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Thrillers, Fillers, and Spillers!

May 3, 2013

Container Gardening just got easier for the folks like me who need a formula for putting together a winning combination!

To keep it simple, garden design expert, Steve Silk, has put together a formula with three plant types that make a no fail gorgeous container garden!  You just need a “thriller, spiller, and filler”… I’ll define each and then give you a list of examples of plants for each type as well.  Then I’ll finish up with some great photos of this concept.  And if you’re like me, you can take this post right to the garden center with you and create something more amazing than you ever have before!  I know I’m going to!!  Or I may do it with seeds and really be cheap!!

Thrillers are plants with star quality.  They will be the height in your pot and might be thin and stalky, but will rise above the rest of the pot and really stand out.  Choose this one first as the rest of the pot will be balanced against it.  It might be a flower or just architectural.  Plant this one in the center of the pot if it will be viewed from all sides, or in the back if the pot has a front.  Some examples are: Salvia ‘Golden Delicious,’ Kong series Coleus, Draceana ‘Red Star’ and  Dragon Wing Red Begonia, Agaves, Bananas, Cannas, Purple Fountain Grass, Taros.

Fillers are the plants that will fill in anything that grows straight up.  It will be a mound of flowers around the base of your thriller.  They can be foliage or flowering plants, but they will be the chorus and not the center attraction.  Whatever the elements of the thriller are, this plant should complement it with color and/or texture.  Examples are:  Plectranthrus ‘Troy’s Gold’, Lantana, Alternathera,  and Impatiens ‘Sonic Paste’, Begonias, Dusty Millers, Persian Shield, Angelonia, Cupheas, Fairy fan-flower, Heliotropes, Pentas, Trailing Petunias

Spillers are obviously the plants that spill out over the rim of the pot making the arrangement drip with drama.  They soften the edges of the container and tie the design elements together.  Ground covers are great options here.  Some examples are:  Ipomoea Marguarita, Vinca ‘Illumination’, Bacopa ‘Giant White’, and Verbena Lanai series, Alternantheras, Golden Creeping Jenny, Nasturtiums, Sweet potato vines


The UNgardener

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