Container gardening has always provided a low-maintenance way to garden, requiring less watering, weeding and planting than traditional flowerbeds, and autumn’s cooler weather makes caring for pots even easier.


The rich hues and dramatic shapes of decorative cabbage and kale prove their foliage can pack a punch in arrangement that last well into fall. While abrupt cold can kill these plants, light frosts actually intensify their colors.

Garden to do list


Replant outdoor containers with cool weather-loving  plants

›› Cover garden plants with blankets, sheets, cardboard or baskets to protect them from light freezes

›› Remove dead plant debris from annual and vegetable beds following a hard frost

›› Seed your lawn until mid-month. Make sure to keep your seed moist and do not allow new grass to dry out.

›› Apply a three-inch layer of fresh mulch to garden beds in order to protect the roots of recent transplants and newly divided perennials.


›› Fill birdfeeders. Consider purchasing a heater for your birdbath as water is often more important than food in the winter months.

›› Clean, repair and properly store garden tools. Apply a thin coating of oil on steel implements to prevent rust.

›› Open sprinkler valves and drain water from sprinkler systems to prevent freezing by Halloween in Park City, Thanksgiving in the Salt Lake valley and mid-December in St. George

›› Turn off landscape lighting, protecting deciduous shrubs and trees from being tricked into delaying dormancy and being unprepared for cold weather. Lights can be turned back on after all the leaves fall.


›› Start narcissus or amaryllis bulbs in gravel, marbles or soil every other week to result in blooming flowers throughout the winter months

›› Check houseplants for insects by looking under leaves and in leaf axils. Simple pruning and washing with a mild detergent may remedy a problem.

›› Wrap evergreen shrubs with burlap or twine to prevent snow damage.


Select any of these cold-loving plants to prolong the beauty of your outdoor pots. Check the hardiness of each for your growing zone.



Compact, low-growing annual with overlapping petals in a variety of bright colors and bi-color combinations.

Like sun, but do fine in partial shade (get spindly in deep shade); in colder areas, most stop blooming after hard frost or heavy snow; most live through the winter to rebloom in spring.

Ornamental Cabbage and Kale

Look similar to their edible cousins featuring a range of colors—from whites and purples, turquoises to pinks. Kales grow more upright with ruffled edges and cabbages are shorter with smoother leaves.

Thrive with cooler temps, a sunny location and moderately moist, rich soil. Light frosts will intensify their colors.


Flowering perennial available in many colors; mounding bush-like growth.

Require sun, but will tolerate light morning shade. Too much water will stifle flowering; blooms throughout fall until hard frost; will survive through winter if properly maintained.


Trailing evergreen perennial with green leaves; leaf size varies dramatically by variety; also available variegated with white or yellow.

Prefer partial sun to shade; foliage of most varieties lasts year-round, although fare better in warmer areas, solid color varieties winter better in cooler areas than variegated ones.

saint_johns_wort_utah_style_designHypericum (St. John’s Wort)

Perennial and semi-deciduous; available in varieties from creeping to shrub-like; yellow blooms appear in late spring to early summer and turn into brightly colored berries (red, orange, salmon pink, or shiny black).

Require full sun; foliage drops in fall, but berries last from September through winter; in warmer areas, plant is semi-evergreen.

Garden To-Do List Courtesy: Red Butte Gardens