To create a well-rounded, appealing container garden that stands out, utilize the “thrillers, spillers, and fillers” plant selection technique.

container with flowers

Thrillers are usually a taller plant that is the focal point of the pot. It is the boldest and most exciting part of the group. Interesting flowers and colorful foliage are a couple of things to look for in a thriller. It is the backbone of the pot, so pick something that has strong visual impact. If your pot will be viewed from all sides, place your thriller in the center of the pot. If your pot will be placed in a corner or against a wall, place your thriller towards the back of the arrangement.

Fillers are used for volume to fill out the container. Without them, the container looks bare and unfinished. They should have complimentary flowers to your thriller. You can even experiment with contrasting color foliage from your thriller. A spiky leaf thriller goes nicely with a rounded leaf filler and vice versa. Either way, this should fill out the pot and not grow taller than your thriller. This selection should be planted around your thriller so it will fill up the base of the pot.

Spillers are the anchor to your pot. They spill over the pot giving the container a look of life and abundance. The main point of the spiller is to soften the edges of the pot as it spills over the edge and trails to the ground. Again, a spiller should compliment the thriller and filler in color, but can contrast with foliage textures as well. These should be planted on the edge of the pot to allow them to spill over.

Thrillers for Sun
Angelonia
Banana
Cannas
Celosia
Cleome
Cordyline
Cosmos
Coleus (big leaf)
Dahlia
Datura
Dracaena
Dusty Miller
Elephant Ear
Evergreen shrub
Geraniums
Grasses Ornamental
Lavatera
Millet
New Zealand Flax
Nicontiana
Osteospermum
Papyrus (king Tut )
Purple fountain grass
Rudbeckia
Salvia
Snapdragon

Thrillers for Shade
Caladium
Big Leaf Coleus
Brunnera
Cordyline
Dracaena
Ferns
Fuchsia
Geraniums
Hosta
Huechera
Impatiens
New Guinea Impatiens

Fillers for Sun
Ageratum
Alyssum
Begonia
Calendula
Celosia
Chrysanthemum
Dianthus
Dusty Miller
Euphorbia
Felicia
Gazania
Gerbera
Lantana
Marigolds
Nemesia
Osteospermum
Phlox
Portulaca
Salvia
Sedum
Straw flower
Verbena
Zinnia

Fillers for Shade
Asparagus fern
Begonia
Browallia
Coleus
Diascia
Dusty Miller
Euphorbia
Heuchera
Impatiens
Lamiastrum
Lamium
Mimulus
Oxalis
Pansy
Primula
Rex Begonia
Streptocarpella
Tradescantia
Torenia
Viola

Spillers for Sun
Anagallis
Bacopa
Bidens
Brachycome Swan River Daisy)
Calibrachoa (Million Bells)
Campanula isophylla
Chenile
Diascia
Gazania (trailing)
Helichrysum
Heliotrope
Ivy Geranium
Lotus Vine
Lobelia
Nasturtium
Petunia
Portulaca
Potato Vine
Sanvitalia
Scaevola
Supertunia
Verbena
Vinca Vine

Spillers for Shade
Bacopa
Begonia, tuberous
Calibrachoa (Million Bells)
Diascia
Fuchsia
Lamium
Lysimachia (Creeping Jenny)
Ipomea
Ivy
Lobelia
Potato Vine
Swedish Ivy
Torenia
Tradescantia (Wondering Jew)
Vinca Vine