The other day I ran into Don and Lynnea in the hallway here at Horizon House. They want to plant a few new plants, in pots, on their balcony and requested a bit of advice. I told them I would do a blog about that. I have found that if someone asks a question, there are others thinking of it as well.
When planting in pots, try to remember “Thriller, Filler and Spiller”. It will help you set up an attractive planter.
The Thriller is something tall and flashy. Usually they are placed in the back , if viewed from one side; or in the center of the planting, if you will see it from all sides. They can be flowering plants, have attractive foliage or maybe be tall grasses.
The Filler is something that is neither tall, nor a ground cover, but rather something that will fill in the center area with color or nice leaves. They often grow in a rounded manner so they literally fill the center space. If your thriller is in the back, place your filler between that and where you will put your spiller. If the thriller is in the middle, surround it with the filler. Remember to leave room to plant your spillers!
The Spiller is just what it says. It is something that will spill over the edge of the container, drawing your eye from top to bottom in a graceful way. Remember again if your thriller is in the back, the spiller should be between the filler and the edge of the pot, so it “spills” over the edge. If your thriller is in the middle, have a number of spillers all the way around.
Also remember, depending on the size of your pot or container, you can have either 3 plants, or many. Although generally the Thriller will just be one dramatic plant! They tend to be larger, so one is often enough. Let your taste prevail!!!!!
You can also use different pots to provide a different spot for one or two of those categories. One has the thriller, with spillers; another pot with fillers and spillers; etc. Be creative!
What are some plants that might be appropriate for your container? When you go to the nursery, just tell them you are looking for “Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers” for your container. They will know EXACTLY what you mean. (A big box store may not…) They can help you by showing you what will work in your particular planter, in your particular climate, with exactly the colors you’re looking for. That is what they are there for. Most of them are very knowledgeable. Don’t be afraid to ask! They will enjoy showing you what they have to offer.
I could give you lists of some plants, but I think that’s limiting. Go to the nursery and enjoy a few hours there. Talk with the staff. Look at the plants that are available and get a real sense for what they will do for you and YOUR pot. Then ENJOY!