grow fairly tall and have green, lance-shaped leaves and tubular flowers. The blooms can be vivid red, yellow, orange, pink, purple, and white. As such, they are used as an ornamental plant.

In hanging baskets or window planters, snapdragons can grow rather large and bushy, making for a beautiful display. Pruning your snapdragon will help it grow and extend the blooming season. 

As hardy, cold-tolerant plants they can thrive in any well-draining soil and grow best in zones 7 to 11, favouring a sunny location. 

Snapdragon blooms are completely edible and are used mainly as food and beverage decorations and garnishes. 

7. Ornamental Cabbage and Kale

Ornamental Cabbage and Kale
Credit: Terren by CC: 2.0

Scientific Name: Brassica oleracea 

  • Ideal Position: Full sun to part shade 
  • Difficulty: Easy to care for  
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic and edible 

When deciding on a plant for your fall hanging basket, cabbage and kale are not the first ones to spring to mind. However, these ornamental species can add interesting colours and textures to a hanging basket display. 

Ornamental cabbages and kales have large rosettes of leaves which are green at the periphery and white, pink, purple, or red toward the centre. They are tough plants that can easily survive the fall and winter, persisting through temperatures below 5oF.

Zones 2 to 11 are ideal for this plant as they favour cooler temperatures with lots of light. 

Whilst these ornamental species are edible, they have a bitter taste so are often used as garnishes or as eye-catching additions to a garden. 

8. Mint

Mint
Credit: Commonists by CC: 4.0

Scientific Name: Mentha spicata 

  • Ideal Position: Full sun to partial shade 
  • Difficulty: Easy to care for  
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic and edible 

Mint is an herbaceous perennial and if looked after it will regrow year after year. This popular herb is easily identified through its brown, square stems and green leaves that have an aromatic, menthol scent and flavour. 

With over 20 types of mint plant varieties to choose from, it’s a versatile culinary delight and can be added to a variety of dishes, beverages, medicines, and hygiene products. 

Mint grows quickly and vigorously, often spilling over hanging baskets for a beautiful draping effect. Not to mention the fresh scent produced by the leaves. 

As a hardy plant mint can grow in zones 3 to 8 and once established requires minimal care. Plant in full sun or partial shade in well-draining soil and water regularly. 

9. Coral Bells

Coral Bells
Credit: Acabashi by CC: 4.0

Scientific Name: Heuchera spp.

  • Ideal Position: Partial shade 
  • Difficulty: Relatively easy to maintain   
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic  

Coral bells are a favourite among many gardeners. These evergreen plants boast large leaves with frilled edges that may be vibrant green, yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, and blue in colour. Their full and soft form is perfect for filling out a hanging basket. 

During late spring and early summer, coral bells will bloom. Tall, delicate stems shoot up from their centre covered with small, bell-like flowers. During the autumn and winter months, they retain their full and colourful leaves. 

Coral bells do best in zones 4 to 8. They prefer dappled shade and moist but well-drained soil and are very tolerant to cold weather. Due to their fast-growing and spreading nature, you may want to trim back your plant to keep it neat and tidy. 

Fall Hanging Basket Plant Care 

Caring for your fall hanging basket will depend on what you have planted. That being said, there are a few general principles that can be applied to the majority of fall-hanging baskets.

When to Plant

Plant fall plants between September and October. Since these late-blooming flowers are fairly hardy, they can tolerate colder weather. Planting around this time will allow the plants to become established before the frosts hit. 

How to Plant

Line your hanging basket with a fibrous material such as moss. Then fill the basket with lightweight, porous soil. 

When you begin to arrange the plants, it’s best to start in the centre and work your way out. Think about if the plants are trailing or upright when positioning them. 

Watering Frequency  

Plants in baskets tend to dry out faster than those in soil. Most plants favour moist but not wet soil. You can check if your basket needs more watering by seeing if the soil is dry to the touch. 

Be sure to water until it drips out the bottom, as this ensures all the fast-growing roots have plenty of moisture. 

Feeding

Plants in hanging baskets require frequent fertilization. The best fertilizers to use have an NPK ratio of 1:2:1 and are fast-acting liquids or soluble powders that can be diluted in water.  

Position 

Most fall hanging baskets do best in a sheltered but light and sunny spot. Although fall plants tend to be hardy, a fleece layer should be applied on extremely cold, frosty days to give the plants some protection. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I deadhead my hanging basket?

By regularly deadheading your plants you can keep your basket looking neat and attractive. Deadheading will reduce the energy the plant spends on seed production and focus it on producing more flowers. 

Citations 

fc0f28385ebd56da36c2bbe134f43736?s=150&d=mp&r=g
 | Website

Ben's horticultural interest grew when graduating from Hertfordshire University in 1997. Having contributed to numerous publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Design Magazine, and The English Garden. He is also the author of Propagating Houseplants Made Easy.