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Container Gardening Using The Thriller, Filler, Spiller Planting Technique

For container gardening and patio containers, one common way to start designing is to use the “Thriller, Filler, Spiller” concept. This design technique utilizes three different types of plants to create well-rounded and upscale looking containers.



Thriller Plants

  • Thrillers are plants with height that add drama and a vertical element to the combination

  • Thrillers can either be flowering or foliage plants or ornamental grasses

  • Thrillers are generally put either in the center or at the back of the container

  • Place it in the center of the container if it will be viewed from all sides

  • Place it in the back of the container if it will be viewed from only one side

  • Some examples are: Angelface® angelonia, Butterfly argyranthemum, Graceful Grasses® 


Filler Plants

  • Once you've chosen your Thriller, next start choosing your Filler varieties

  • Fillers tend to be more rounded or mounded plants and make the container look full

  • Fillers are generally placed in front of, or around, the Thriller variety

  • Fillers should be placed midway between the edge of the container and the Thriller variety

  • If the Thriller is in the center of the container, the Fillers should surround the Thriller variety

  • Some examples are Diamond Frost® euphorbia, Superbells® calibrachoa, Supertunia® petunia 


Spiller Plants

  • Lastly, you add the Spillers

  • Spillers are trailing plants that hang over the edge of the planter

  • Spillers are placed close to the edge of the container

  • If the container is going to be viewed from all sides, Spillers should be placed on all sides

  • If the container is going to be viewed from only one side, Spillers should be placed in the front of the container

  • Some examples are Snowstorm® Giant Snowflake® bacopa, Snow Princess® lobularia, Sweet Caroline sweet potato vine 

Mulberry Point


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