Container Inspiration | Autumn Bulbs in Terracotta with Rich Reds

Autumn is the best season to plant many spring-flowering bulbs. If you are planting them in pots and containers, by adding complementary seasonal plants on top you can easily create a beautiful garden feature that will bring colour and interest all through autumn and winter. The bulbs will simply burst their way through the top come spring. For a classic look, try a terracotta pot filled with vibrant shade plants, including rich reds. As plant selection is always subject to availability, we recommend some equally attractive alternatives below.

Get the Look

1. Terracotta Plant Pot Woodlodge Duxton ‘Aladdin’ (pictured) from £6.99 for a 21cm width pot. Available in five sizes. Terracotta pots are a classic, hard-wearing choice that can suit all styles of home and garden. The Woodlodge Duxton ‘Aladdin’ (pictured) is fired at high temperatures in bottle kilns to produce a high-quality, frost-proof product. 

2. Tulipa Princess Irene and Tulip Lambada Bulbs. Tulips from £3.99 per pack In vivid shades of red and orange, these two tulip varieties will set your spring garden alight. Don’t plant tulip bulbs too early – wait until late October to November once the cold weather has set in to help wipe out any risk of disease. Recommended alternatives: any rich shade of Tulip, e.g ‘Red Riding Hood’, Greigii mixed colours. 

3. Heuchera ‘Cherry Cola’ Heucheras £9.99 for a 2-Litre plant A showy perennial that forms a mound of vivid red-maroon leaves that provide colour all through winter. Recommended alternatives: burgundy or red Heucheras and Heucherellas, e.g. Heuchera ‘Berry Smoothie’, Heuchera ‘Blackberry Jam’, Heucherella ‘Sweet Tea.’ 

4. Uncinia rubra (Red hook sedge) £2.99 each or 4 for £10; pot size 11cm  An evergreen perennial with glossy reddish-brown leaves in attractive tufts. Recommended alternatives: deep shade grasses, e.g. Panicum virgatum, Uncinia egmontiana. 

5. Dryopteris erythrosora £2.99 each or 4 for £10; pot size 9cm  A semi-evergreen fern that brings great structural interest to your container planting with its fronds. Leaves can be russet-red underneath. Recommended alternatives: a wide range of ferns can be used, e.g. Cheilanthes lanosa, Dryopteris ‘Cristata’, Onoclea sensibilis. 

6. Succulents £2.49 or 5 for £10; pot size 9cm  The rising star of the modern garden, there are so many situations where succulents can bring interest and character to pots and containers. Choose varieties with a red-purple tint to their leaves to complement other rich shades here. Recommended alternatives: any variety of Succulent or Cacti can be used. 

7. Violas Six-pack for £3.99 or 3 for £10 Violas and pansies are the backbone of autumn-winter garden colour. Often used as bedding plants, they are equally handy to brighten up your pots and containers. A bright yellow will really give your planting mix here a lift. Recommended alternatives: Pansies or Bellis will be equally attractive here.

Don’t Forget!

When planting bulbs in pots, we recommend using Hillier Multi-Purpose Compost. This is a good, open-structured compost that will encourage strong root development. It is also important to incorporate fertiliser at the time of planting – we recommend the controlled release fertiliser Osmocote. To encourage regeneration of bulbs for future years, we also recommend adding Bulb Starter during planting. Water containers regularly, even in autumn-winter months, as sufficient rainwater may not reach below the leaves of your plants. 

>> Download our bulb planting factsheet here

Visit your local Hillier Garden Centre for more ideas and inspiration and for everything you need to create your container.