If you are a container gardener like the kind that I used to be, you may have limited space to garden in. As a result, your balcony or patio may be crowded with bottles, jars and flower pots. One great way to maximize the number of plants that you grow while minimizing space is to combine plants in a planter design. All planters should have three types of plants placed in them: Thrillers, spillers and fillers.
Thrillers: Thrillers are either vines or tall plants that are placed near the middle of containers that you see from multiple sides. If your container is shoved up against a wall or in a corner where you will only see it from the front, the thriller plants should be placed near the back of the planter. Good thrillers include ornamental grasses, tall flowers such as rose bush canes or four O’clock flowers and climbing vines such as morning glories.
Fillers: These are plants that fill in the space between the tall vines and the spilling plants in the front of the container. Fillers are usually smaller plants that tie the planter together. Good plants include annuals such as impatiens in shade or heliotrope.
Spillers: Spillers are plants that trail over the side of a container. These plants may include vines such as ivy or flowers like the petunia.
Here are some suggestions for planters that use all three types of plants:
Use Purple fountain grass for your central, tall plant. Add Dragon Wing Begonias for the mid-sized plant. Then place white petunias near the rim of the pot to spill over the sides.
Purple fountain grass will also look good with red, pink or purple coleus and begonias.
Place a trellis with a mandevilla plant near the center or back of a planter. Add trailing pink verbena and bacopa to fill in the space between.
Create a succulent garden by combining an aloe vera plant with hens and chicks and trailing crassulas.
Combine purple heart, purple sweet potato vine, “black magic” elephant ears and white geraniums for an exotic, layered look.