Thriller Filler Spiller Containers

Build sun and shade containers with a few quick tips! Whether you like to do it yourself, need something quick or would like a custom professional design, we have you covered.

Building containers with a combination of plants is a challenge and one that is a pleasure for every gardener. How to pick the right combination was given great assistance by Steve Silk, a contributing editor to Fine Gardening and a member of the Gardeners Gone Wild blogsite. Steve's article Thrillers, Spillers and Fillers presented an easy recipe for building stunning containers.

We've taken it a step further to provide you with the basics and the list of plants that we stock fitting into each category.

Just use our plant lists with the tips below and in three easy steps create perfect sun or shade containers and dramatic combinations in the garden.

Salvia 'Golden Delicious'
Salvia 'Golden Delicious'

Start with a Thriller...

  • Focal point - choose a plant that is big, bold, and beautiful.
  • It is the tallest part of the design.
  • Use it for dramatic accents for in-ground plantings.

Suggestions: Salvia 'Golden Delicious,' Kong series Coleus, Draceana 'Red Star' and Dragon Wing Red Begonia.

Add a spicy Filler...

  • This is the middle layer of the design
  • Use it to add complementary texture and color to the thriller
  • Great for adding color and substance around shrubs in the landscape

Suggestions: Plectranthrus 'Troy's Gold', Lantana, Alternathera, and Impatiens 'Sonic Paste.'

Bacopa 'Giant White'

Finish with a colorful Spiller...

  • Use plants that provide trailing accents
  • Spillers soften the edges of the container
  • They tie the design elements together
  • Fantastic ground covers provide great options

Suggestions: Ipomoea 'Marguarita', Vinca 'Illumination', Bacopa 'Giant White', and Verbena Lanai series.

Use our Seasonal Container Designs

Our container designs are arranged by month. The designs were done with plants that are generally available that month or season. Arrange them by season using the selector below: December-January-February for winter months, etc.