Planter Projects Fall Mums Pumpkin Topiary

pumpkin topiary gardening projects

A few fall mums, some plastic pumpkin pails and a whiskey barrel planter can create a whimsical topiary festive enough for October container gardening. Chrysanthemums (Mums for short) bloom in the summer through the fall and can provide a beautiful harvest-inspired color scheme to a decorative planter.  Many DIY planter projects this season are using plastic pumpkin pail variations on a traditional garden topiary concept.  Here is Southern Patio’s take on this topiary idea using our very own whiskey barrel and beautiful, seasonal mums.

get started

Here’s What You’ll Need to Get Started

– five orange pumpkin pails
– a couple bags of 50 qt. potting mix
– a 4’ garden stake
– Mums in white, yellow and purple
– a drill and a ¾ drill bit

We recommend using our  22.5″ Whiskey Barrel in Rustic Oak sold exclusively at The Home Depot


Gather Your Materials

We started our fun, fall planting project by picking up five orange pumpkin pails from a local retailer. We also went to a local  garden center for a couple bags of 50 qt. potting mix. We picked up a 4’ tall garden stake and mums in white, yellow, and purple that will complement the colors of the orange plastic pumpkins.  For this project, you will also need a ¾ bit to drill holes in the planter and the plastic pumpkins.


Drill a Hole

Find an area where you want your mums pumpkin topiary to sit.  A nice, flat area on the ground will work best.  Mums like spots that receive at least six hours of sunlight a day with well-drained soil.  Since we are building a container garden out of a whiskey barrel, you will need to drill a hole in the bottom of the planter using the ¾ drill bit.  One hole in the middle (about the size of a dime) should provide enough drainage.


Insert Garden Stake

To make sure the stake in the middle of the planter is going withstand windy weather, we also drilled a hole in the ground about 4 inches deep.  Center your whiskey barrel on top of this hole and insert the garden stake to the bottom.  Fill the whiskey barrel with potting soil about ¾ of the way up.


Plant "Highlight" Mum

Plant one of the white mums or a lighter color in the actual planter.  This will provide a nice highlight against the darker color Mums you are going to plant in the pumpkin pails.

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Discard Plastic Handles

Remove the black plastic handles from the pails.  These can be thrown out.  Drill a hole in the bottom center of the plastic pumpkin and one on the top right side.


Place Pumpkin on Stake

Carefully maneuver the plastic pumpkin onto the garden stake so that it runs through the center and side holes.


Scoop Soil into Pumpkin

Scoop some soil into the plastic pumpkin about ¾ of the way up.  We used a red plastic cup, but you can certainly use a small gardening shovel for this.


Cut Plants if Needed

You may find that the bottoms of your mum plants may not fit into the plastic pumpkins.  If this is the case, you can cut around the bottom of the plants with a knife so that they will fit inside the pails.  Here we are just using a pocket knife.


Build the Topiary

Place the mum plants inside the first pumpkin container and prepare your next pail, this time drilling a hole in the bottom and one on the top left side.  Maneuver the pumpkin carefully on the garden stake so that it gently rests on the first pumpkin.  Plant this pumpkin just as you did with the first pumpkin, but with a different Mum color.

Repeat these steps, alternating drilling holes in your pumpkins on either the top left side or the top right side and alternating flower colors until you have plants in all five pumpkins.  When you are finished planting these, fill in any gaps with soil.

To create a cushion for your pumpkin stack, plant Mums behind the bottom pumpkin.  This will create stability.

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Water Mums and Enjoy!

Water your newly planted mums container garden thoroughly.  Give your plants at least an inch of water per week.  If their leaves start to droop, this means they aren’t getting enough water.

Your Fall Mums Pumpkin Topiary will be a perfect topic of conversation this season and a great outside decoration for trick-or-treaters to enjoy. When you disassemble, your whiskey barrel planter will be great to use for another fun outside garden container project!