17 Beautiful Thanksgiving Planter and Container Ideas

Fall is here, and it is about time we freshen up our containers or add some new ones to the mix! If you are ready to switch from summer to fall, this article is for you. Gardening expert Jill Drago has listed 17 of her favorite ideas for Thanksgiving planters and containers.

A wooden planter holds a colorful array of mums, ornamental kale, calendula flowers, and ornamental grasses.


When the cool weather rolls into town, our gardens begin to settle in for the winter. This is a great opportunity to add color to your landscape with containers! This is the season of gathering, so what better time to spruce up your front steps? Here, we’ll explore plants that will stand out and attract attention in your Thanksgiving containers and planters.

Refreshing or restarting your containers from scratch does not need to be stressful. Making a plan before you head to the store is always helpful. The plants in this list will tolerate some lightly chilly temperatures and will bring the fall vibes to your porch.

When you are planting Thanksgiving containers, choose plants that you love and fit with your home’s style and aesthetic. Use the ideas in this article to help inspire you and guide you while shopping!

Ornamental Pepper ‘Medusa’

Close-up of Ornamental Pepper 'Medusa' in a sunny garden. The Ornamental Pepper 'Medusa' features brightly colored peppers in shades of red and yellow, complemented by vibrant green leaves, creating a visually striking and ornamental appearance.
Add vibrant ornamental peppers like ‘Medusa’ with red, yellow, and green fruits.
botanical-name botanical name Capsicum annuum ‘Medusa’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 6-8 inches 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Consider giving your cornucopia planter the look of being a true “horn of plenty” by adding ornamental peppers. These peppers are brightly colored and very attractive. The ‘Medusa’ variety combines red and yellow peppers with green leaves.

If you are seeking something a bit different, there are ornamental peppers with deep purple peppers and foliage. 

Beautiful cornucopia companions:

Common NameScientific Name
Flowering Kale Brassica oleracea
SnapdragonAntirrhinum majus 
Winter SquashCucurbita pepo

Cottage Cabbage

Close-up of an autumn container garden with three large blue flowerpots filled with different plants. Plants such as ornamental cabbages, Creeping jenny, Antirrhinum majus, Sweet Potato Vine, Chrysanthemums, Hyssop and others grow in flowerpots.
Ornamental cabbage plants are available at fall garden centers, offering beauty and durability.

Ornamental cabbage plants are abundant at garden centers in the fall. These plants are beautiful and long-lasting. 

Mixing up a few other whimsical plants with your ornamental cabbage can give your front steps a sweet cottage feel. This is a great way to add some cold-tolerant plants to your containers if you are not a fan of mums or if you just want something a bit different for your containers. 

You can find ornamental cabbage in hues of green, purple, or white. Choose whichever color catches your eye. Ornamental cabbage is also pretty planted in its own Thanksgiving container. Cluster a few pots together for a fun play with color and texture. 

Companion plant ideas:

Common NameScientific Name
DichondraDichondra argentea
Purple Fountain Grass Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’
Sweet Alyssum Lobularia spp.

Edible Beauty 

Close-up of fall planter with Swiss chard, lettuce, and marigolds. Swiss chard produces deep red, thick stems and oval, bright green, glossy leaves with a waxy texture and vibrant purple-red veins. Marigolds bloom with bright orange-red flowers.
Autumn is perfect for growing cool-season veggies that can also serve as decorative elements in containers.

Autumn is a great time to grow some cool-season vegetables. Why not have those veggies work double time and use them in an ornamental container for Thanksgiving, too?

These containers will contribute a farmhouse appeal to any sunny porch while also being ready for snipping and harvesting when needed. Cluster a few pots together, or combine a few edible beauties in one larger pot!

Try ‘Celebration’ Swiss chard. The rainbow of stems is the real show-stopper with this plant. Of course, it makes delicious additions to sauteed vegetables or salads. The brightly colored stems make a surprising splash in containers or window boxes.

Other edible ideas:

Common NameScientific Name
BeetsBeta vulgaris
Mustard Greens Brassica juncea
Pansy Viola tricolor var. hortensis

Fall Foliage 

Close-up of a large ceramic flowerpot with grow various plants with colorful leaves. Ipomoea batatas Blackie dark purple leaves, Ivy Hedera Helix, and Coleus in a pot near the fence of the house. Coleus produces large, heart-shaped leaves that are a vibrant purplish-pink shade interspersed with bright green.
A colorful container with various plants sporting red, yellow, and orange foliage can bring the fall spirit.

When we think of fall, we typically picture the changing colors of the leaves. This makes a colorful container of fall foliage a perfect choice, especially if you live in an area where you do not see the autumnal changing. 

You could use any plant whose foliage you love. This could mean perennials, annuals, or a combination of the two. Look for bright red, yellow, and orange colors for a truly autumnal look. 

Coleus is a great plant grown primarily for its foliage, although it does produce spikey purple flowers. ‘Fishnet Stockings’ is a good choice for autumn pots because it has a medium splash of green with deep purple accents. Choose a coleus that has the right color combination for you. There are many orange and yellow varieties on the market, such as ‘Freckles.’ 

More plants with pretty leaves:

Common NameScientific Name
Coral Bells Heuchera spp. 
Sweet potato vineIpomoea batatas
Umbrella grass ‘Baby Tut’Cyperus involucratus

Feed the Bees

A colorful container garden with flowering plants such as Nasturtium, Rudbeckia Cappuccino, Dahlia 'Purple Gem', Geranium robertianum and others. The plants grow in large clay pots in front of the brick house.
Many perennial plants suitable for containers can serve as annuals or be transplanted into your garden before winter sets in.

Many of us gardeners focus on pollinator gardens in the spring and summer. Don’t forget the bees in the fall, though! They are wrapping up their feeding season and still need our flowers to help them. 

Many plants that we grow in our perennial gardens during warmer months can also be grown in containers. These perennials can be treated as annuals, or you can plant them in your gardens before the garden freezes.

I like to use black-eyed Susans in my fall containers. They transplant easily, and their yellow and brown flowers are the perfect fall color combination.  Deadhead any spent flowers to help encourage more blooms.

Combine this perennial with other perennials, or plant them in containers on their own. Either way, you will be pleased with how many bees you will find buzzing through your containers. 

More pollinator-friendly plants:

Common NameScientific Name
BeebalmMonarda spp. 
ConeflowerEchinacea spp. 
Butterfly WeedAsclepias tuberosa

Golden Goodness

Close-up of a large blue flowerpot with blooming Matrix® Orange Pansy flowers, sunflower and ornamental cabbage. The flowerpot stands against the background of a wooden house next to a large black flowerpot with blooming orange chrysanthemums.
Create the perfect fall container by combining shades of yellow and orange, extending the vibrancy from summer to the first frost.

Shades of yellow and orange combine to give you the ultimate fall container. When you plant these shades together, it provides the best, brightest hues of summer up to the first frost and beyond.

Select yellow or orange flowers and some yellow grasses for textural interest. Combine your plants into one large container, or cluster a few pots together for the same visual impact. 

Sunflowers are beautiful autumn flowers. Their yellow, sunny faces are beloved by all ages and make stunning container plants! You can start these flowers by seed or purchase nursery starts from your local garden center. 

Combine sunflowers with lower-growing plants to create a lush container. 

Common NameScientific Name
California PoppyEschscholzia californica 
Pot MarigoldCalendula officinalis 
ZinniaZinnia elegans

Hanging Harvest 

Close-up of a hanging basket with blooming flower arrangement of burgundy petunias, white verbena and yellow calibrachoa. Petunias have funnel-shaped flowers of rich burgundy color with dark purple veins. Verbena produces round, spherical inflorescences of five-petaled white flowers.
Hanging baskets are always in style, offering year-round appeal with the option to switch out plants.

Hanging baskets never go out of style. If you are willing to swap plants out, they can be an attractive addition to your home from spring through the winter. 

Fall doesn’t mean you have to nix your flowering annuals, either. Keep what looks good, or replace everything with flowering annuals in autumnal hues of orange, purple, yellow, or whatever suits your decor. 

I like verbena for hanging baskets because it has a nice mounded growth habit, but it also trails out of baskets perfectly. ‘Peachy Keen’ mixes shades of peach and orange and is perfect for fall. 

Verbena is attractive by itself but also blends very nicely with other flowering annuals or annual grasses. As always, choose a color combination that works for your home and choose plants that you love. 

Common NameScientific Name
Nasturtium Tropaeolum majus
PetuniaPetunia spp. 
‘Toffee Twist’ CarexCarex flagellifera ‘Toffee Twist’

Herb Mix 

Closeup of a large container with growing herbs. Herbs such as Sage Golden, Rosemary, Red Veined Sorrel, Basil and lemongrass grow there.
When planning Thanksgiving planters, consider combining herbs you use for cooking holiday meals.

While designing your Thanksgiving containers, remember that these planters can be beautiful and useful, too. 

Create a planter mixing herbs that your family uses or that you know you will be using while cooking your holiday meals. These planters can live on your deck or can be brought indoors to live near a sunny window. 

Sage is a very common herb in Thanksgiving dishes. Its soft texture and beautiful silver-green color make this herb an excellent choice for a container. 

Pair sage with other herbs, or select a few flowering annuals you love. Sage pairs nicely with most colors of flowers and has a nice upright growth habit, making it a good choice for a shorter thriller. 

Other useful Thanksgiving herbs:

Common NameScientific Name
ParsleyPetroselinum crispum 
RosemaryRosmarinus officinalis 
ThymeThymus vulgaris 

Mums the Word 

Close-up of a colorful fall display of potted hardy mums, corn stalks and pumpkins. Lots of large terracotta and plastic pots with chrysanthemums in bloom in different colors of orange, red, pink, yellow and white. Pumpkins are large, round in shape, with glossy bright orange skin.
Garden mums are quintessential for fall, available in various colors to match your garden’s palette.

Nothing says “fall” more than garden mums. These plants come in a variety of colors, making it easy to blend them into your garden’s color scheme or to create a jewel-toned rainbow of mums.

Mums are beautiful in a pot on their own but are easily jazzed up a bit by adding a few plants. For an extra pop of color, choose blue containers for your mums. 

The garden mum. Who doesn’t love them? These mounded plants are an autumn staple, growing to about two feet tall. You can often find mums in different sizes, making them great choices for large containers or narrow window boxes. Mix and match colors, or choose one color for a simple yet stunning monochromatic look. 

Great companion plants for mums:

Common NameScientific Name
Licorice Plant Helichrysum thianschanicum ‘Icicle’
Pearl MilletPennisetum glaucum 
Ornamental CabbageBrassica oleracea var. acephala 

Neutral is Nice 

Close-up of Succulents mix arrangements in white pumpkin planters on a wooden table against a white wall. Succulents such as Crassula ovata Hobbit, Echeveria elegans, Crassula Capitella, String of pearls, Aloe Juvenna 'Tiger Tooth Aloe', Aloe 'Mauna Kea' grow in pumpkin planters.
Amidst the bold colors of fall, consider a serene monochromatic container with light green or white plants.

Often, fall is filled with bold colors, but that isn’t for everyone. There are many beautiful neutral colors that you can combine to create a monochromatic container. 

Start with using light green or white plants and add depth to the container by selecting plants with different textures. Finish it by tucking in a few mini white pumpkins for muted fall flair. 

Mexican snowball is a very popular succulent. It grows beautifully in containers and, in this case, makes a surprisingly gorgeous addition to a mixed autumn container. 

When these plants are done decorating your front porch, bring them in and add them to your houseplant collection!

White or light-colored plants to accent your succulents:

Common NameScientific Name
Dusty Miller Jacobaea maritima
Ice PlantLampranthus deltoides
Mini White PumpkinCucurbita pepo

Pumpkin Pot 

Close-up of Autumn mums in a pumpkin pot on a wooden surface against the background of a wooden fence in the autumn garden. Next to the Chrysanthemums there are two different types of pumpkins of different shapes and colors. Autumn leaves with orange and red hues lie on a wooden surface. Chrysanthemums have many pompom-shaped flowers in a bright yellow-orange hue.
Reuse Halloween pumpkins or acquire fresh ones, filling them with potting soil to create eco-friendly plant pots.

This is a fun way to reuse pumpkins you have leftover from Halloween, or go out and get a fresh one! Carve a hole in the top and hollow the pumpkin out, removing all the seeds and as much of the pumpkin meat as possible. Drill a few holes in the bottom of the pumpkin using a hand drill for drainage. 

Fill your pumpkin with potting soil and select flowering or foliage plants to plant in your brand new and very eco-friendly pot! Pumpkin pots look best with a singular plant growing in them. Cluster a few pumpkin pots together to add more dimension and texture.

A mum is the perfect choice for a pumpkin planter. The flowers are colorful and quintessentially autumnal. The mum’s mounded shape also compliments the pumpkin’s shape very nicely. 

Additional Ideas: 

Common NameScientific Name
AsterSymphyotrichum novae-angliae
MarigoldTagetes spp. 
StonecropSedum spp. 

Pumpkin Pillar 

Close-up of three pumpkins lined up on top of each other in the form of a pillar in an autumn garden. Pumpkins are large, of different colors. The bottom pumpkin is the largest and has a golden-orange hue. The second pumpkin is white-bluish in color. And the top pumpkin is smaller and has a blue-green tint.
Revitalize mixed containers from summer by creating a cost-effective pumpkin pillar with your choice of pumpkins.

If your mixed containers are still in good shape after the summer, installing a pumpkin pillar is a great way to save some of your plants and money. 

Select a few pumpkins of your choosing. Flatter pumpkins, such as Cinderella pumpkins, work a little better. Leave your spillers in place of your containers and stack the pumpkins right on top of the soil. 

Companion plants:

Common NameScientific Name
Ivy Hedera spp. 
Sweet Potato Vine Ipomoea batatas
Lady FernAthyrium filix-femina

Perfect Pansies 

Close-up of several rectangular decorative flower pots with colorful Pansies. Pansies are charming cool-weather flowers known for their delicate, "face-like" blooms, which come in various colors, including shades of yellow, red and orange.
While pansies might not be the first choice for fall, they thrive in cool autumn weather and pair well with various plants.

When you think of fall, pansies might not be the first plant that comes to mind. However, they grow as lovely in the cool autumn weather as in the spring!

If you have grown pansies in containers, you already know how nicely they pair with almost any other plant. Choose plants you love, or plant them on their own!

Pansies grow best in cool weather. We often associate these happy flowers with the springtime, but they are just as lovely in the autumn. If you have planted pansies in the spring, carry them over into fall by keeping them in a shady garden space in the warm summer months. 

Pansy pals:

Common NameScientific Name
Angel Wings Senecio candicans 
Fiber Optic Grass Isolepis cernua 
Vinca (Greater Periwinkle)Vinca major 

Use Dried Flowers 

Close-up of dried hydrangeas and pine branches arranged in a clay pot in a winter snow-covered garden. Hydrangea has large spherical inflorescences of dry brown four-petaled flowers.
Easily refresh your containers for fall by trimming and adding dried flowers from your garden.

Often, our containers only need a bit of sprucing up or trimming to make it through the fall. This is a great time to snip some dried flowers from your garden and add them to your pots to breathe new life into them. 

Pair your dried flowers with any plants you wish, or think about snipping evergreen branches to accentuate the beauty of your dried flowers. 

Dried hydrangea blooms are perfect for fall arrangements. Allowing your hydrangea blossoms to dry naturally on the shrub can benefit you in a few ways. Firstly, you can snip them once dry and stick them into the soil of your container, adding instant autumnal color to your pots. Secondly, you can enjoy the flowers on the shrub all winter. 

Other notable dried flowers:

Common Name
Cock’s CombCelosia spp. 
Globe Amaranth Gomphrena globosa
Globe ThistleEchinops spp. 

Vertical Veggies 

Balcony with vertical planter, small white raised beds and several pots of herbs. Vegetable crops such as radish, fennel, and beet grow in a vertical planter. Various types of lettuce and cilantro grow in raised beds.
Vertical planters are versatile, suitable for many varieties of plants, and remain practical in the fall.

Vertical planters can be a game changer if you are short on space. All summer, you can fill these tall planters with flowers, fruits, herbs, or vegetables. But don’t rush to put it away once the fall rolls in! 

Vertical planters are made up of multiple tiers. Each tier is stacked on top of the next. There is plenty of soil for root vegetables such as beets. The top tier is the perfect spot for taller or wider plants. 

Beets are excellent cool-season vegetables that also provide vibrant colors to your garden. The ribs of the leaves and stems are typically a deep and glowing red, depending on which variety you have selected. 

Combine beets with flowers or other cool-season vegetables for the perfect fall edible garden. 

Great vegetables to plant in the fall

Common NameScientific Name
GarlicAllium sativum 
KaleBrassica oleracea
SpinachSpinacia oleracea

Wintery Window Boxes

A winter holiday window box features abundant greenery, pinecones, and red berries.
Moving from Halloween to winter means you can explore new, beautiful winter container possibilities.

No one likes to jump from Halloween right into winter, but sometimes it makes sense. When it comes to winter containers, there are a lot of options. 

Plants can be planted in containers and overwintered in a garden shed. Another option is to snip stems of pines or holly and stick them into the soil. Arrange them nicely and add some berries, or possibly mums, and you’ve set yourself up for a winter of green beauty. 

Heath is a pretty evergreen flowering perennial for holiday planters. The foliage is fernlike, and the flowers are spiked and are found in shades of pink, purple, and white. 

Adding heath to a container or window box is charming. They can stay petite enough for mixed containers but are also beautiful enough to be the star of the show. 

Some more evergreen beauties: 

Common NameScientific Name
Dwarf Alberta spruce Picea glauca ‘Conica’
Dwarf Globe Japanese CedarCryptomeria japonica ‘Globosa Nana’
Goshiki Osmanthus Osmanthus heterophyllus


Close-up of a floral decorative arrangement of Cornucopia filled with potted Dalmatian bellflowers, on a wooden table in the garden, against the background of a wooden fence. Also on the table there is a wooden box with potted Pansy and colorful Primula obconica in yellow, red and pink shades.
The cornucopia, a symbol of abundance, now signifies Thanksgiving and can be a welcoming decoration filled with plants.

Historically, the cornucopia, or the horn of plenty, was a sign of abundance. It has since taken on a new life as a symbol that we associate with Thanksgiving. 

Cornucopia decorations are typically baskets or ceramic and tend to be filled with food. However, you can use this symbol in your own way and fill it with plants. What a lovely welcome it would make on your doorstep as guests arrive. 

Final Thoughts

When you begin to plan your Thanksgiving planters or containers, think of plants that can be useful to you while also being beautiful. These containers will be a highlight in your autumn garden while the rest of your plants begin to go dormant for the winter. Choosing the right plants can make all the difference for curb appeal. And, of course, don’t forget to add some pumpkins!

A variety of small terracotta pots house a collection of fall plants, accented with tiny green and yellow pumpkins.

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In a lush green field, various bulbs of tulips, hyacinths, and other spring flowers are neatly planted in rustic brown pots, with additional bulbs scattered amidst the verdant grass. A woman cradles multiple tulips, hyacinths, and other bulbs in her hands, showcasing their vibrant potential.


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