Container Gardening

Containers have recently become a very popular way to grow nearly anything. They are easy, versatile, and always brighten up a drab area. Infinite sizes, colours, shapes, and styles, containers add interest to any space- patios, porches, balconies, and even existing gardens.

Choosing your container: Make sure your pot has drainage holes in the bottom or that it's deep enough to build a resevior. To build a resevior, add about 1"-2" of rocks or plastic recycling to the bottom of the pot under the soil. This gives excess water somewhere to go, rather than swamping the roots.

Growing Medium: It's best to use a sterile potting soil or peat moss. If it's not sterile it could be contaminated with weed seeds or fungus spores. Additives such as perlite and manure help control moisture levels and add necessary nutrients.


Herbs and vegetables are great for growing in containers. They require full sun so be sure to choose a sunny spot.

Annuals: The basic design "formula" for pots is "thiller, filler, and spiller". The amount of plants you use will depend on the size of the pot itself.

12" pot= 5 plants
14" pot= 7 plants
16" pot= 9 plants

The thriller is usually placed in the middle (if seen from all sides) or towards the back (if front/side views only). Then moving outwards/forwards add the fillers. Then finally along the outside edges add your spillers.

pot placement

T= thriller; F= filler; S= spiller


Remember, when you first plant your containers they will look sparse. They will fill in as the plants mature. Try not to over stuff them as it can result in over-crowded and unhealthy plants.

Thriller: Plants that add height and a bit of unique appeal. Good thrillers include:

- Dracena (spikes)- red or green
- Ornamental Grass- juncus, King Tut, baby Tut
- Tall Salvia varieties- usually blue but there is a new pink variety
- Canna Lilies
- Banana
- Palms

Filler: Mounding plants that won't reach the height of your thriller, but will fill in. Planted around or in front of the thriller.

- Pansies (especially good for the cool seasons
- Begonias
- Petunias
- Osteospermum
- Geraniums
- Crotons
- Gaura
- Carex Grasses

Spiller: Adds interest and flows out of the pot. Can be either flowers or only foliage.

- Million Bells (Calibrachoa)
- Bacopa
- Potato Vine
- Ivy/Vinca Vine
- Bidens
- Fiber Optic Grass
- Wandering Jew
- Red Threads