© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Connecticut Garden Journal
Connecticut Garden Journal is a weekly program hosted by horticulturalist Charlie Nardozzi. Each week, Charlie focuses on a topic relevant to both new and experienced gardeners, including pruning lilac bushes, growing blight-free tomatoes, groundcovers, sunflowers, bulbs, pests, and more.

Connecticut Garden Journal: One Pot Thriller, Filler, And Spiller Gardening

Field Outdoor Spaces
Creative Commons

It's Memorial Day weekend. Time to get planting. When you're selecting flowers for containers, it can get overwhelming. When you walk into a garden center, the flower choices and colors can bowl you over. Where to start? 

The simplest method is to plant one type of flower in each container. My mom used to always plant red and white geraniums in her pots on her front steps. It's simple and effective. You can mix and match colors by adding more containers.

But if you want to combine different flowers together in one pot use the thriller, filler, and spiller technique. This technique will maximize the amount of space filled with flowers above and below the container rim.

Here's how it works. Use a 14- to 16-inch diameter container to accommodate about seven plants. Select a tall, narrow growing plant for the thriller and place it in the center of the container. Some examples would be purple fountain grass, angelonia, and dracena.

Next, plant three filler plants around the base. Choose annual flowers that stand about one foot tall such as profusion zinnias, salvia, and dwarf marigolds.

Finally, plant three spiller plants in between the filler plants, along the pot's edge. Some examples are petunias, calibrachoa, and sweet potato vine. They will cascade over the container's rim and provide color to the ground.

Keep the scale of the plants proportional. The tall thriller shouldn't be more than twice the height of the filler plants. Keep the pot well watered and fertilized every other week and this one container will become a showpiece on your deck or patio all summer. 

Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about lavender. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content