Thrill, Fill, and Spill: Three Easy Steps to Container Gardening

Container gardening is a great hobby that can be enjoyed by virtually anyone. That’s because container gardens can be grown in confined spaces like patios, decks, balconies, and even screened-in porches. And with carefully selected plants, they can also be grown in a variety of light conditions, from full sun to partial sun, or even full shade. We discussed the basics of container gardening on WISH-TV’s Indy Style, but we’d like to provide some additional tips on how to create a container garden.

“Thrill, fill, and spill” is a phrase that’s become popular in describing how to arrange a container garden. The idea is to group together various plants with similar growing needs using three key components of design to create a fabulous container garden that will be sure to turn heads. Here’s how it works:

  1. Thrill: This refers to the addition of a unique, eye-catching plant—one that usually has some height to it. It should be the showpiece of your container. You can choose to focus on foliage, color, or texture. Some great thriller plants include banana plants, purple fountaingrass, lavender, caladium, or salvia.
  2. Fill: This is exactly what it sounds like—selecting plants to fill out any remaining space in the container. You typically want to use shorter plants or flowers as to not take away from the height of the thriller. This is also where you should add color. Annual flowers like petunias, begonias, aster, impatiens, lemon drops, or coral bells work very well as filler material.
  3. Spill: The final component of creating a great container garden is adding plants that spill over the edges. You can add more color to complement the existing colors of the container or you can use vining plants that focus more on foliage. Spilling plants include lobelia, sedum, dichondra, wave petunias, trailing rosemary, sweet potato vine, or an ivy.

Using the thrill, fill, and spill technique essentially creates three layers of interest—a structure that is commonly used in floral design. And when the right combination of plants, colors, and textures are used, it can make for a stunning container garden.

Take a look at some of our work here. And to find out more about our seasonal container capabilities, give us a call at 317.575.1100 or simply fill out the form below.


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