Container Gardening for Shrubs: A Beginner’s Guide

fall shrubs in containers

September is here which means fall is near! Start prepping your garden for a gorgeous season and plan out your wish list for what you want to grow next. Deciding on what you want to include in your garden now will give you a better idea of timing and space for a landscape that is always beautiful. Fall is a fantastic season for planting and after our Texas summer, our gardens need a little TLC.

fall shrubs in containers

As you plan your fall landscape design, take the first step towards your autumn transformation, and update your container gardens with a different approach. Plant fall shrubs in containers!

Container gardening with decorative shrubs offers a convenient and versatile way to grow shrubs in any garden, whether you have limited space or soil conditions that are not ideal. It allows you the opportunity to grow a variety of shrubs in different locations and move them with ease.

Plus, you can pair your plants with beautiful pottery for an extra stylish statement on your walkways, patios, and even on rooftop gardens in urban areas! Choose planters in gorgeous seasonal colors such as shades of brown or deep red for the ultimate fall look.

Ready to be inspired? Here is a helpful guide to ensure your growing success!



1 – Select the Right Shrubs

micron holly

Adding instant seasonal interest is one of the main reasons gardeners love growing fall shrubs in containers. Whether you have bare areas that need color or a lack of space, growing shrubs in pots has many advantages and it all starts with choosing the best selection for your space. Choose compact or slow-growing varieties that won’t outgrow their containers too quickly.

dwarf micron holly

Try Dwarf Micron® Holly for its fall foliage and unique texture. It is very slow-growing and can flourish in a wide range of conditions. Dwarf Micron® Holly is drought-tolerant, distinctive, and will thrive in our Texas winters.


For an ornamental shrub, try Canyon Creek Abelia! This compact shrub is a welcomed addition to small space gardens. It has glossy dark green leaves that are tinged with bronze and dazzling fall color. Canyon Creek Abelia has a mounded habit with small white flowers.

canyon creek abelia

Choose a container with proper drainage and a size that will allow the plant to grow comfortably for a few years before it needs to be replanted.

fringe flower

Adorn your garden with even more fall foliage and Purple Diamond® Fringe Flower. It has attractive, deep purple foliage that will remain highly ornamental through the winter. This is a compact shrub with showy pink flowers that appear in the spring and fall.

purple diamond fringe flower

This is a relatively low-maintenance fall shrub and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season’s flowers.


Boxwoods are always a great choice for any garden. Their structure and style complement its beautiful green foliage. For your fall container gardening, choose Baby Gem™ Boxwoods! This elegant evergreen offers year-round beauty and versatility. The upright growth creates many possibilities. Spruce up your container garden and add seasonal color.

baby gem boxwood and flowers

Using the Thriller, Spiller, Filler method, place your Baby Gem™ Boxwood in the center or near the back of the planter. It will be the Thriller of your creation. Then, surround it with annual blooms that have similar sun and water requirements such as Lantana or Pentas. These will be the Fillers to create a full and vibrant look. You can update your blooms throughout the season for extra fall color with Matrix® Pansies or Garden Mums!

sweet potato vine

Complete your planter with the Spiller. Choose an option with trailing growth and try Sweet Potato Vines for their sun-loving foliage and gorgeous fall color.

baby gem boxwood container garden

Now your fall shrub container gardens have an extra pop of color to enhance your landscape for the season!


2 – Potting Mix and Watering Techniques

add potting soil

When planting shrubs in containers, use Calloway’s Premium Container Potting Soil for your gardening success. Our Potting Soil contains a quality blend of organic materials that provides the optimal growing environment for container plants. With superior drainage capabilities, it allows for proper moisture retention and aeration, helping to prevent overwatering and root rot.

watering shrubs

Watering new plants is always important, especially during times of heat and drought. Choose planters that have drain holes to avoid standing water. Potted fall shrubs should be thoroughly soaked when planted and allowed to dry to the touch before watering again. When the top 2 inches of the soil is dry, it is time to water. Check your plants often during times of heat as your plants may need more frequent watering.

Unsure if you are watering enough? Pick up a rapitest® Digital Moisture Meter. This moisture meter is complete with an easy-to-read digital indicator along with a stainless-steel probe to correctly check soil moisture at the root level. Monitoring a plant’s soil moisture level helps prevent over and under-watering.


3 – Fertilization for Optimal Growth

tree and shrub plant food

Keep your fall shrubs thriving and feed your plants with Calloway’s Premium Tree & Shrub Plant Food. Follow the recommended feeding schedule to provide the essential nutrients needed for optimal growth. The 16-4-8 formula contains a controlled release nitrogen, Fx Iron®, and other key ingredients needed to ensure your trees and shrubs maintain their health.



fall gardening

Fall is a great time to plant shrubs in your flowerbeds. It gives your plants the time to establish before next summer. Start planning your autumn oasis and select the best fall shrubs for your landscape.

Need help planting? Our Garden Services team is here to help! Update your flowerbeds or plant new fall foliage with Pick & Plant! We offer the ultimate time-saving service for those who can’t spend as much time as they’d like in the garden. Stop by your local store and pick out your favorite flowers, trees, and shrubs. Meet with our Garden Services experts to schedule your planting and we’ll have everything professionally planted for you in no time!


Ready for a complete garden makeover? Upgrade your curb appeal with Landscape Design & Installation! Our team of professional designers can make your dream garden a reality and start with a personalized visit to your home. They will work with you to create a custom digital plan for your new landscape and provide you with an installation proposal. Now is the time to get started for a fall installation!



fall shrub container gardening

At Calloway’s and Cornelius, we have everything you need for your Texas garden! Visit us today and explore our entire collection of seasonal blooms, stately trees and shrubs, lush indoor plants, and so much more! Shop one of our 28 neighborhood stores, serving our loyal customers for over 35 years.

Have questions? Ask our Texas Certified Nursery Professionals; they are here to help!






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