From glossy magazines to Main Street, we've all admired those beautiful window boxes and flower pots in spring, summer, fall, and even wintertime. Whether you possess a spacious backyard or a cozy balcony, container planting unlocks a realm of possibilities, enabling you to craft mesmerizing displays of vibrant greenery and blossoms in all seasons!
You might have always yearned to recreate something similar at your own home, but perhaps you were scared you lacked the pro’s creative flair. Here’s an exciting revelation: you don't need as much innate creativity as you might think! While it’s great to turn to the pros for highlevel “wow-factor”, there’s no reason why those with some creative inclination can’t give this a try.
There's a simple formula you can follow to achieve equally stunning results. Yes, you heard it right, no certification, licensure, or special design training required! Just follow these tips, try it, practice it, and see what you can create. You’ve got nothing to lose! If you hate the results, call TGC, we’ve got you covered.
It’s called the "Fill, Spill, and Thrill" method. It’s a simple yet effective way to design container gardens that are visually captivating and well-balanced. This approach involves combining three types of plants in a single container to achieve a dynamic display.
Each type of plant serves a specific purpose:
Fillers: These are the plants that form the bulk of your container garden. They have a mounding or bushy growth habit and act as a backdrop for the other plants. Fillers provide a foundation for the arrangement, adding volume and a lush backdrop.
Spillers: As the name suggests, these plants spill or cascade over the sides of the container. They soften the edges, adding a touch of elegance and creating a sense of depth and movement.
Thrillers: Thrillers are the eye-catchers of the arrangement. They are typically tall, upright plants that serve as the focal point, drawing attention to the container and adding drama to the overall display.
Before you start planting, you’ll need to choose the perfect container for your masterpiece. Ensure your container has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, which can harm the plants' roots. Whether you prefer traditional terracotta pots, chic ceramic planters, or modern hanging baskets, there's a container that suits your style and space.
Keep in mind, the more porous the planter, the more you will have to pay attention to watering, especially in the hot months. And your winter arrangements will need to be in planters that can withstand low temps and frost if you live in the colder zones.
Now comes the fun part: selecting the plants for your "Fill, Spill, and Thrill" container garden. Consider the following factors when choosing your plants.
Sunlight: Identify the amount of sunlight your container will receive throughout the day. Select plants that thrive in the given light and temperature conditions, ensuring they complement one another and can thrive in the conditions you provide.
Watering needs: Choose plants with similar watering requirements to make maintenance more manageable. This prevents overwatering or underwatering certain plants, ensuring their long-term health.
Colors & textures: Mix and match plants with varying colors, leaf shapes, and textures to create an eye-catching display. Harmonize colors or create exciting contrasts to suit your aesthetic preferences.
With your container and plants ready, it's time to get your hands dirty! Here's a step-by-step guide to assemble your "Fill, Spill, and Thrill" container garden:
Step 1: Once you’ve ensured that your planter will properly drain, fill your container with a high-quality, well-draining potting mix, leaving enough space for your plants to settle comfortably. If you’re using soil that’s been in the container a while, give it a good massage and break up any clumps or root masses that may have formed. For added support, you can mix some compost in with your potting soil. This is my proven method to help plants retain proper hydration through the heat of summer. Whether you’re using new or old soil, it’s always a good idea to sprinkle a controlled release fertilizer. We like Osmocote. Make sure you mix it in really well with the soil.
PRO TIP: When planting, always tease appart the roots to give your plants a shot at rooting into the container soil quickly.
Step 2: Start by planting your "Thriller" in the center of the container. This tall and attention-grabbing plant will be the star of the show, so position it carefully for maximum impact.
Step 3: Surround the "Thriller" with your "Filler" plants, creating a lush, rounded backdrop that complements the centerpiece. Space them evenly around the "Thriller."
Step 4: Finally, plant your "Spiller" plants around the edges of the container, allowing them to drape over the sides gracefully.
PRO TIP: Always have the finished level of your soil in the planter be about 1/2 to 1 inch below the rim of the planter. This will make watering much easier because you can add a lot at once so it can spread evenly throughout the top of the soil and drain in without spilling soil over the rim.
Your container garden should look like a stunning centerpiece, but the journey doesn't start or end here. To maintain the beauty and vitality of your creation, keep the following care tips in mind:
Plant with growth room in mind. If you cram plants together with no room to grow, you’ll find that some plants quickly die off rather than thrive. This is especially true for spring and summer, not as much for fall.
Regularly water your container garden, ensuring the soil is evenly moist. Remember, containers can dry out faster than garden beds, especially in warm weather and when working with terra cotta and ceramics.
Provide your plants with a balanced fertilizer to keep them nourished and thriving throughout the growing season. And, let’s face it, the point of annuals in planters it for a riot of color, so using a fast release fertilizer is okay in this instance. I don’t recommend this for plants in the ground. Stick to organics for bedding annuals.
Remove faded flowers and spent foliage regularly to encourage new growth and maintain a neat appearance. Deadheading and even pinching back vegetation can make summer planters last deep into the fall season.
Keep an eye out for pests and diseases. Early detection and intervention can save your container garden from potential harm.
You can begin with just one planter and gradually add one each year until you've adorned all areas to perfection. Confession of a planter maven - I have close to 30 planters at my house. I just love the pop and wow! Container planting is a remarkably versatile and adaptable landscape element, making it nearly impossible to resist adding a touch of "Wow" to your surroundings!
With the "Fill, Spill, and Thrill" method, container planting becomes an enjoyable and rewarding endeavor. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a novice, this approach simplifies the process, making it accessible to all, but if you’re short on time, The Garden Continuum can assist.
We have you covered on all fronts – from providing the perfect plants and detailed plans for exquisite containers to taking care of the entire process, including maintenance.
Check out our seasonal decor page: https://www.thegardencontinuum.com/seasonal-decor