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The Joy of Fall Gardening: Tips for Senior Apartment Dwellers

Summer is behind us. Sigh. That may lead the unimaginative among us to believe it’s time to throw in the trowel until spring. But for savvy garden aficionados, the bloom is still very much on the gardening rose. Cooler weather can inspire a festival of container gardening, featuring brilliant low-maintenance flowers, foliage, and seasonal vegetables. 

Before you retrieve the gardening gloves from the top of the storage closet, a few reminders:


Good soil is the key to success. For containers, experts suggest an organic material that holds water. If your local garden center carries a soil mix specific to your region, that will help your containers thrive.


Proper drainage helps keep the roots of the plants from rotting. If your container does not have drainage holes, you’ll need to improvise with a thin layer of stone or gravel.

Plant Choices

Your choice of plants must consider whether your containers will be living in sunlight or shade. As you design your pots, think of the rule of three: A taller flower or veggie to catch the eye, a trailing plant or vine to spill over the edge, and medium-sized plants to fill in. So, a thriller, a spiller, and a filler.

Check out this list of some of the best outdoor potted plants for fall and winter and get ready to create your own fall splendor.


These low-growing annuals boast a variety of bright colors and bi-color combinations. Pansies like the sun but will thrive in partial sun. Most stop blooming after a hard frost or heavy snow but will rebloom in the spring.

Ornamental Cabbage and Kale

These look similar to the edible varieties, but they are not for your salad. You will find them in a gorgeous array of whites, purples, turquoise, and pinks. Kale grows more upright with ruffled edges and cabbages are shorter with smoother leaves. Both thrive in cooler temperatures and enjoy a sunny location and moderately moist, rich soil. These hardy plants become even more beautiful with a light frost.


Available in many colors, these flowering perennials require sun but will tolerate light morning shade. They will bloom throughout fall until a hard frost and can survive the winter if properly maintained. Too much water will inhibit flowering.


This trailing evergreen perennial is the perfect choice for the “spilling” element of your pot design. Leaf sizes vary dramatically by variety. The foliage of most varieties lasts year-round. Ivy prefers partial sun to shade.



The perfect cool season crop, carrots take about two months to mature. It’s best to sow them 2-3 weeks before the first frost. They are generally problem-free, easy to grow, and a great addition to your fall salad.


Container gardeners love their low-maintenance, easy-growing radishes. These root veggies actually prefer the cold weather, and they will flourish in the fall.


Beets are the veggie that keeps giving. They are super-fast growers and love the cooler weather. Their high levels of iron, fiber, and vitamins A and C make them both a delicious and healthy choice.


Garlic is the unsung hero of fall gardening, requiring little attention and growing enthusiastically into early winter. One garlic garden will yield all the garlic you’ll need for an entire season.

Leafy Greens

Last, but definitely not least, leafy greens including arugula, green lettuce, kale, spinach, bok choy, and collard greens, are both easy to grow and deliciously rewarding. These cool-season crops will be ready for their first harvest in 20-30 days, especially if you plant fully rooted starter specimens. And yes, these you can add to the salad.

Share your passion for fall gardening with like-minded friends and neighbors at the Overture senior apartment community of your choice.  Fall is the perfect time to plant your new garden – literally and figuratively. Book a tour at an Overture luxury 55+ community today.

Time is of the essence. The seasonal and metaphorical clock is ticking.

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