At any garden center right now, next to the pumpkins, there are so many options for fall container garden plants. While pansies and mums are the most common choices, you don't have to be limited.
Ornamental versions of cold-hardy edible plants offer a range of color, texture, and size for your fall container garden. Consider swiss chard, mustard greens, kale, cabbage, and herbs like sage.
Be discerning when you're shopping! Some fall plants have been on the garden center floor for a while, so check the roots! Carefully slide the plants out of the pots and check for healthy roots. Make sure the 6-packs of pansies have six healthy little plants in there! The season doesn't last all that long in Iowa, but it's worth having healthy plants to enjoy.
This is a great activity to include children in. Our kids got into counting out the plants, looking for matching colors, and checking to make sure the plants were healthy. They carried plants to the cart and tried different arrangements for the fall container garden at home. With so much fall foliage to choose from, you can have awesome containers without relying on the ubiquitous mums!