Thrillers, Spillers, Fillers, OH MY!

You know those containers that are truly a work of art?  They are perfectly proportioned and just have it goin’ on…kinda like Halle Berry. I want one! Or two, or three or four. Pots like this one below transform a space and bring it to the next level.

I’ve coveted these type of containers for many moons, but I had no idea how to create one until a recent trip to Portland Nursery. I essentially asked one of Portland Nursery’s expert gardeners how to create a killer pot, and that’s when he  introduced me to the thriller, spiller and filler section. By choosing one plant from each section, I am following an easy recipe  for creating a lively mixed pot. It’s a no-fail recipe and makes me look like I actually know what I’m doing when it comes to gardening. HA!

Here’s the how-to-create-a-beautiful-pot equation breakdown:

Thriller = a dramatic and tall plant that gives the container its height

Spiller = a trailing or tumbling plant that “spills” over the container and helps visually connect the container to its place

Filler = generously grows around the base of the thriller and around the inside of the pot, “filling” in any empty space

Thriller + Spiller + Filler =  ONE PRETTY CONTAINER

No guessing or reading plant labels – I just chose one plant from each section and I was done.


Above are the plants I came home with and they were only $1.99 each! There were larger and more mature plants than these little guys, but they were of course more expensive. Plus, part of the fun of planting plants is watching them grow. And after a few weeks of tender love and care, the plants are enjoying their new home…


I’m waiting for my thriller to bloom as that will give the pot that burst of color it desperately needs right now. A few other basic tips – mix up the colors, shapes and textures of your plants. Also, keep in mind the scale of your container as well. Buy enough plants to make the pot look full. A large container might house 2-3 thrillers or a number of spillers, depending on the overall look you are going for. After seeing how wonderfully the thriller, spiller and filler equation worked, I’ve already planted another container and I’ll of course keep you updated on how the plants are handling all this darn rain.

3 thoughts on “Thrillers, Spillers, Fillers, OH MY!

  1. Kara Said:

    I love the names for all of those! I especially love the look of the “spillers”… I need to incorporate some of these types in to my potted plants as well. Thanks for the tips!!

    1. kirsten Said:

      I know, aren’t the names catchy? You can’t go wrong with spillers, they really add another dimension to containers. Happy planting:)!

  2. Samantha Said:

    Do you know of any good blogs for people who are new to yard work and flowers? We own a house and I know nothing about flowers, plants or any of that! Just want to know what to plant when, hoe much care certain plants need, etc. Thanks!


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