Welcome fall with plants, decorations at doorstep

Welcome fall with an inviting entry. Set the stage for the new season with containers of flowers and foliage for a warm reception at your front door. Nurseries are packed with pots and plants to decorate our doorsteps.

Pick a pot: Containers come in all shapes and sizes, from elegant urns to rustic troughs to long toms for vertical impact. They may be made of terra-cotta, stone, metal, wood, concrete or fiberglass.

Choose pots to complement your home’s style. Scale matters: Select the appropriate-size pot for the space. A common mistake is to go too small.

Pots can be heavy, so place them before planting. Frame your door with a pair of large containers to make a symmetrical statement. Or group containers for greater impact. A group of three to five similar-style pots in varying sizes is pleasing.

The color palette: There's no shortage of plants that celebrate fall's traditional colors of plum, purple, gold, bronze, red, orange and yellow. Overwhelmed with choices? Go monochromatic or stick to two or three colors. A simple approach: Plant one variety per pot, and group the pots. Or plant a harmonious, one-color container whose plants have varying leaf shapes.

Shapely subjects: The best-size plants balance a container creation; form and texture provide a polished look. Taller spiky or fountainlike types to give containers a vertical lift include butterfly iris, yucca, cordyline, daniella, ornamental grasses and russelia. For medium- to full-bodied bloomers, consider asters, geraniums, begonias, petunias, million bells, snapdragons, straw flowers, calendulas, osteospermums and ornamental peppers.

Culture: Choose plants with similar light and moisture needs. Use a well-draining potting mix, and add a time-release fertilizer.

Finishing touch: Tuck a few pumpkins and gourds among your pots.