In late spring and early summer, plants are filling in the landscape at a rapid pace, but blooms can be lacking as the foliage is most prominent. Container gardens and planters can bring vitality and visual interest to your yard or garden. A well-designed flower garden container can include almost any combination of plants, often blending delicate and bold varieties of foliage and blooms for color & effect.
Planting in containers is an excellent way to showcase your style with plants; pairing different colors, heights, and textures artistically. Follow our guide for exceptional flower garden container ideas for color & effect and enjoy eye-catching, perpetual blooming planters all summer long.
Selecting Flowers For Your Container Garden
Flower selection is vital for color and effect in a flower garden container. As you peruse the garden center, look for plants that have similar light requirements, varying growth habits and heights, and textural differences.
Some of our favorite container flower varieties include:
- Geranium Thriller
- Creeping Zinnia
- Creeping Charlie
- Creeping Jenny
- Ornamental grasses or spikes
Preparing Your Container For Planting
- Choose a pot or planter. Mix and match old and new containers and get as creative as you like. Consider using old rain barrels, galvanized metal pails, wooden or plastic planters, and urns. The more soil that you have in the planter, the better for the plants, so don’t hold back on the size of your containers.
- Ensure that there are holes in the bottom of your chosen container to provide adequate drainage. If there aren’t any holes, use a drill to add them.
- Fill your container with a premium potting mix.
- Determine the plant combinations and placement of your plants by laying them out before planting. Read further for more info on geranium thriller plants, fillers, and spillers.
- Create your planting holes.
- Water the hole where each plant will be transplanted.
- Break up the root ball of the plant and place the plants in their desired spaces.
- Fill in any gaps around the plant with potting soil and press them in firmly.
- Add some compost around the plants to give them a great start.
- Water the entire container of new plants in well. Transplants can experience a bit of shock at first, so you may also want to water them in again after a few hours.
Violas do not thrive well in high heat conditions. They grow best in the early spring and fall months. So, if you have violas planted in your containers, you can transition them to the garden.
- Use a garden shovel to carefully scoop out viola plants, keeping as much of their root systems intact as possible.
- Transplant violas to a shadier, more protected spot in the garden for the summer season.
- Mulch your garden to protect violas and keep their root systems cool.
- Keep transplanted violas watered, and deadhead spent flowers. You can cut them back if they become too leggy.
- Transition them back into their containers at the beginning of the fall season, where they should thrive, and then come back in early spring.
Designing Your Container Garden Using A Thriller, Filler, & Spiller
As you are selecting and arranging your plants in your flower garden containers, growth habits and bloom rates are essential for the color and effect of your container. Try to incorporate a mix of the following three types of plants: thrillers, fillers, and spillers. Note that some plants may fit into more than one category.
Thriller Container Garden Flowers
A thriller plant is a plant that adds height and excitement to a planter. It draws the most attention to the flower garden container. Select these plants first to provide the framework of your flower garden container.
Ideas for thrillers include:
- Geranium thriller
- Salvia thriller
- Ornamental grass
Filler Container Garden Flowers
Filler plants are mid-sized plants that fill out a given space. They traditionally complement or contrast with the color of the thriller in the flower garden container.
Ideas for fillers include:
- Geranium (thriller and filler)
Spiller Container Garden Flowers
Spiller plants have a trailing growth habit that allows plants to overflow out of the sides of the flower garden container.
Ideas for spillers include:
- Wave Petunias
- Creeping Charlie
- Creeping Jenny
- Vinca vine
- English Ivy
Flower Container Planting for Color & Effect
How you plant your flowers in your container garden significantly impacts its showstopping appeal. Here are some essential tips which can bring out the best in your planter designs.
- Plant taller, thriller plants toward the rear or center of the planter, depending on where the container is set. For example, a geranium thriller plant makes a showstopping statement with its height and rich color.
- Plant spillers close to the edges of the flower garden container so that they have the opportunity to creep over the edges of containers.
- Fill in the empty spaces with filler selections, varying the colors of the blooms so that you have contrast and intrigue.
Container Planting Spacing Considerations
When container planting, you can break some of the traditional spacing rules for your plants. Plant your plants densely in flower garden containers for color & effect. Leave a few inches in between plants allowing them to merge into one another as they grow. Even the smallest transplants will fill out the container as they mature.
As your flower garden container fills out, you may discover that you overplanted the area. If this happens, you can always remove a plant or two and replant it elsewhere later on.