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Thrillers, fillers and spillers

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Thrillers, fillers and spillers

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)

Coleus, Guara, superbells

Coleus, Guara, superbells

The 3 ingredient recipe is Thrillers, fillers and spillers.

Container combo a

Thriller – big, bold and beautiful.  This plant is the tallest and is your main accent.  Could be outstanding foliage, fantastic flowers or both.  btw, you can cut the flowers off of coleus… they don’t really add much!

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.

Container comb b

Below is 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

Don’t be afraid to squish those plants in the container!  Just be sure to leave room for watering.  In other words, don’t place plants all the way to the top of the container.  For my burlap containers I made, I placed a piece of plastic bag on the bottom only to hold a little more moisture.  As you can see, this one is newly planted and has no Tall plant, it’s just simply pretty…  So rules are meant to be broken and guidelines are just that…  to guide.  The rest is up to YOU!  😉  Enjoy!

burlap basket 2014

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2 Responses to “Thrillers, fillers and spillers”

  1. Joe Dague says:

    Well done!

  2. teri says:

    Thank you!!

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