easy tip to create a container garden

My company is officially in the house.

And the back porch is ready and waiting and looking like it’s going to audition for farmhouses gone wild.  I added a few pillows and some sweet tea and created a container garden.

It was easy.

I just followed the formula.  If you have ever been around gardeners or worked in a florist shop or a garden center, this post will not be news to you.  You’ve probably heard of the basic container garden formula before.

I wish I could tell you I invented it.

But I didn’t.

It’s been around forever and it’s a simple three-step process to creates variety and height and diversity in a container garden.

There are three basic steps:  the thrill, the spill and the fill.

Flowers for container gardens

1.  The thrill

It’s just like it sounds.  You start with the rock star.  The thrill.  A tall showy plant to add height to the center of your garden.

These are Dianthus and they have brilliant fuchsia blooms that draw the eye and set the tone for the whole garden.

You could also use ornamental grasses or tropical plants.  Anything unusual or beautiful or striking that says (preferably with a southern accent), “Hey you, over here, look at me, I’m amazing.”

sweet potato vine

2.  The spill

For the spill you want to select a plant that spills over the edge of the container, adding variety and movement to the arrangement.

Here, I used a Sweet Potato vine.

It spills over the edges of the container and the color compliments the fuchsia and smaller leaves of the other plants.

For another option, you could also use vincas or different variety of ivies.

flowers calibrachoa

3.  The fill

This is exactly what it sounds like.  These are your filler plants that help to fill in the gaps between the thrill and the spill.

Here, I’ve chosen Calibrachoa with it’s delicate leaves and tiny purple blossoms.

You could also add in petunias or zinnias or dahlias.

how to create a container garden

Now you know the secret that gardeners have passed down for decades.

It’s practically fool-proof.

Happy summer.

From my back porch to yours.

PS  I originally wrote a version of this post with all its container garden wisdom for Homes.com.  

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  1. Image for beatriz beatriz

    This beautiful combination of the vase and the armchair cushions with beautiful white black armchair, perfect combination, happy weekend karianne

  2. Image for Bonnie Bonnie

    Love all the black and white! And the plants ! Really love the rug, am looking for one like it! Always a great post!

  3. Image for Lisa at celebrate creativity Lisa at celebrate creativity

    Hi Karianne, very pretty plant selections that all work so well together. I've never heard of sweet potato vine before. Your porch is lovely and I know you must really enjoy it. The black and white is bold but I love the clean contrast. Have a nice weekend!

  4. Image for Michelle Mortensen Michelle Mortensen

    I call myself a brown thumb. My son says he even, "...feels sorry" for the plants I bring home - because he knows their days are numbered. However, I am trying. The past year, I've put more effort into learning about gardening (especially about how to keep plants alive!). This catchy little phrase (thrill-spill-fill) will help me create some containers for my porch and patio. Then, I will do my best to keep them pretty... and ALIVE! Best, Michelle from simplysantabarbara.blogspot.com

  5. Image for Kris Kris

    I told my then-8-year-old about thrillers, fillers, and spillers last year ... and I was *thrilled* when she remembered it this year!

  6. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Ahhmahhzing!!! Did I pronounce that correctly?? My heavens you could write that as a motto or a book -- The Thrill, the Spill, the Fill. Now that has panache! I had never heard those particular words but they are now etched forever in my mind. :-) My pots are painted an obscure color of burply red -- I really like the black. It stands out but doesn't overwhelm the beautiful plants. I'm still trying to come up with a color scheme that I like. I simply love the black and white. It fits the farmhouse perfectly. Big Hugs!! Have a great weekend -- we're coming back up north. Please have warm weather. AND no rain.

  7. Image for Maggie Maggie

    You forgot the most important part ... don' t forget to Water.. So often people bring home plants and let them sit for two days before planting.. They are usually dried out, stressed or begging for attention.. Plants like a good shower just as we do..

  8. Image for Susan Susan

    And don't forget to put as much in as possible. I find people tend to make their pots too sparse looking. I had a pro tell me to shove in as many as you can. Annuals don't need extra breathing space. The more the better!!

  9. Image for Seng Seng

    Such great tips!!! Can't wait until I have this baby so I can play with dirt and garden again! Definitely need to keep these tips in mind. xo, Seng https://www.sengerson.com

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