Fall Container Garden Planting Recipe: Autumnal Marsala

July 3, 2024

Autumn has arrived and even though the summer seems to be hanging on, it is time to think about making a few decorative changes around the house (both inside and out) to welcome the crisper air, the fall harvest, and most colorful season of all.

An autumnal arrangement titled "Autumnal Marsala" features Chrysanthemum 'Jacqueline Pink Improved,' Begonia Rex, Cortland apples, and Loropetalum Chinense 'Jazz Hands Mini Chinese Fringe-flower,' set in a brown terracotta bowl—perfect for your seasonal container planting recipe.
Enjoy the crisp flavors of fall with this delicious container garden recipe. Apples could easily be replaced with squash or other vegetables and the combination remixed with other seasonal ingredients (fall-blooming plants). It’s kinda like a salad (just not chopped up)…squash, apples, and leafy greens for a nutritious and comforting meal (display) that captures the essence of autumn.

Every year, Pantone announces, with much fanfare, the color of the year for the following year. The announcement is the precursor of a trend, and it is a predictor of the mood that product colors and fashion will have for the following few seasons. The 2015 color is Marsala.  Pantone describes the hue:

Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness.


An Autumn Inspired Container Garden Recipe:

Marsala seemed a wonderful inspiration for a container planting recipe that celebrates fall plants and gardens. I created this one to inspire your fall designs.

As the season progresses, the apples and the chrysanthemums can be removed and the remaining plants can come inside as houseplants through the winter.  I think I might add some small white birch logs to fill in the holes – stacked and perhaps strung together with some seasonally appropriate ribbon or maybe just some burlap twine.

Begonis Rex, loropetalum, and chrysanthemum container planting recipe - Autumnal merlot from
When using fruits and vegetables in planted container garden arrangements, you need to be prepared—they will not last as long as the plants. I don’t worry too much about that. Either replace them (apples are readily available), remix the arrangement, or repot the plants individually.

I like to look around for alternative ways to mulch a container garden.  Apples are a great option, and I happened to have them growing in the garden.  It is the perfect use for the few fruits with wormholes or damage that makes them less than appetizing.  Moss is another favorite mulch or mine, but many interesting items can be used to cover the soil to help retain moisture. Don’t overthink it, and keep your mind open to options that you might find just lying around the house or garden.

Begonis Rex, loropetalum, and chrysanthemum container planting recipe - Autumnal merlot from
Be careful—diving into the world of begonia rex is dangerous. You may find it hard to choose between all the splashy colors and beautiful patterns that these plants offer. They have a bit of a collector quality about them, with some plants being rare and hard to source.

Many varieties of Begonia rex offer inspiring painterly leaves that include rich marsala colors in a range of shades. Sometimes, they are mixed with blacks and deep reds. Or like this one, some take on silver and white tones but have centers that are deeply wine-colored.

Plants used in Autumnal Marsala inspired Planting:

Begonia Rex, loropetalum, and chrysanthemum container planting recipe - Autumnal merlot from
Begonia container garden recipe: combine whole apples, pretty purple leaves (like trailing loropetalum), flashy leaves (like Begonia), and a colorful season bloom (like mums). Garnish with moss and serve in an attractive container for a seasonal mini garden that will impress your guests.

images by rochelle greayer

More Container Gardening Design Ideas and Planting Recipes:

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