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Mixed Container Help Guide

The Basics

  • Prior to picking your plants or color scheme choose the location for your mixed container.  Will it be a hanging basket or a patio pot? Is it a sunny or shady spot? Will you see the container from 3-sides or all sides?  These questions will affect the layout and what plants you select.

  • Dynamic mixed containers have a combination of Thrillers, Fillers, and Spillers.

  • If you are seeing the container from 3-sides; start with your thriller in the back, working forward.   If you are seeing the container from all sides; place the thriller in the center and work outward in all directions.

  • Remember to be careful when mixing aggressive and less aggressive plants together in a single container.  Avoid placing them directly next to each other.

  • Before planting, check that your container has drainage holes in the bottom.  Drill 2-3 holes if necessary.


  • Usually the tallest plant in the container.  Thrillers grab your attention and serve as the backbone of the combination.

  • Thrillers include: angelonia, coffee cups, coleus, cordyline, perilla, dragon wing begonia, persian shield, salvia, spikes, etc.


  • Tend to be your mid-sized and bushy plants.  They are shorter than the thriller, but taller than your spiller.  Fillers fill out and give body to the combination.

  • Fillers include: diamond frost, geranium, new guinea impatiens, pentas, plectranthus, strawflower, sunpatiens, etc.


  • Are the plants that go over the edge and trail down towards the ground.  Spillers offer visual balance and serve as the tail of the planting.

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