It’s fun to get creative with container gardening. As long as plants share the same light and watering requirements, you can combine any number of them to make an attractive container planting. To achieve a harmonious plant arrangement, professionals use the thriller-filler-spiller method of container design.
Basically a pyramid, the three-dimensional design is created by placing a somewhat taller, eye-catching plant—the “thriller”—in the center of the container to give the arrangement height. “Filler” plants are placed around it in a rough circle. Around the outer edge of the planter, plants that have a trailing, vining or drooping nature—the “spiller”—are planted. As the plants mature, the filler flowers will grow to fill in the center of the arrangement and the spillers will cascade over the edge of the container and down toward the ground, anchoring the container to the surrounding landscape.
Use the plant combinations suggested below as inspiration and have fun creating your own container gardens:
- Combine vegetables and herbs for an edible container garden. Use a staked Tomato plant or Dill (Anethum) as a thriller, surrounding it with Sage (Gentian Sage), Chives (Allium), and Basil. Plant Oregano and Parsley around the edge.
- For a patriotic planter, begin with a spike of purple Salvia Farinacea or Agastache (Giant Hyssop) in the center of the pot. Fill with white Iberis (Gibraltar Candytuft) and add a skirt of trailing red Wave Petunias.
- Create a unique arrangement in a large planter by choosing Bromeliad as the thriller, a combination of Caladium and Coleus as the filler, and Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron) as the spiller.
If you choose to go the edible route, you can get more out of your tomatoes by checking out our top tips here.