If you’re familiar with container plantings you’ve probably heard the phrase “thriller, filler, and spiller” as a shorthand for mixing plants to create a pleasing combination. I would argue that the concepts of “color, texture, and form” from landscape design are actually more relevant – read on to learn more.
(Container plantings at Brightleaf Square in Durham Left: Tree Fern, Dragon Wing Begonia, and Euphorbia. Right: Ginger, Coleus and Euphorbia.)
Mixing plants with contrasting colors, textures, and forms is a surefire way to create a dynamic planting. In the above photos the Tree Fern and Ginger are providing the upright form, while the lower plants are filling in. Both also have dramatic textures – whether bold or fine. The dragon wing begonia adds a pop of flower color while the coleus is all about leaf color. In both cases the Euphorbia fills in any open space with it’s finely textured flowers and light green foliage. If you focus on color, texture and form a beautiful and high end container planting can come together with just three plants!