How to Fill a Patio Planter


Planters filled with lush green foliage and brightly colored blooms bring your patio to life and add atmosphere. The atmosphere depends on the plants chosen and their arrangement. Delicate, fragrant blooms create a romantic nook, while vibrant tropical plants instill thoughts of tropical islands and lazy hours in the sun. Although the size, style and shape vary, all require the same basic preparation to support healthy plant growth.

Step 1

Place a layer of rocks or broken terra cotta pots on the bottom of the planter to improve drainage.

Step 2

Fill ¾ full with potting mixture. Make your own with equal parts all-purpose potting soil, peat moss and perlite. Mix in a large container and water to moisten the mixture.

Step 3

Place tall, upright plants in the center of round planters. For rectangular planters viewed from one side, place upright plants at the back of the planter. As a rule, choose upright plants twice the height of the planter. This creates height and balance to the planting. Coneflowers, daisies or zinnias make a brilliant slash of color for sunny locations. Astilbe provides bright color for shaded areas.

Step 4

Add mounding plants around the center plant to fill in the area. Consider foliage plants like coleus in a variety of leaf shapes and textures to add contrast and visual appeal. Impatiens, begonias and dwarf marigolds provide good coverage and form mounds of color.

Step 5

Plant trailing or vining plants around the rim of the planter and allow to cascade over the sides. Consider wave or cascading petunias, nasturtiums or alyssum to create cascading waves of color.

Step 6

Rearrange plants until you create the look you desire. Fill in around the roots with soil mixture and firm down to remove air pockets and secure the plants. Water thoroughly until water runs freely through the bottom of the pot.

Things You'll Need

  • Planter
  • Potting medium (potting soil, peat moss, perlite)
  • Large bowl/bucket
  • Rocks/broken pots
  • Seedlings


  • University of Illinois: Successful Container Gardens
  • Colorado State Cooperative Extension: Container Gardening
  • Kansas State University: Container Gardening

Who Can Help

  • The Republican: Tips to Create Beautiful Container Gradens
Keywords: arrange planters, fill planter, patio planters, conatiner gardens

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.