Thrillers, Fillers, & Spillers – Oh My! A How-To For Fall Planters

Published by Bucks Country Gardens in Home DecorLawn & Garden

Autumn is an exciting time—especially to fall fanatics. They embrace the shorter days, chillier mornings, and vibrant fall colors. Although the warmth of summer still lingers during the day, the cooler temperature is hiding right around the corner.

So, welcome the change in the air and get into the fall spirit.

Swap out that summer wreath on the door and freshen up summer planters on the porch with the bold bright colors of the fall season. You might say, “Why? My summer planters still look great!”

That may be true, however, now is an ideal time to take advantage of the beautiful fall blooming annuals such as pansies, ornamental peppers, and asters. This time of year, many annuals are available in larger size containers. This includes mums, asters, cabbage, and kale, which are a great value to fill up spots in the landscape or container gardens. Also, your fall annuals can tolerate a light frost better than your summer annuals can. Pansies, cabbage, and kale, depending on weather, will continue to last well into the winter months.

It’s best to take the opportunity to grab these beauties before they are all gone, instead of waiting for your summer annuals to be officially spent. If you make the change now, you’ll have plenty of time to sit back, drink your pumpkin spice lattes, and enjoy the fall season. Colorful bliss.

Follow these tips to create your magnificent fall masterpiece as well as photos of our very own sample planter, compliments of Marilyn Fanning, Greenhouse Design & Sales.

Fall Planter Choices

Step 1: Choose A “Thriller” For Your Fall Planter

Little Bunny Fountain GrassThis is the eye catcher of the container, the keystone everything else revolves around. A thriller is typically the defining height of your container, or maybe something with color or texture. Ornamental grasses make great “thrillers” for fall planters; they add just the right amount of height, texture, and movement to the container. In this case we used Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Little Bunny’, a lovely fountain grass.

Step 2: Pick Out Those “Fillers” Fillers

Generally, these are mid-height plants that round out your container. Pick out several to fill in your container to compliment the “thriller” plant. Work from the biggest to smallest. Great examples of “fillers” are the following: Mums, Ornamental Peppers, Asters, Cabbage/Kale, Pansies, Coral Bells, and even mini pumpkins and gourds.

For this container, we used a sunbeam yellow Mum, Croton, also known as Joseph’s Coat, due to it’s spectacular display of leaves, pure violet Pansies, and ‘Red Missile’ Ornamental Peppers. They give it an autumn palette that pops.

Step 3: Add A “Spiller”

 Spillers are a trailer or cascading element of your planter. Ivy is a great selection to spill over the sides and soften the overall look, which we displayed in our example planter. Cut any excess length from the spiller; it should overflow, but within reason.

Trimming Spiller

Finishing Touch

Be sure to water in the planter with enough for the roots and plants to settle in. We even created mirrored planters, perfect to place on either side of a door to welcome guests to your home. If you need help designing your fall planter, stop in and let one of our talented designers help you pick out the perfect thriller, filler, and spiller for your container.

Becky Jones | Green Goods Manager

Demo by Marilyn Fanning | Greenhouse Design & Sales

Mirrored Planters