Planting a Flower Pot: 3 Tips for Starting a Flower Container Garden

Flower pot on a wall

Planting a flower pot? When starting a container garden, it is easy to get some creative block — with so many plant varieties, colors and designs at your disposal, where do you start? We put together this post in order to make this decision easier. Read on to learn about 3 keys to planting a striking flower pot.

3 Things to Consider When Planting a Flower Pot

To simplify you decision-making, you can break down your flower pot’s needs into three categories: thrillers, fillers and spillers.

These aren’t names of varieties, but names of general requirements for the plants in your flower pots. For example, thrillers can include anything from ornamental grasses to tomato plants.

We’ll go through each of these three keys to a perfect flower pot and provide examples for plants you can use for each.

Thrillers: The star of the show

First, is the thriller! Thriller plants will be the centerpiece of attention so you’ll want the plant to be beautiful and tall.

This plant will give your flower pot height and will be the attention-getter. Typically, our eyes aren’t drawn to the ground, so thrillers help attract attention to your stunning flower pot.

So, what kind of plants fall in this category?

Really, a plant that will provide a vertical element to the pot. Its preferable for the plant to be about twice the height of the flower pot, so the exact height will vary according to the pot you choose.

Thrillers can be both flowering or non-flowering plants. Depending on the style of your flower pot, you may want to accent your Thriller plant with the flower pot and the other plants you are growing in the pot .

Examples of Thrillers

Some popular thriller plants are ornamental grasses, canna lilies, elephant ears, spikes, or even vegetable plants that have some height (they’ll often need something to climb up.

Where to plant Thrillers in the flower pot

Thrillers are best planted someplace central in the pot.

If this is a pot you are placing in front of a wall and will only be seen from 3 directions, you’ll want to plant the Thriller plant at the back of the pot, in the center.

If you are placing the flower pot at a place where it will be looked at from all directions, you’ll want to plant the Thriller plant in the center of the pot.

Fillers: Adding the volume to your flower pot

Fillers will provide the full look you are looking for.

Choose a flower or plant that will mound and spread a little bit. The stronger the shape of the plant, the better it’ll compliment the rest of the plants in the flower pot.

Again, you’ll want to make sure that its colors, flowering or leaf texture goes well with the other plants in your pot.

Plants that fall in the Fillers category

When choosing your Fillers plants, find plants that will weave among the rest of the plants in the pot without overwhelming them. These plants will add mass to your pot, but you also don’t want them to suffocate the other plants.

You can choose plants with just foliage or with some flowers, just make sure the plants won’t grow to be too large or they’ll compete with the Thrillers.

You can always plant multiples types of plants as your Fillers — feel free to mix it up to add some accents and style to your flower pot!

Examples of Fillers

Some popular Filler plants include:

Many of these plants grow great with other plants. View complimentary plants for flowers like New Guinea impatiens.

You can always ask your local garden center or greenhouse for suggestions or recommendations on Fillers for your pot.

Some fillers may take up an entire pot. Vigorous growing annuals, like Supertunias or wave petunias, can be planted alone and their impressive flowers will likely be more than enough to add beauty with your pot.

Where to plant Fillers in the flower pot

Fillers should be planted around the Thriller plant(s).

If the pot will be seen from only 3 directions (like when its up against a wall), plant your Filler plants in a U or V shape around the Thriller plant.

If the pot is seen from all sides, simply plant your Fillers in a circle around the Thriller plant(s).

Spillers: Cascading vines

Spillers are the trailing plants that will cascade over the edge of the flower pot. These plants will add accent and may even disguise your flower pot with thick growth.

Some gardeners consider these an essential component of a great flower pot as they “root” the plants into the ground; meaning they make the arrangement look more natural by drooping their vines down to the ground level.

Spillers will also “soften the edges” of your flower pot, making the entire flower pot look more complimentary.

Plants that fall in the Spillers category

You’ll want to choose plants that tumble out of the flower pot, so really any plant that spreads is a great fit! No need to choose plants with any height, as the goal here is to drape over the edge of the flower pot.

Examples of Spillers

Some examples of Spillers include:

  • Sweet Potato Vine
  • Vinca Vine
  • Ivy
  • Wave Petunias
  • Calibrachoa (sometimes referred to as Million Bells)
  • Bacopa

Where to plant Spillers in the flower pot

Again, where you plant Spillers will vary based on if the pot will be seen from all directions or if it’ll be up against a wall. For all directions, plant Spillers along the edge of the pot, all the way around. If the pot will only be seen from 3 sides, plant 1-3 Spillers on the edge of the pot.

Other things to consider

There are plenty of variable to consider other than Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers. The plants you choose will often be dependent on factors such as:

  • How large the pot is
  • What type of style/color the pot has
  • Where it will be placed
  • The light and water requirements of each plant being planted in the pot

Looking for inspiration? Here’s some container gardening recipe ideas.

Conclusion: 3 factors for the perfect flower pot

In conclusion, you’ll want to be sure to keep in mind Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers the next time you are planning your flower pot arrangement. Then you will be well-equipped to plant a flower pot yourself.

Fortunately, you have many options for any of these three types of plant categories, so feel free to explore or ask your local garden center for advice.

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