Planting Containers: Recipe for Success!

Container plantings offer endless opportunities! Each year, breeders introduce new plants for gardeners to drool over. Certainly, it makes things tough when you must decide. Problem solved – just buy more planters!

How to Start a Container Garden

First things, first – always start with healthy plants. Annuals must give it all they’ve got during their season of bloom and interest! The plants you choose should be free of any visible insect or disease problems. Look for uniform growth with healthy shoots and buds. Better to avoid plants that are wilted, or with brown or shriveled leaves.

Right plant, right place. It’s important to choose plants that have similar light and water needs. Sun loving plants will perform poorly in dense shade locations and vice versa. The same can be said for watering. Some plants are thirstier than others. If you don’t know about a plant’s light or water needs, be sure to ask.

When designing a container, think about how it will be viewed.  Will it be seen from all sides or just from the front?  Knowing this will help you choose appropriate plants and where they should be placed in the container.

A No-Fail Formula for Designing Beautiful Containers | Garden Gate

Container planters can be combinations of plants that serve as thrillers, fillers, or spillers. In ‘garden talk’, here’s the translation:

Thrillers are plants that act as a focal point, think ‘wow’ plant.  It could be mandevilla or jasmine that’s been trained on a trellis or teepee, or a statuesque plant like tree hibiscus, palm, or cannas that creates vertical interest.

Fillers are plants that do just that – they’re generally medium sized plants that fill the voids between the thrillers and the spillers. Think: dipladenia, impatiens, angelonia, coleus, non-stop begonia.

Spillers are plants that trail or cascade over the sides of planters, window boxes and hanging baskets.  A few examples would include Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia), Scaveola, verbena, vinca vine, ivy.

There are no true rights or wrongs when it comes to plant combinations if you pick those that play well together with the same light and water needs. Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.