ISSUE 94  |  October Moon

Design Sleuth: Spooky Planters for Halloween

October 16, 2013 5:00 PM

BY Erin Boyle

Spotted: A brewing witch’s cauldron of a planter in Brooklyn. Festive neighbors filled their typically staid black planters with combinations of plants that look positively spooky for Halloween. Filled with orange, purple, and green, these are planters that even Glinda the Good Witch could approve of: they’re spooky and stylish.

Above: Wispy grasses and bright orange bittersweet offer a sophisticated antidote to the polyester cobwebs and pumpkins that have taken over other stoops in the neighborhood.

Above: Sticking up like so many feathery wands, fronds of Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris); $14.95 for a 4-inch pot from Park Seeds. Photograph by Marie Coleman via Flickr.

Above: Peeping over the edge of the planter, violas! If you can find them for sale at nurseries near you, cold-hardy violas will last until frost. Look for Viola Black Magic (currently sold out at White Flower Farm) for an almost-black look, or choose a lighter variety like Viola Blue Moon.

Above: Best found foraged; Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) lends twisting vines of classic autumn color to the containers; it’s also available for $4 from Direct Gardening. Photograph by Per Verdonk via Flickr.

Above: Modern black window boxes expand the witchy look.

Above: There’s no mistaking the otherworldly Purple Beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma); $25 from Pernell Gerver. Photograph by Peacock Modern via Flickr.

Above: In the back of the planters, tall purple spikes look like they could be Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum); $5.95 from the Growers Exchange. Photograph by Mwms1916 via Flickr.

Above: Spilling out of the side of the window box like Frankenstein’s lost wig, Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Fubuki’); $9.99 at Hirt’s Garden. The acorn branches look to us like Holm oak (Quercus ilex) branches stripped of their leaves. As with the bittersweet, rooting around in your yard for fallen oak branches might be the best way to get hold of those. 

Getting in the spirit? See 10 Easy Pieces: Best Pumpkins to Plant for Next Halloween.

Want something less witchy for fall? Consider Ornamental Kale.