Create a knockout container

Designing containers doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’re looking for an easy way to put together amazing looks every time, simply remember three rhyming words: thriller, filler and spiller. Let’s define each:

Upright, tall-growing plants with striking shapes are thrillers. Just like the vibrant pineapple lily in this group, they add interest and excitement.

Fillers have more rounded, mounding habits that work to fill in the height gap between thrillers and spillers.

Spillers are the low-growing plants that drape over the sides of your container. They’re great because they hide the lip of the pot, softening the hard edge with flowers, foliage and colour.

How to design a container garden with thrillers, fillers and spillers

Now which goes where? After you pick out plants that thrill, fill and spill, the rest of the design falls into place quite easily. Here’s a rundown of how to plant your container:

Step 1 – Plant the thriller

The thriller is usually the biggest plant, so keep things easy and plant it before the others. Centre the thriller right in the middle of the pot, especially if it will be placed on a patio or somewhere where it will be viewed from all sides. But, if you plan to position it up against a wall, place the thriller in the back so that all the rest of the plants can be seen from the front.

Tips for choosing a thriller:

Step 2 – Plant the fillers

Fillers are the plants that bridge the gap between the thriller and the spiller. They are just as important as the other plants, but probably won’t be the centre of attention. Before planting, keep them in their pots and arrange them around the thriller to get an idea of how to distribute them. You can also tuck the spillers in at this point, too, in order to be sure they all fit and look good together.

Tips for choosing fillers:

Step 3 – Finish with the spillers

Spillers are what give a container that unbeatably lush and lovely appearance. They soften the look of the container itself by hiding the edge. You may need more than one plant here, depending on how the container will be viewed.