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List Of Plants To Use For Container Planting

Thrillers, Fillers, and Spillers

Let’s talk about the plants to use for planting containers. I’ve put together a list of the plants that I use when I create container planting.

They are grouped into three sections depending on use: thrillers, fillers, and spillers.

When you set out to create your patio flower containers, there are a few additions you can use to make them spectacular, not just pretty. Just make use of thrillers, fillers, and spillers.

What are thrillers, fillers, and spillers anyway?

  • The thriller is the focal point of the planting.
  • The fillers work to fill the space between the thriller and the edge of the container.
  • The spillers cascade over the edges of the container.

I’ve put links for each flower that we talk about to the Gardening Know How site so you can see the plants and blooms, and learn how to care for them.

Here’s the list of plants to use for container planting.

Thrillers

plant to use as a thriller red cockscomb or celosia in container
Celosia or Cockscomb

Thriller plants are the stars of the show, or your planting container. They are big, bright focal points you add into the container design plan.

If you are going to have the planter where it is viewed from all sides, the thriller goes in the middle of the planting. If you are going to view it from the front, the thriller is placed in the back of the scenario.

Here is a list of some thriller plants that I use when creating my patio containers.

  • Asters – daisy-like perennials with star-shaped flowers
  • Astilbe – glossy foliage with showy flowers
  • Bromeliad – tropical with colorful, long-lasting bracks
  • Celosia – colorful, edible flower from Dr. Seuss’ books
  • Cosmos – one of the easiest to grow annuals
  • Dahlia – grown from a tuber, large and colorful
  • Ferns – perhaps you’ll see a sprite underneath!
  • Fuchsia – beautiful pink and purple flower pendants
  • Geraniums – a favorite of gardeners forever, nice scent
  • Lantana – easy-care, long-blooming
  • Nicotiana – flowering tobacco, tubular-shaped flowers
  • Papyrus – called the umbrella plant, grass-like habit with sprays of foliage at the top
  • Salvia – tall purple stakes, loved by bees and butterflies

Fillers

Plants to use for containers pansy flowers come in all colors yellows, reds, blues and purples
Pansies with Happy Faces

Use plants that have round or mounding growth habits for your fillers. They act to fill the area in the planting container between the thriller and the spillers. And, they surround and enhance the thriller.

Choose one that has a complementary color or texture to the thriller and will look nice sitting next to it.

Here is a list of some of the plants I have used for fillers when creating planting containers.

  • Ageratum – beautiful soft, round, fluffy blue flowers
  • Alyssum – fragrant blooms in white, pink, purple, pink
  • Begonia – attractive foliage and frilly flowers
  • Caladium – colorful foliage for a tropical display
  • Coleus – stunning colorful foliage
  • Cosmos – one of the easiest to grow annuals
  • Gazania – or African daisy – has showy blooms
  • Geraniums – a favorite of gardeners forever, nice scent
  • Heliotrope – small purple flowers smell like vanilla
  • Heuchera – also called coral bells, has colorful foliage and flowers
  • Lantana – easy-care, long-blooming
  • Nasturtium – can be climbing, cascading, or bushy
  • Nemesia – resembles small orchids, flowers in purple, pink, blue, white
  • Pansy – the colorful flowers with faces on them
  • Salvia – tall purple stakes, loved by bees and butterflies
  • Vinca – green leaves with small purple flowers
  • Zinnia – bright daisy-like flower heads

Spillers

plants to use for containers purple and white petunias
Petunias in Bloom

Have some fun with your planting choices. Spiller plants are planted near the edges of the planter and should be colorful.

They will cascade or tumble over the sides of the container as they grow. Sometimes, they will touch the ground and seem to anchor the pot to the ground.

Here is a list of some of the plants I have used as spillers when planting containers.

  • Alyssum – fragrant blooms in white, pink, purple, pink
  • Bacopa – cascades of small white, blue, lavender, pink, or coral red flowers – one of my favorites!
  • Calibrachoa – or million bells – flowers look like small petunias in violet, blue, pink, red, magenta, yellow, bronze or white
  • Nasturtium – can be climbing, cascading, or bushy
  • Begonia, Trailing – pink, yellow, orange, red, and white flowers are available
  • Coleus, Trailing – stunning colorful foliage
  • Lantana, Trailing – easy-care, long-blooming
  • Trailing Lobelia – small violet flowers, also available in white, pink, red, and blue
  • Rosemary, Trailing – aromatic and edible plant
  • Vinca, Trailing – green leaves with small purple flowers
  • Verbena – long-lasting blooms love the sun
  • Vinca Minor – also known as periwinkle, small purple flowers on dark green foliage

List Of Plants To Use For Container Planting

I’ve listed some plant options that you can consider when you are ready to create your own patio containers.

The list of plants to use for container planting is grouped into three sections depending on how you want to use them in your plantings.

They are Thrillers! Fillers! Spillers! Oh my!

Let me know if this is helpful to you. For more information on how to plant your containers, head over to my post How To Plant Patio Containers.

Now get outside and start planting yours.

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