4 Essentials for the Perfect Flower Pot

4 Essentials for the Perfect Flower Pot

This feature was brought to you by The Home Depot.

Working on a flower pot feature for your patio or garden, or trying to design the perfect planter for indoors or outdoors, and wishing that you’d went to school for horticulture, the study of gardening?

Such frustrations are understandable – as I don’t have much of a green thumb, I can totally empathize. Today I’m going to share with you the four essential ingredients for the perfect flower pot.

how to make the perfect flower pot

1. The Container

Last week in my spring gardening shopping guide, I shared with you all sorts of ideas for picking the perfect container for your plants. It’s perhaps one of the most important choices, so be sure to ponder the style, material, and size of your container carefully!

As you know, we’re in the process of revamping our back patio, and I was really interested in the Home Depot whisky barrel planters. But, when we saw them, they are just huge! They’d be perfect for a larger garden, but our patio is very narrow, so we were a bit worried about it overdominating. Instead, I opted for choosing a smaller planter – still barrel style, but not quite as obtuse.

Ok, now we get into the heart of the matter – quite literally. There’s a 3-part planting method called “thriller, spiller, filler” that professional gardeners use to make those containers and pots look gorgeous. You can read a bit more about it over at the garden club website – and I suggest you do, as I’ve found garden store employees were not very knowledgeable on the topic. Let me walk you through all three.

2. The Thriller

thriller flowers

You start with the thriller, which is a taller plant that goes right in the middle of your container. This is the focal point, so you want plants that are dramatic, make an entrance, and demand a wee bit of attention. Some typical thrillers are plants such as ornamental grasses, taro plant, angelonia. We chose the beautiful bleeding hearts above for something simple and graceful, to give the container that luxe touch.

3. The Filler


Filler works just as the name suggests – to make your container look full, healthy, and give it a bit of depth and texture. After all, the whole point is to make it look beautiful, not like a pot that you stuffed a bunch of plants into.

You have lots of choices when it comes to filler: petunias, verbenas, begonias. You can definitely cram in lots of filler to make your container look quite full; if you leave gaps, like we did, you’ll have to wait a few weeks for your planter to fill in entirely. Your filler goes in around your thiller.

4. The Spiller

spiller collage

You no doubt have worked out how this story ends: your last layer, along the edges of your pot or container, is the spiller – a plant that will provide that lovely trim while stretching out its legs, giving your container a bit of extra character. We went with “Snow Princess” for our spiller, because it was both fragrant and suitable for our low-sun patio.

A few choices for spillers include sweet potato vines, nasturtiums (one of my mom’s favorites), alternatheras, bacopas, or creeping Jenny.

Now, Give It Time

Once you’ve got all of your thrillers, spillers, and fillers into your flower pot or container, you need to give it time. Flowering plants don’t like moving any more than us humans do, so when you finish your container, those plants are going to be feeling a bit stressed and wanting to just kick their feet up and relax for awhile. So, your planter isn’t going to look so hot when you’re done. Give it time – it will be fine.

Just so you feel better, here’s our new back patio planter at the end – it looks, well, miserable. We’ll check back in after a few days once these plants have had a chance to relax. They’ll be better – I promise – and so will yours too.

the planter, at the end

This feature was brought to you by Home Depot as part of our spring gardening series.

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4 Essentials for the Perfect Flower Pot

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is the founder and creator of Plum Deluxe. He authors our award-winning weekly email newsletter, The Blend and curates our popular organic tea of the month club.

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