There is nothing I love better that to see beautiful urns flanking a front door, filled with gorgeous and healthy flowers and plants. But how do people create these stunning containers and KEEP them looking beautiful? Here are a few tips to remember when planning your garden container:

Think Thriller, Filler and Spiller!

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These are code words for the types of plants you use in designing a planter/container. Think of the planter as a movie and the plants in it the cast of characters!

Thriller: Thriller is the star! It is the centerpiece of your planter. It should be the tallest of the plants – Think Big, Bold, Beautiful.

Filler: The Filler is the supporting cast – a usually a flowering plant that compliments the Thriller. It is usually shorter than the Thriller and will stay shorter as it grows.

Spiller: This plant is the comedic relief – provides a bit of mischief for the container, spilling over the sides of the container, softening its edges. It is usually a low-lying plant.

Here is an example of the Thriller, Filler & Spiller Strategy from my front porch:

The Thriller, Filler & Spiller Strategy for Planting Containers, from
The Thriller, Filler & Spiller Strategy for Planting Containers, from

If you follow this strategy, you are well on your way to creating a beautiful planter! Here are some other tips to consider when creating a garden container:

  • Choose plants that have similar watering and sunlight needs.
  • Choose plants that will not crowd and outgrow their pot – Choose plants of similar size expectations (height and width). If you can’t match the sizes, be prepared to have to transfer plants from the pots when they get too big.
  • Potting soil choice is important – use one with moisture control, or you will be watering it non-stop in the summer.
  • If you live in a hot climate, consider adding to the container a small sprinkler device that connects to your sprinkler system. You can find these at places like Lowe’s and Home Depot. (In photo above, you can see the tubing on left side of urn leading up to the mini sprinkler- this is how I keep my plants alive in the Florida heat!)
  • For Large, Heavy Containers – Keep your container light weight by using empty water bottles to take up space in the bottom of the pot, so you don’t have to fill it all with heavy potting soil. This will also allow for better drainage.

Thank you to WTLV-TV’s First Coast Living for inviting me on to talk about this topic!

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