Thrillers, Fillers, Spillers Planting in Containers

Thrillers, Fillers, Spillers Planting in Containers

thrillers, fillers, spillers

When is the right time to add a new potted container at your house? In our opinion, it is always the right time to add a new potted container into the mix!

First, you’ll need to decide the location of where you'll put your container and how much light it will receive. The most important question to ask: Will it be in full sun or shade? Also, consider the size of planter that you will be using, or that you would like to be using. Larger planters hold more plants, these plants can be larger and taller in start size, while small planters hold less, so you will want to considering choosing or smaller varieties of plants. Plants in containers tend to dry out quicker than plants that are planted in the ground, so be sure to locate your planted containers in locations easy to provide water.


We have lots of planters to choose from!



Any plant with an upright growth will make a great thriller, even vines, just add a support structure in the center for it to grow up.

purple fountain grass

Purple Fountain Grass









Other great plants for Thrillers:

Passion vine

Dwarf Banana


Flax lily



Topiary pruned evergreens or Eugenia



The container “filler” can be a single plant, or a variety plants. Bright colors tend to make the pot look larger. If you’re a full-time resident, consider choosing perennial plants that can be pinched back and will continue to flower or produce more foliage. Conversely, if you’re a Snowbird, choose annuals that way you can change them out when you’re visiting and not have to worry about upkeep while your away.









Variegated Liriope for texture

Variegated Liriope for texture

Vinca, Blue Daze and Sunpatiens are also great fillers for color



Spillers should have a cascading growth habit so they “hang” over the side of the planter. Plants with interesting color or variegated leaves create texture and draw your eye through the whole design.

sweet potato vine

Sweet Potato Vine

creeping fig

Creeping Fig

trailing vinca

Trailing Vinca



Other Spillers can include, Weeping junipers, Creeping Jenny, Trailing lantana, Tradescantia such as Purple Queen

And now the fun part - Planting!

When planting, use a well-draining potting mix such as Fafard brand and make sure your planters have a drainage hole. Before adding the soil, you’ll want to add screen and small gravel for extra drainage.


Cut the screen to size and place the small screen over the hole.


Add a layer of small gravel over the screen, this helps with drainage.

secondary screen

Next, cut another screen, this one should fit over all the gravel, this screen keeps the soil from mixing into the gravel and clogging the drainage hole.

potting soil

Next add your potting soil, we like to mix a handful (or less) of a good organic fertilizer such as Fertrell to the potting mix, the amount depends on the size of your planter, follow the recommended amount on the bag.

fill the planter

Fill the planter about halfway with you potting soil, next, take your thriller plant, which will be planted in the center of the pot. You may need to add more soil under the root ball. You’ll want the base of the plant to sit about 2-3" below the top rim of the planter.

fillers and spillers

Next, you can start adding your Fillers and Spillers. You may want to move them around a bit to see how they look before you plant them.


Once you like the way it looks, start backfilling the planter with your potting mix. Be sure not to fill it all the way up to the top of the pot, leave about 2-3" space below the rim, this will prevent water overflowing and dirt spilling out.


If your planter is too heavy, we suggest you put it on a rolling plant/dolly so you can move it if needed.

pot toes & dollies

Planter feet are also a good idea to have under the base of the pot so it doesn’t sit directly on the ground

After you are all finished, give your plants a good watering, enough to saturate all the soil, and have water run out the bottom of the drainage hole. Depending on the weather and where your planter is placed, you may need to water daily or just a few times a week.