Flower Container Design 101

Published on
May 1, 2021 at 2:37:00 PM PDT May 1, 2021 at 2:37:00 PM PDTst, May 1, 2021 at 2:37:00 PM PDT

Container gardening has become one of the most popular ways to make a dramatic statement at your home or office. It just takes a few plants, good soil, a favorite container and a little time. Planters and pots can be planted with flowers, herbs, vegetables and small trees or shrubs. Remarkably flexible and fun, container gardening benefits are hard to beat!

Select Your Container

Choose the right container for the space allotted. Planters and pots come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors to choose from. For a bold impact, bright colored containers are best. Use neutral colors if you want the container to blend into its environment. Select a container that is large enough to hold the desired plants. Most any container will work if it provides good drainage, so check for a hole at the bottom.

Prepare Your Container

Add a good quality soil. We recommend Earl May Container Mix, which includes time-released fertilizer. If your pot is large, fill the bottom with rock, mulch or empty plastic bottles before adding soil for added drainage.

This not only helps with drainage but it makes the pots easier to move. Then add Earl May Container Mix to the remainder of the pots. A minimum soil depth of 6-8 inches is required for the majority of flowering plants.

Choose Your Plants

Make sure to choose plants that will thrive in the sun light where your container will be. Use plants of different heights and textures to maximize impact. Great container garden designs contain three elements:

The Thriller (Vertical)

The Thriller is the vertical element, usually one featured plant that brings a different look to the container garden. Good options are tall grasses, tropical plants or other striking foliage. When using a vertical plant in the middle of a large pot, plant three mounding plants in a triangle pattern around the vertical plant. If using a smaller container, plant two mounding plants, one on each side of the vertical plant.

The Filler (Mounding)

The Filler is usually a mounding plant chosen to add flower power and “fill in” the blank spaces between the vertical and trailing plants. This plant should be medium height and add visual interest with large blooms, multiple small blossoms or brightly colored foliage.

The Spiller (Trailing)

Spillers are the trailing plants used to round out the container garden. These plants can be flowering or foliage and spill over the sides of the containers. In addition to covering bare spots, spillers create flow and a finishing touch. When using round planters and pots, we suggest using 3 trailing plants evenly spaced around the perimeter. When using square pots, we suggest 1 trailing plant in each corner. For a more dramatic effect, consider alternating blooming plants with foliage ones.


Gather your tools, soil and plants:

Start by planting the thriller. Next, plant the edges of the containers with your spillers. Finish planting the remaining space in the container with the rest of your flowers, or fillers.

Once planted, give the containers a good drink. For strong, healthy plants, use Earl May Plant Start when watering, especially in the beginning.

A couple of weeks of good sunlight and water as needed, your container design will be a perfect complement to your home!