I’m not sure my container plantings are always gorgeous, but they usually turn out pretty nice due to one trick I learned years ago – 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.
These photo shows a container that was planted a couple of days ago, 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 “filler(s)” (I used two in this case), are the Diamond Frost Euphorbia and Laguna Sky Blue Lobelia, – filler(s) should be as wide as they are tall and fill up the width of the container. The “spiller” here is a potato vine – the spiller always spills over the edge of the container. And finally the “chiller” here is the 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 contaners 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, Browalia, Hosta, Impatien|
|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 more possibilities. That’s part of the fun, it’s really hard to go wrong with the “thriller, filler, spiller, and chiller” concept. And, this is the time of year that garden centers and nurseries put their annuals on sale, so it’s a great time to try new combinations – I love using sale plants to liven up our deck and patio. Check out beautiful container plantings you see – I bet lots of them are using this concept.