Creating beautiful container plantings is easy if you understand the concept of using thrillers, fillers, and spillers.
I’m not sure my container plantings are always gorgeous, but they usually turn out pretty nice because years ago I learned to use at least one “thriller”, “filler”, and “spiller” when planting the container.
And if you’ve got room, throw in a “chiller” to make it exciting. I read about the concept long ago, but every year as I’m picking out plants for containers, it seems someone asks how I go about planning a beautiful container planting.
How To Create Beautiful Container Plantings Using Thrillers, Fillers, and Spillers
These photos show a container that’s been planted for a couple of days, and that demonstrates the concept.
The “thriller” in this case is a Spike Dracena. The thriller is always a tall plant which gives the container the visual element of height.
The “fillers” (I used two in this case), are the Diamond Frost Euphorbia and Laguna Sky Blue Lobelia. Fillers should be as wide as they are tall and fill up the width of the container.
The “spiller” here is a Sweet Potato Vine. The spiller always spills over the edge of the container.
And finally, the “chiller” here is Dusty Miller. It’s a “cool” plant that will draw attention to the planting.
This is a young grouping that needs to fill out; however, I think it’ll be quite beautiful once it’s more mature. There are other things to consider when putting together a beautiful container planting (colors, container, soil, site, etc.); but, this is the one thing that most helps me put together successful-looking containers year after year.
For any blooming plants (as opposed to those being used for foliage), it’s also helpful to choose varieties that bloom from “planting to frost”.
|Thriller||Cannas, Cleome, Geranium, Hibiscus, Ornamental Grasses||Astilbe, Coleus, Foxglove|
|Filler||Euphorbia Diamond Frost, Lantana, Lobelia||Begonia, Browallia, Hosta, Impatiens|
|Spiller||Calibrachoa, Petunia, Sweet Potato Vine, Verbena||Coral Bells, Fuschia, Ivy|
|Chiller||Coleus, Dusty Miller, Geranium||Bleeding Heart, Lobelia, Oxalis|
The table above gives some ideas for plants that can be used in the different categories for sun or shade; but, there are hundreds of more possibilities.
That’s part of the fun, it’s really hard to go wrong with the “thriller, filler, spiller, and chiller” concept. At the Proven Winners website, they have hundreds of container planting “recipes” that use this concept to make it even easier. The link for that site is HERE.
Check out beautiful container plantings you see – I bet lots of them are using this concept! For ideas on how to build beautiful garden beds, read 3 Steps For Building Beautiful Garden Borders.