The Season of the Pumpkin
Pumpkins are a big part of fall and the end-of-the-year holidays from jack-o-lanterns to pumpkin pies. All around town this time of year, you can find pumpkin-flavored coffee, pumpkin ice cream and all sorts of pumpkin treats. You see them stacked by scarecrows and hay bales on lawns.
Here’s a cool idea for using pumpkins. Make a pumpkin planter for some of your fall flowers such as pansies, violas, mums and ornamental kale and cabbages. Hollow out a large pumpkin just as you would for making a jack-o-lantern. Drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Fill will a good potting soil mixture and plant your fall plants.
Now you can enjoy your chilly weather-loving plants on the patio table or on your doorstep throughout the season. Then, depending on the growing zone you live in, plant the whole thing in the winter container garden or elsewhere. The pumpkin will then decompose, making rich soil.
How to Turn a Pumpkin into a Planter
- Choose a medium to large pumpkin.
- Decide what plants to use.
- Cut the top off the pumpkin, a little wider than for a jack-o-lantern
- Scrape the insides out thoroughly.
- Drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage.
- Fill it about three-quarters full with a good soil mix.
- Arrange plants and plant them.
- Fill in around them with more soil.
- Water sparingly.
You can personalize your pumpkin planter by choosing white or green pumpkins. Use a combination of plants or simply plant a pot of mums in a large pumpkin.
Tip: If you want your pumpkin planter to last longer, scrape it out very thoroughly and coat the inside of it with petroleum jelly. Break up some charcoal briquettes and add an inch to the bottom. This way, the pumpkin will last a couple of weeks.
Plants for your Pumpkin Planter
Here are a few suggestions for what to add to your pumpkin planter. These plants can thrive outdoors and withstand frost.
- Ornamental pepper
- Purple Kale
- Green Kale
- Variegated vinca
- Black-eyed susan
- Ornamental cabbages
- Swiss Chard
Some Popular Choices for Fall Flower Gardens
Pansies are colorful annuals that are great for the garden all year in zones 4 to 8. They come in a lot of different colors. They like full sun. Pansies can be started in the spring from seeds. Start them indoors 6 to 8 weeks before they can be planted outdoors. Water them regularly and use an all purpose fertilizer on them.
Mums, or chrysanthemums as they are sometimes called come in a variety of colors and sizes. These plants are perennials in zones 5-9. Fall mums sold as annuals are very inexpensive and worth the price even though they won’t bloom again next year. They come in pretty rustic colors like deep gold and burgundy. You can also get white, pink, yellow and lavender ones. They like at least 5 hours of full sun. Water and fertilize regularly.
Ornamental Cabbages and Kale
Ornamental cabbages and kale go great in the fall garden alongside mums and pansies. They can withstand temperature drops to 15 to 20 degrees, making them excellent choices for zones 5 to 7. If you are going to experience 20 degree nights for more than a day or so, they will need to be covered with perhaps a sheet.
Can you eat ornamental cabbages and kale? Yes, but they are not very tender and they are not as tasty as the others.
Swiss chard is grown more for its tasty health benefits for salads more than it is for ornamental purposes. But its green and purple curly leaves make it attractive to use in flower gardens. For the prettiest and freshest Swiss chard, grow your own starting in spring. Then you will have Swiss chard for salads and gourmet cooking until a hard freeze. Not to mention green and purple beauty for your fall flower garden.
Other Possible Pumpkin Planter
There are so many cool ways to use pumpkin planters. I want to do a green pumpkin with burgundy-colored mums. I also want to do a gourmet cooking one with peppers and Swiss chard. Think up your own cool pumpkin planter idea this fall! This project was a lot of fun!