Planting a Flower Pot: 3 Tips for Starting a Flower Container Garden

Flower pot on a wall

Are you planning on planting a flower pot?

When starting a container garden, it can sometimes be difficult to bring your vision to life. With so many plant varieties, colors, and designs at your disposal, where do you start?

We put together this post in order to make this decision easier. Read on to learn about 3 keys to planting a striking flower pot.

3 Things to Consider When Planting a Flower Pot

To simplify your decision-making, you can break down your flower pot’s needs into three categories: thrillers, fillers, and spillers.

These aren’t names of varieties — just general themes of plants you can keep in mind when making combinations. For example, thrillers can include anything from ornamental grasses to tomato plants.

We’ll go through each of these three keys to a perfect flower pot and provide examples of plants you can use for each.

Thrillers: The star of the show

The first is the thriller. Thriller plants will be the centerpiece of attention so you’ll want the plant to be beautiful and tall.

This plant will give your flower pot height and will be the attention-getter. Thrillers help attract attention to your stunning flower pot.

So, what kind of plants fall in this category?

Really, any plant that will provide a vertical element to the pot will do fine. Ideally, you’ll want the plant to be about twice the height of the flower pot, but this will vary depending on the size of the pot.

Thrillers can be both flowering and non-flowering plants. Depending on the style of your flower pot, you may want to accent your thriller plant with the flower pot and the other plants you are growing in the pot.

Examples of Thrillers

Some popular thriller plants are ornamental grasses, canna lilies, elephant ears, spikes, or even vegetable plants that have some height (they’ll often need something to climb up).

Where to plant Thrillers in the flower pot

Thrillers are best planted someplace central in the pot.

If this is a pot you are placing in front of a wall and will only be seen from 3 directions, you’ll want to plant the Thriller plant at the back center of the pot.

If you are placing the flower pot in a place where it will be looked at from all directions, you’ll want to plant the Thriller plant in the center of the pot.

Fillers: Adding the volume to your flower pot

Fillers will provide the full look you are looking for.

Choose a flower or plant that will mound and spread a little bit. The stronger the shape of the plant, the better it’ll compliment the rest of the plants in the flower pot.

Again, you’ll want to make sure that its colors, flowers, or leaf texture go well with the other plants in your pot.

Plants that fall under the Fillers category

When choosing your filler plants, find plants that will weave among the rest of the plants in the pot without overwhelming them. These plants will add mass to your pot, but you also don’t want them to suffocate the other plants.

You can choose plants with just foliage or with some flowers, just make sure the plants won’t grow to be too large or they’ll compete with the thrillers.

You can always plant multiple types of plants as your fillers — feel free to mix them up to add some accents and style to your flower pot.

Examples of Fillers

Some popular Filler plants include:

Many of these plants grow great with other plants. View complimentary plants for flowers like New Guinea impatiens.

You can always ask your local garden center or greenhouse for suggestions or recommendations on fillers for your pot.

Some fillers may take up an entire pot. Vigorous growing annuals, like Supertunias or wave petunias, can be planted alone and their impressive flowers will likely be more than enough to add beauty to your pot.

Where to plant Fillers in the flower pot

Fillers should be planted around the thriller plant(s).

If the pot will be seen from only 3 directions (like when its up against a wall), plant your filler plants in a U or V shape around the Thriller plant.

If the pot is seen from all sides, simply plant your fillers in a circle around the thriller plant(s).

Spillers: Cascading vines

Spillers are the trailing plants that will cascade over the edge of the flower pot. These plants will add an accent and may even disguise your flower pot with thick growth.

Some gardeners consider these an essential component of a great flower pot as they “root” the plants into the ground; meaning they make the arrangement look more natural by drooping their vines down to the ground level.

Spillers will also “soften the edges” of your flower pot, making the entire flower pot look more complimentary.

Plants that fall in the Spillers category

You’ll want to choose plants that tumble out of the flower pot, so really any plant that spreads is a great fit. No need to choose plants with any height, as the goal here is to drape them over the edge of the flower pot.

Examples of Spillers

Some examples of Spillers include:

Where to plant Spillers in the flower pot

Again, where you plant Spillers will vary based on if the pot will be seen from all directions or if it’ll be up against a wall. For all directions, plant Spillers along the edge of the pot. If the pot will only be seen from 3 sides, plant 1-3 Spillers on the edges of the pot.

Other things to consider

There is plenty of variables to consider other than thrillers, fillers, and spillers. The plants you choose will often be dependent on factors such as:

  • How large the pot is
  • What type of style/color does the pot have
  • Where it will be placed
  • The light and water requirements of each plant being planted in the pot

Looking for inspiration? Here are some container gardening recipe ideas.

Wrapping up: 3 factors for the perfect flower pot

In conclusion, you’ll want to be sure to keep in mind thrillers, fillers, and spillers the next time you are planning your flower pot arrangement. Then you will be well-equipped to plant a flower pot yourself.

Fortunately, you have many options for any of these three types of plant categories, so feel free to explore or ask your local garden center for advice.