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Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers

You’ve likely heard this term before if you’ve wondered how to plant containers.  When planting containers, it’s a good idea to use bigger pots so the plants have more soil to grow in and you have a “tad” less watering as they’ll stay a little moister.  But you want to create an eye-popper.  Below are some very simple rules to follow.

The above container utilizes several plants with the Thriller being the tall corn millet.  With it’s purple color, I used 2 white with purple eye Osteospermum (filler) along with 2 Oxalis aka purple shamrock (filler) and a purple Osteospermum (filler).  I also have 3 ivies that you can’t see in here (the spillers)

The 3 ingredient recipe is Thrillers, fillers and spillers.  As you can see in the above container, the Thriller is the tall grass, the fillers are the petunias and diascia to compliment the Thriller and the spillers are vines and ivies that will spill over your container.

Thriller – big, bold and beautiful.  This plant is the tallest and is your main accent.  Could be outstanding foliage, fantastic flowers or both

Filler – complimentary to your thriller, these plants are generally smaller flowers that can be monochromatic or contrasting flowers.

Spiller – the trailing plants that tumble over your container to soften it.  Great trailers include sweet potato vines, vincas and ivies.

Here’s a recipe I created for a 14 inch pot at Wagners Greenhouse in Minneapolis.  (unfortunately I didn’t get a photo)

  • 1 Purple Millet
  • 2 orange (purple eye) Osteospermum
  • 1 purple Osteospermum
  • 1 purple sweet potato vine
  • 1 swedish ivy
  • 1 lamium (a perennial you can plant in the fall) ‘White Nancy’

Choose plants with the same cultural requirements.

Container combo 2

Spike, ivy, Kong coleus, sweet potato vine, impatiens

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