Recipe for Successful Container Gardens
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2013
Every year I seem to add another container to my gardens. Containers add new
dimension, emphasis, and interest to existing gardens. They extend gardens to
windowsills, balconies, porches, or other small paved areas. Containers are
also a good alternative for those with limited garden space and time.
Anything can be used as a container as long as it has a drainage hole. I
mostly use blue ceramic pots around my pool. Various other types are carefully
arranged on my patio and porches.
Have fun with containers by using unusual items as plant containers.
Anything that will hold soil and provide drainage can be used as a container.
Examples might include boots, baskets, tins, kid's toys, and so much more!
Don't overdo these though. Overuse of unusual containers can lead to a gaudy,
Design principles for plants and containers are fun to play with too. Use a
mixture of companion plants in a container to create a desired color or texture
theme. Similarly, the containers themselves can be grouped by texture, type, or
color. Anything is possible.
A basic recipe for successful container gardening includes thrillers,
fillers, and spillers.
Thrillers are the centerpiece of your container. In small containers, you
might only use a thriller. I have several small containers with gerbera daisies
each year that make a statement with their bright, cheery flowers. My largest
container has a mandevilla growing up an obelisk.
Anything big, bold, and beautiful works as a thriller. In larger containers
these might be tall and upright like a purple fountain grass or tropical canna.
Sometimes just big or colorful flowers give the thrill effect.
Fillers complement the thriller plants. These can be foliage or flowers that
highlight the focal points in your container garden. Leaves with interesting
color and texture provide season-long interest. I particularly like asparagus
fern, euphorbias, dusty miller, alyssum, coleus, Persian shield, and many of
the smaller flowers like bacopa and nemisia.
Spillers do just what the name implies – they spill over the edge of the
container. Old standbys include vinca vines and various ivy plants. Others that
work well include Lysimachia (golden creeping jenny, moneywort), Helichrysum
(licorice plant), and lobelia. Trailing houseplants work well too if they have
the same growing requirements as other plants in the container.
Try something new in your containers this year. Additional blueprints for
building containers are found on our University of Illinois Extension website
Source: Rhonda J. Ferree, Extension Educator, Horticulture, firstname.lastname@example.org