When it comes to decorating your yard, not everything needs to be planted in the ground. Containers create a focal point to add drama and personality to your patio, porch or gardens any season of the year. Many people get started gardening because of the ease and scalability of container gardening.

Choosing Your Containers

Pots need to complement rather than clash with the plants growing in them. Consider the color, shape, and texture of planters. With the latest trendy styles and colors available, it may be time to trade out some worn out, old favorites. If wind is an issue where you want to place containers, use heavier pots made of concrete or ceramic. If setting planters in a sunny spot, look for ones that are large enough to not dry out too quickly once plants grow and become established.

Choosing Your Plants

When designing combination containers, let your inner artist out! It’s easy to be creative while following a proven design recipe known simply as ‘thriller, filler, and spiller.’ Reading the signs near the plants at each of our locations and picking the plants that perform well in the same conditions, such as sun exposure, will ensure that your container plants thrive. 

The thriller plant is usually the tallest element and the focal point of your container. Choose one for each pot, placing it in the back or center if the container is viewed from all sides. The thriller can be a live plant or seasonally appropriate twigs, like pussywillow branches, curly willow, or birch poles.

Low to mid-height fillers add lush fullness to your container. The colors of the fillers can complement the thriller and contrast with its texture. Traditional complementary colors are blue/orange, red/green, yellow/purple. For spring ideas, fillers can be Pansies or Violas, Ferns, Heuchera, Osteospermum, Daisies, Stock, Hellebores, and more.

Spillers are plants that cascade over the edge of the pot. They soften the edges of the planter and help to unify the design by use of color or texture. Calibrachoa, Petchoa, and Ivy are cold-tolerant spillers that will not trail much until exposed to more sunshine.

Choosing the Soil

We recommend using our Growing Place Choice Potting Mix for containers and hanging baskets. We use this same recipe to grow our plants. It contains pine fines, coir, sphagnum peat moss, and perlite. Incorporating a slow-release fertilizer will help your plants in containers stay healthy longer. Be sure to read and follow the label instructions.

Making Your Containers Last

If you use perennials in your early spring containers, once they are finished blooming, take them out of your containers and transplant them into your garden for more blooms next year. Replace with fresh plants for summer color. When the cool weather of fall returns, take out summer plants that have past their prime or don’t like colder temps and switch them out with colorful, cold-tolerant, fall annuals. In winter, use varieties of cut evergreen branches with birch poles and berries to make wonderful winter creations. Start small this spring and let your imagination run wild. Have questions or need advice on what to combine together? Stop in! We’re here to help.