Planter Filler Ideas for Container Gardens

In the Garden Sue Jun 22, 2023
20 People Read

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. As an Amazon associate I earn on qualifying purchases. 

Container gardening is an excellent way to bring color and life to any outdoor space, and one of the most beautiful ways to do it is by growing flowers. Container gardening is also perfect for those who have limited space or just want to add some charm to a balcony, patio, or front porch. If you're looking to start a flower garden in pots, planters, raised beds, or other containers, here are some tips to help you get started.

Choosing the Right Container:

Unique Containers

pictures courtesy of Susan Pendleton

The first thing to consider when starting a container flower garden is the type of container you will use. Containers come in a variety of materials, including plastic, clay, glazed ceramic, wood, concrete and metal. Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks. Containers and planters come in all shapes, heights and sizes. 

  • Plastic containers are lightweight and easy to move, but they can break down in direct sunlight.

  • Clay containers are porous and can dry out quickly, but they are also very attractive and come in a wide variety of sizes and styles.

  • Glazed ceramic pots are very colorful and add so much interest and beauty to anyone’s patio.These are heavy, moderately expensive and will break or chip if dropped.

  • Wood containers are beautiful but can be prone to rotting if they are not treated properly.

  • Concrete containers are durable, and attractive. These affordable pots are heavy, but are good growing containers.

  • Metal containers are durable and come in many designs, but they can also heat up quickly and damage the roots of your plants. You can plant your flowers in plastic pots or liners that bigger plants come in from the nursery. Plastic liners also help insulate roots from the transfer of extreme heat and cold, one of the drawbacks of metal.

    bird cage succulents

    succulent potted

Here are some highly rated ones:

Some containers are self watering  The self-watering feature works with the water reservoir. Capillary action allows water in the reservoir to soak upward keeping the soil and plant roots moist creating a "self-watering" effect. It works well if it has overflow drainage holes on the side so the soil is not over-saturated. Watering once a week should be enough but it depends on your climate, sun and rain exposure. This is ideal for those who don’t have time to water everyday or for weekend vacation homes.

The key is to choose a container that suits your style, space, and the plants you want to grow.

Here are some highly rated Self-watering pots:

Choosing the Right Plants

When choosing plants for your container garden, consider the climate, the amount of sunlight your space gets, and the size of your container. You want to choose plants that will thrive in the conditions you can provide.

Some of the best plants for container gardens include petunias, geraniums, marigolds, impatiens, and begonias. These plants are easy to grow, come in a variety of colors, and bloom throughout the season. But don't limit yourself to these flowers; try growing grasses, bulbs, trees, succulents, bushes and perennials for a unique look in your planters.

Planting Your Container Garden

Before planting your container garden, make sure your container has proper drainage. You can add a layer of rocks or gravel to the bottom of the container to help with drainage. Next, add potting soil to your container, leaving a few inches of space at the top.

When planting your flowers, be sure to follow the instructions on the plant tags. Dig a hole in the soil that is slightly larger than the plant's root ball and gently pack the soil around the plant. Water your plants immediately after planting, and continue to water them regularly throughout the growing season

When creating a container garden, it is important to understand the concept of thrillers, spillers, and fillers. Thrillers are tall plants that add drama and height to your container, spillers are trailing plants that cascade over the edges of your container, and fillers are smaller plants that fill in the gaps and add texture to your container garden. Each of these components plays an important role in creating a balanced and visually appealing container garden.

       Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers pictures courtesy of Susan Pendleton


Thrillers are the stars of your container garden, and they are often tall and eye-catching. They add height and drama to your container and can serve as a focal point. Some examples of thrillers include:

  • Ornamental grasses

  • Cannas

  • Dracaena

  • Cordyline

  • Hibiscus


Spillers are trailing plants that spill over the edges of your container, softening the edges and adding texture to your arrangement. They are often used to create a waterfall effect and can be planted around the edges of your container or in the center. Some examples of spillers include:

  • Ivy

  • Sweet potato vine

  • Creeping jenny

  • Bacopa

  • Trailing petunias

  • Sweet potato vine


Fillers are smaller plants that fill in the gaps between your thrillers and spillers. They add texture and volume to your container garden and help to create a balanced look. Some examples of fillers include:

  • Marigolds

  • Geraniums

  • Pansies

  • Snapdragons

  • Begonias

The importance of thrillers, spillers, and fillers:

By using thrillers, spillers, and fillers, you can create a visually appealing container garden that is both balanced and interesting. The combination of different textures, heights, and colors creates depth and dimension in your arrangement. Additionally, by using a variety of plants, you can ensure that your container garden has a long blooming season and remains interesting throughout the year.

Caring for Your Container Garden

To keep your container garden looking its best, you will need to provide regular care. This includes watering, fertilizing, and deadheading.

Watering is essential for container plants since they cannot draw water from the ground. You should water your container garden whenever the soil feels dry to the touch when you dig about 2 inches down in the pot. Fertilizing your plants once a month will help keep them healthy and promote growth or buy slow release fertilizer that can last up to 3-4 months. Deadheading is the process of removing dead flowers from your plants. This will encourage more blooms and help your plants look their best.

Container flower gardening is a great way to add color and beauty to any outdoor space. By choosing the right container, plants, and providing proper care, you can create a stunning display that will last throughout the season. With these tips, you'll be well on your way to enjoying your own beautiful container garden.

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Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. As an Amazon associate I earn on qualifying purchases.