Pumpkins make fun containers for autumn flowers. To decorate your porch or deck for fall, fill a hollowed-out pumpkin with colorful pansies. Pansies thrive in cool weather, so they’ll bloom for a long time. Add floral picks for Halloween accents in electric green, purple, orange, and black, or use interesting twigs from your yard.
After the holiday, remove the picks and enjoy your planter into Thanksgiving. When the pumpkin declines, transplant the flowers into your garden or container.
Image: Ball Horticultural Co.
Turning a pumpkin into a planter is easy, but it’s a little messy. Spread newspaper over your cutting surface for a quick clean-up.
Start by placing the clay or plastic pot you’re going to use upside down over the stem end of the pumpkin. Use a marker or pen to trace all the way around it.
Carefully cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the pot. Scoop out the pumpkin innards, and save the seeds to roast and eat, or toss them out for hungry wildlife.
Also cut one or two small holes in the bottom of the pumpkin, so water can drain when you water the flowers. Letting the water escape will help the pumpkin last longer. You may want to put a saucer under it to catch the excess.
Put the pot into the pumpkin to make sure it’s going to fit snugly. If it’s too big, trim the opening a little more.
If the pot is too small, and drops too far down inside the pumpkin, make it sit higher by placing it on top of some crumpled newspaper or another pot, turned upside down, in the bottom of the pumpkin.
Take the pot back out of the pumpkin and plant the pansies in it. Gently firm the soil around the roots, and water thoroughly to eliminate any air pockets. Put the pot back in the pumpkin, and let the pansy stems trail over the sides. Add floral picks or other decorations, if desired.
Keep the pansies deadheaded to encourage more blooms, and water regularly. When the pumpkin is finished, transplant the flowers to your garden or another container.
If you’d prefer, skip the pot, and plant your flowers directly in the pumpkin. The basic steps are the same: remove the pumpkin top, clean out the insides, and make a drainage hole in the bottom. Put a coffee filter over the hole to keep the soil from coming out when you water. Put some potting soil in the pumpkin and add the pansies, gently firming the soil around their roots, and water to eliminate air pockets. When the pumpkin is finished, transplant the flowers to your garden or another container, and compost it.
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