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The Secret To Building Great Planter Arrangements: Thriller, Spiller, And Filler

The Secret to Building Great Planter Arrangements: Thriller, Spiller, and Filler

Creating a professional-looking planter arrangement even when you don’t have prior flower arrangement experience is possible. All you need to do is follow the rhyme Thriller, Spiller, Filler. This technique involves choosing three different plant types to create a high-end, professional look.

The combination of these plants gives your planter visual interest. Thrillers, spillers, and fillers have various physical attributes that make for a harmonious look. In fact, they fill the container in all directions: upward, sideways, and downward. This time-honored technique works so well that both gardening rookies and landscaping professionals use it.

The Secret to Sensational Planter Arrangements

PolyStone Planters tells you how to put together an arrangement in your custom garden planters.

Thriller Plants that Capture Attention

Building a planter arrangements starts with thrillers. Thrillers are tall, upright plants that serve as the focal point in your planter. Their job is to grab attention and give a vertical element to the arrangement.

These plants should have bold qualities, such as colorful leaves, unique shapes, or striking flowers. Most people choose flowering and foliage plants and tall, ornamental grasses.

Thriller Plant Options With a Wow Factor:

  • Angelface® Angelonia
  • Asters
  • Purple Fountain Grass
  • Canna Lily
  • Dahlia
  • Dragon Trees

If you place the planter against a wall and people see the planter from the front, place the thriller towards the back. If people will be seeing the planter from all sides, you should place your thriller in the middle.

Fillers: Amplifying the Look

After you have your thriller start bringing in your fillers. Fillers are mid-sized, billowy plants that surround the thriller. Their job is to add depth around the thriller, cover its uninteresting stems, and fill negative space in the planter. By choosing the right filler, you make your planter arrangement look bountiful and healthy. Often, fillers have a fine texture and a less saturated color than the thriller.

Simple designs call for only one type of filler, but some people choose two or three to make the planter look busier and more alive.

Filler Plants that Provide Subtle Beauty:

  • Petunias
  • Geraniums
  • Begonias
  • Dusty Miller
  • Heliotrope
  • Plectranthus

Spillers: The Perfect Finishing Touch

The last step is adding the spillers. Spillers are plants that are placed at the edges of the container and their leaves/blooms cascade over the sides. Their job is to finish the look and soften the planter’s edges. Spillers are the unifying element of the arrangement. When these plants touch the ground, they make the pot look as if it might be naturally rooted there.

Long, Flowing Spiller Plants:

  • Ivy
  • Sweet Potato Vine
  • Wire Vine
  • Bacopa
  • Trailing Lobelia

Building a Balanced Planter Arrangement


Keep scale in mind when choosing individual plants. Choosing thrillers, fillers, and spillers that vary too much in size could disrupt the harmonious look of your planter. Save the bold contrast for plant colors and textures.

Also, choose plants that require a similar amount of water, sunlight, and thrive in the same soil conditions.

Following the rhyme often results in a beautiful arrangement. It exercises your creativity while giving you a helpful guide to creating an aesthetically pleasing arrangement. This trick works even when it’s your first time assembling a planter.

Contact PolyStone Planters to customize a garden planter for your arrangement or click below to visit our online store.

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