Organic gardener growing food and flowers, lovin' pollinators and birds.

Use these plant varieties to extend autumn indoors

Instead of worrying about raking leaves or cleaning out gutters, focus on the plants that are still blooming or can be repurposed for long-lasting decorations. Even though we are halfway through autumn, there are still many natural elements to bring indoors and enjoy. Here are some ideas to get you started — better yet, these arrangement ideas won't take a long time to create.

Think miniature 
Highlight fall blooms by using small bud vases, as seen above. This year I have been slowly purchasing small vases from second hand shops as I find them. Instead of creating one giant bouquet for my kitchen, this week I brought out my collection and let each petite vase highlight a garden treasure. Everything shown above was brought in from my garden earlier this week, and if I had put them in one giant vase, many of the smaller elements would have been lost.

Here's what I used:

  • Orange vase: Leaves from high bush blueberry, Global Warming Mum 'Autumn Moon' and 'Campfire Glow' mum.
  • Clear vase: 'Easy Does It' Rose, high bush blueberry leaves and 'Lemon Tree' Nicotiana.
  • Blue vase (smallest): Zinnias and winterberry. 
  • Blue vase (medium): Global Warming Mum 'Autumn Moon' and yellow corydalis.
  • Blue vase (larger): Zinnias, calibrachoa, mum.

Of course, miniature pumpkins and gourds are reliable standbys to dress up windowsills and mantles, inside or outside.

Long-lasting decor
Some clippings have a longer shelf life than traditional floral arrangements. I reached out to Jeanine Standard from Proven Winners for suggestions on fall decor and there were so many beautiful choices to choose from!

One of the highlights included two ways to use the blooms from Little Lime® hydrangeas, which is a paniculata variety. Little Lime is a Proven Winners variety that is smaller (3 to 5 feet high) than its sibling Limelight (up to 8 feet). The flowers from this floriferous shrub are long-lasting. Given full sun, this hydrangea variety will reward the gardener with a multitude of blooms, which start out green and fade to pink and burgundy – perfect for autumn arrangements. To make a hydrangea wreath (as shown below), you’ll need a wire wreath frame and florist wire to tie the stems to the frame with. It's a fairly simple and quick process. (To see how it is assembled, click here.)

Go big

Looking for a larger floral display? Consider this combination of Little Lime hydrangea, wheat grass and a vase that looks like tree bark.

One thing I really like about this idea from Proven Winners is that vase really stands out, and it utilizes the different textures of the plant materials. Craft stores and even Amazon have many bark-vase options to choose from.

Another flower that provides an impact are dahlias! Snip dahlia blossoms and bring them indoors before the first frost destroys the flowers. They make gorgeous arrangements on their own or paired with other late-blooming fall flowers, such as mums or berries from ilex or calibrachoa.

Another colorful shrub to consider are the red and yellow berries from various winterberries (ilex). These berries are found on plants now and are long-lasting indoors and outdoors (that is, until the birds find them outside).

If you've had enough of fall and are ready to bring on the holidays, the below combination of Proven Winners Berry Heavy® Gold Ilex verticillata with Polar Gold™ Thuja occidentalis will do the trick.

I love how this arrangement can grace a Thanksgiving table and then be used to usher in the holiday season. This combination could be used in outdoor planters as well.

Now that the ideas are percolating, head outside and see what you can create from your garden. I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below.


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