The air is getting crisper, the nights longer, but there is still plenty of planting joy to be had in your garden or green space this autumn.
Autumn is the perfect time to plant almost anything, from hardy plants to evergreens—the cooler, more constant temperatures help plants grow new roots much better. To help spark your planting inspiration, we have created 3 easy to achieve autumn living wall displays that will stay green long after the rest of your garden has shed its leaves.
For those wanting to swap in a few plants into an existing display, we have included a list of top 10 autumn plants to choose from. Happy planting!
Autumn is the time of year when gardens tend to quieten down, which is why this first living wall display shouts shape, volume and colour.
We have packed a shedload of plants—grass-like sedges, trailing plants, focal point flowers, you name it—to create a display that can be tweaked according to taste and will pack as much nature as possible into your space, no matter its size.
Various varieties of Carex are used to achieve the plumy firework tails of green, while longer-limbed evergreen plants like lonerica, hedra and cyrtomium further diversify the palette of leaf shapes. Heucheras are used sparingly to add splashes of purple and crimson—what we like to think of as the cold cheeks of the display!
If you are desperate for some colour this autumn and want a quick, no-nonsense planting up stage, then not only do we have the living wall for you, but you might be surprised to learn that you can achieve this living wall with just one plant. (That’s right, one!)
Heucheras come in a variety of colours—over several hundred, all wonderfully named (see below)—so you have plenty to choose from. Simply pick those you like best!
Able to withstand inclement weather, heucheras are near-enough evergreen, meaning the foliage will add colour to every season, not just autumn.
More reasons to love heucheras:
Some like to call autumn ‘fall’, but these leaves won’t drop—though jaws will! Using evergreen and near-evergreen plants, this living wall display is achieved by balancing a bit of everything.
The leaves of the heucheras create palettes of subtle colour that contrasts nicely with ferns like polystichum. Carex and lonicera are used sparingly—this is definitely a case of less is more—to give slimmer, longer shapes and areas of volume and varied height. Plants like hedra, asplenium and bergenia further fill out the spaces with striking shapes and textures.
Asplenium is a short, compact fern with leaves that resemble long green tongues. When planted as part of a mixed-display, the leaves splay out in vibrant starbursts. When planted vertically in groups, the leaves create interest with a unique textured effect.
With a name like Elephant’s ears you know this plant will make a big impression: ‘Purpurea’ has round, leathery leaves and stand-out clusters of white or pink bell-shaped flowers. The stem (or, as we like to think, “trunk”) of the flowers can grow 50cm in height and are perennial. The evergreen leaves will continue to add colour throughout autumn. Berginia loves the sun as much as it does the shade, and works equally well in south-facing gardens as it does north-facing gardens.
These grass-like sedges will give a vibrant, voluminous look to any autumn display by spilling over the sides of the PlantBox to create a stylish waterfall effect. Carex thrives in partial shade and full sun, and is a favourite among autumn gardeners: It is easy to grow, low-maintenance and drought-resistant. Fun Fact: the study of Carex is known as caricology and there are over 2,000 species!
These evergreen shrubs will provide not just autumn but year-round colour, offering a bright beryl green and bold gold respectively. Euonymus offers multiple planting options: You can let it trail over the sides of the PlantBox, keep it well pruned, or allow it to climb if planted against a wall—this last option is ideal if you want your display to really take over your garden! It also makes a good foil to more ornamental flowers.
Heucheras are near-enough evergreen and have large leaves that are perfect for adding that much-needed splash of colour to any autumn display. The options are almost endless, from subtle blushes to big, bold blooms. They are great for butterflies, offering a vital out-of-season supply of pollen during the autumn.
‘Big blue’ will add a beautiful focal point to your living wall when flowering (Aug to Nov), especially when other flowers are starting to fade. The blade-like leaves stay green throughout the rest of the year. It is the perfect contrast to larger-leaved plants and is super hardy, so you don’t have to worry about winter!
Lonicera ‘May Green’ can spread to create great swathes of greenery and give a natural, rugged look—perfect if you are wanting a gorgeous green backdrop. This can be complemented with additional colour, other green-leafed plants, a mixture of the two, or left by itself.
Here is a hardy plant that loves to soak up the shade (partial or full). The evergreen leaves’ cream margins help them to stand out without ever threatening to steal the show.
This is a truly hardy evergreen fern that provides interest and texture to your living wall all year round. Polystichum is ideal for those who love a low-maintenance plant. Once planted, it can thrive without much attention.
Winter heather is a great choice if you want to welcome the autumn light with some new autumn colour of your own. The purple blaze gives bees and other pollinators a late-season supply of nectar, which is virtual during the autumn as most other plants have stopped flowering.
We understand that traditional planting isn’t always practical. That’s where PlantBox comes in: The stackable, eco-friendly vertical garden that packs large amounts of plants into even the smallest of spaces.
PlantBox makes caring for your vertical garden easy—go weeks between watering and know exactly when and how much to top up—and helps plants to thrive, whether in a sunless, plant-stripping north-facing garden or the desert-like conditions of a south-facing garden.
A RHS Chelsea Sustainable Garden Product of the Year 2021 Finalist, PlantBox is made from 100% recycled materials and is designed to best fit your home. PlantBox is ideal for balconies, roof gardens, courtyards, conservatories and is even suitable indoors. 1% of PlantBox sales is pledged to 1% For The Planet, a global organisation that supports non-profits who are tackling our most pressing environmental issues, so you are transforming more than your own space. Join the growing revolution for a greener future! Find out more.