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Eye-catching Designs for Perfect Patio Pots
Published: 06/09/2014

Just as a garden can be a work of art, a well-designed container garden can be an attractive focal point on your patio, balcony, deck or doorstep. By selecting the right combination of thriller, filler and spiller plants you can create patio plantings with pizzazz.

The onset of the growing season is here and coastal garden centers and greenhouses are bursting with blooms. With numerous plant and pot choices available designing the perfect pot of posies can be overwhelming. The best way to assemble a winning combination at the garden center is not to be timid about mixing and matching plants and container options.

The most interesting container gardens are those that mix a variety of plant colors, textures and growth habits. A successful formula to follow for creating great looking containers combinations is to include thriller, filler and spiller plants.

Thriller Plants:
As the name implies, these plants are attention getters, a focal point plant of star quality. Usually the tallest and brightest plant, there should only be one thriller plant in your container.

Filler Plants:
Fillers add mass to the container. These plants fill in bare space below and around the focal point plant. Smaller in size, these plants can be foliage or flowering and should complement the focal point. Depending on the size of the pot, you can use one or several.

Spiller Plants:
Spillers are trailing plants that will spill over and soften the edge of the container. These trailing plants add a splashy interest as they tumble out of the pot. Ivy is a very popular choice but there are many others. Once you select your thriller plant, look for a variety of contrasting filler plants that have the same growing requirements. An ideal scale for filler plants is between one and two-thirds the size of focal point, thriller plant.

Focus on foliage plants first and foremost. The backbone of great looking containers, foliage plants bring structure and texture to the design. In general pleasing combinations have harmony and contrast. Consider foliage plants with various textures to create contrast. Choosing a blend of glossy, matte or fuzzy leaves adds another level of interest as does combining fine, broad or jagged foliage.

When it comes to mixing and matching flowers pay attention to intensity. Stick with two or three agreeable colors. Consider the element of scale and how your plants will grow together in the same pot. An ideal arrangement fills out a pot by exploiting space in every direction, up, down and sideways.

Finding the right foliage and flower companions is like shopping for clothing, you need to try a few combinations before you find the right fit. The key to designing a beautifully planted container garden is as easy as following the thriller, filler and spiller formula for success.

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