How to Arrange Flower Planters


Planters overflowing with bright blooms and trailing green foliage add life to your deck or yard, and serve as a warm welcome to guests. Which plants you choose and how they are arranged sets the mood for the planter. When arranged properly, each plant enhances the overall effect of the display. The key to creating an attractive arrangement lies in choosing plants wisely and placing them in a way that allows their specific qualities to shine.

Step 1

Choose a large upright plant for the center of round planters or the back of rectangular containers viewed from one angle. This plant is referred to as the "thriller" and is typically the most dramatic plant in the container. Select an eye-catching plant for this position. (See resources for recommended plants.)

Step 2

Plant smaller mounding plants around the focal plant. These plants, referred to as "fillers," make up the bulk of the foliage in the container. Plant five or six, depending on the size of the planter. Select plants that provide contrast in shape and color to the focal plant.

Step 3

Add trailing plants, called "spillers," around the perimeter of containers viewed from all sides, or the front of those viewed from only one angle. Trailing petunias, nasturtiums, creeping Jenny, ivies or other trailing flowers create flow and draw the eye downward. Choose plants that complement or contrast the mounding plants.


  • Fine Gardening: Container Gardening
  • Grower Talks: Creating Killer Combos

Who Can Help

  • Gunter's Greenhouse: Thrillers Fillers Spiller
Keywords: arrange planters, arrange container plants, arrange window boxes

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.