Easy Three Ingredient Beautiful Container Planting Recipe | Gemmell's Garden Centre

Posted in Spring Gardening

Every spring the challenge of coming up with fabulous containers is a challenge for many gardeners. If you want to be the envy of your neighbourhood this season then here is an easy three-ingredient recipe to follow when headed to the garden centre to choose your plants.  

Beautiful Container Planting Recipe: Thriller, Filler, Spiller

This simple plant recipe planted in a good rich potting mix that contains a slow release fertilizer will guarantee success with your container plantings. To maintain the health and ensure constant blooms all summer long, it is extremely important to fertilize all annual container plantings with a water soluble fertilizer ever third watering. Annuals are the work horses of all plants because they are produce blooms continuously so keep them well fed. If extreme heat and constant drying out is an issue then consider adding water holding crystals to your container before planting. These super stars absorb water and expand then release the water back in to the soil to keep plants evenly moist.


The first and most important ingredient is called the “THRILLER,” a centerpiece plant with star quality, something big, bold, and beautiful. As the name implies, thrillers are the big, attention-getting plants. They are usually tall, upright plants, with outstanding qualities, such as colorful foliage, intriguing shape, or dramatic flowers that will last all season long.  Thrillers are also the starting point in a container design, select your thriller, then build around it. At planting time, the thriller either goes in the center of a pot that will be viewed from all sides or at the back of a pot that will be displayed in a corner or against a wall. Great examples of thrillers are African Sunset Cannas, Red Riding Hood Pennisetum, Alocasias, or Cordyline Red Star.


Then mix with this, a few spicy “FILLERS,” which are either foliage or flowering plants that will compliment but not overwhelm your main player. Since fillers are usually plants with a mounded silhouette, they also do just what the name implies: they fill up the planter while embracing the thriller. These plants are often billowy, more finely textured plants that surround and weave through the thriller while adding mass to the overall composition. A few examples of filler plants are Begonias, Coleus, Petunias, Lantana, Heliotrope, Nemesia, or Diamond Frost Euphorbia.


Finally, add a savory splash of flavour with a “SPILLER” that will tumble over the side of the pot. These plants really anchor the planter. The main role of a spiller is to sprawl over the side of the container, softening its edges and tumbling toward the ground. Well chosen spillers help pull together the thriller and fillers so be sure to choose plants that either echo the colour for a monochromatic feel or contrast with the other plants in shape, colour or texture for a more dramatic effect. Some of the most popular spillers are Sweet Potato Vines, Bacopa, Lobelia, Silver Licorice Vine or Creeping Jenny.

As long as you use these basic concepts in any planting arrangement, taking care to balance colours and textures that compliments each other then you can easily create a beautiful planter with pizzazz every time. Drop in to your local garden centre for help in choosing the best plants for your container this spring!

Gemmell's Garden Centre

P.S. If you are more of a hands on learner, join us at our Spring Urn Insert Gardening Workshop this April, and add a splash of colour to your front step or balcony this Spring.


Easy Three Ingredient Beautiful Container Planting Recipe

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