Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Creating Containers {Series}: Thriller Filler Spiller

Spring is the time of year that it seems everyone is ready for planting flowers.  Over the years, I have had neighbors, friends, and social media followers ask me for advice such as which plants to choose, how much to water, how to fertilize, and how to maintain.  I realize that all of this can be very intimidating and time consuming, but I think that everyone should be surrounded by plants and flowers. We have lived in several different homes, and for each one I was able to make it feel like "home" through container gardening and landscaping.

This is going to be a mini blogging series about container gardening and some tips and tricks that I have picked up over the years.  Hopefully this can help inspire you to create your own containers. 

Containers filled with the perfect combination of flowers and plants that complement each other can transform your porch, patio, deck, and flower beds into an oasis.  Knowing what to plant or how to choose the plants can be, and often times is, the hard part.  By now I'm sure you are familiar with the phrase "Thriller Filler Spiller" when it comes to container gardening, but do you know what it means?  In this article, I am going to explain this and also explain how to arrange them in your container.



The plants for your mixed container should have three different characteristics:

1.  Thriller The "Thriller" plant needs to be the tallest plant(s) in your container. 
  • If your container is against a wall or if you cannot see it from all sides, then the taller thriller plant needs to go in the back of the container.
Container in flower bed in which the "thriller" is in the back of the container.
  • If your container can be seen from all sides, then the taller thriller plant needs to be in the center of the container.
Container in flower bed in which the "thriller" cannas are in the center of the container.

2.  Filler  The "Filler" plant(s) are the ones that fill in the height between the thriller and the spiller plants.
  • If your container is against a wall or if you cannot see it from all sides, then the filler plant(s) need to be just in front of your thriller plant surrounding the thriller plant in a semi-circle.
Container at the corner of a walkway in which the "thriller" is in the back of the container and the "filler" surrounds the thriller in a semi-circle.
  • If your container can be seen from all sides, then the filler plant needs to surround the thriller part on all sides (forms a circle around the thriller).
This container on a patio and can be seen from all sides so the filler plants surround the thriller plants on all sides.

3.  Spiller  The "Spiller" plant(s) are the ones that spill over the edge of the container.
  • When planting the spillers in your container, make sure to angle them so that they "spill" over the edge of the container.

  • If your container is against a wall or if you cannot see it from all sides, then the spiller plant(s) need to be in front of your filler plant(s), either just in the front center or forming a semi-circle in front of the filler plant(s).
The spiller plants in this container form a semi-circle around the filler plants.
If your container can be seen from all sides, then the spiller plant(s) can be all the way around the container forming a circle or just one on each side (front, back, sides) of the container.
In this large container that can be seen from all sides, the spiller plants surround the container.

Alternative Mixed Container Combinations (containers that do not have three combinations):
  • Sometimes if your container is smaller or if your plants are big, you can do a combination of only a "thriller" and a "spiller".
The container on the plant stand at the top left of the picture is smaller, so it only has a "thriller" and a "spiller".

The plants in this container are larger, so it has only a "thriller" and a "spiller".
  • There are times when you just want one kind of plant in your container.
The impatiens in this container are stars by themselves.


The geraniums shine here all alone.

Here are more links for other landscaping that I have done:

For more behind the scenes of my life, please follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

If you like what you see, please share or like or pin my post.  Thanks!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please let me know what you think!