The Gardening Life: Fall Equals Patio Gardening

Fall Equals Patio Gardening

By, Dianne Venetta

As fall approaches, most gardeners are rolling down their sleeves and clearing out the garden. Spring has sprung and it’s time to plan for holiday festivities. They’ll be here before you know it, right? But just because the leaves are falling and a light chill is nipping at your nose doesn’t mean you can’t be surrounded by beautiful plants. Look out back—or front. Your patio is the perfect spot for your green treasures. Safe from snow and ice, blistering winds and darkening days, plants housed within the safety of your patio will not only thrive, but invigorate the area around them. And this time of year, we can use all the extra invigoration we can get. Remember, the holidays are coming... The holidays are coming!

Which plants love the patio and which don’t?

A very important question indeed. You’ll want to consider size and temperature to answer this one. One stroll through your local garden center will reveal a few of the fall favorites, including seasonal blooms like poinsettia and mums. This is their season to shine, so let them—out front, out back, even indoors. And remember, just because they only appear on the market shelves once a year, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them year-round. You can. The poinsettia and mums adorning my patio space were purchased last year and continue to look great. But I live in a warm climate. It works. My northern cohorts aren’t as fortunate.

Evergreens are an easy fit. They love this time of year and will remain green, satiating your “need for green” clear through spring. Consider juniper and boxwood. As the name implies, they are forever green, come rain or shine, sleet or snow. And they’re attractive. From juniper’s shimmery ice blue-gray to boxwood’s forest green, including a mix of color for your patio shouts “great style!” For those inclined toward purple, the heather plant is ideal for the patio and will delight you with its petite purple flowers for months.

Speaking of color, the Christmas cactus is an all-time favorite. It requires an enclosed patio to bloom and flourish, say anything above a balmy 65° F. House it below this temperature and you will be crying the blues as it won’t flourish. Trust me, you do not want to stifle this gorgeous gal. If you live in a cooler climate, a good option for color would be the primrose. Unlike the cactus, this babe needs the cooler temperatures. Below 80° F during the day and 50-60° F come evening will keep her best petal forward.

But me? I think food this time of year and one of my personal favorites for the patio is rosemary. Technically an evergreen, this highly fragrant and wonderfully addictive herb is quite popular this time of year, where you’ll often see it shaped into the form of a Christmas tree. I like it because it’s a multi-tasker, acting as both décor and foodstuff. But did you know it has mental stimulating capacities? You bet! It’s been shown to increase the blood flow to the brain, improving concentration making it the perfect remedy for mental fatigue. And if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the upcoming festivities, don’t despair. This baby will lift your spirits immediately. Ornamental kale is another good choice for the patio—or kitchen windowsill!

Caring for your patio plants generally includes well-drained soil, consistent moisture and fertilization, plus a fair amount of indirect sun (depending upon the specific variety). As mentioned, temperature must also be taken into account. Then, the only thing left to decide is your preferred container. Once you’ve made your selections, sit back and enjoy your patio paradise. There will be no winter doldrums this year!

Meet the Author

Award-winning author D.S. Venetta lives in Central Florida with her husband and two children. It was volunteering in her children’s Montessori school garden that gave rise to her new series Wild Tales & Garden Thrills, stories bursting with the real-life experiences of young gardeners. Children see the world from a totally different perspective than adults and Venetta knows their adventures will surely inspire a new generation to get outside, and get digging.

When not crafting her next novel, D.S. Venetta hosts a garden blog,, where she demonstrates just how easy and fun gardening can be! Additionally, Venetta has been featured for her gardening advice on various websites, including GalTime, EarthEats, eHow, IdealHomeGarden, Huffington Post, and the cookbook Earth Eats: Real Food Green Living. Passionate about organic gardening, her dream is to see a garden in every school, library, and community.

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You can read Dianne's column, The Gardening Life, the 2nd Wednesday each month here at Pandora's Box Gazette.

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