How to Design a Container Garden

by Tracey Lizza 11/07/2021

Container gardens are a plant-lover’s art form. With so much room for creativity and combinations of plants and flowers, you can achieve countless eye-catching designs. However, the amount of choices can also seem daunting. How do you know which plants to choose for your container? Here are some basic tips to help you choose the best companion plants for a beautiful container garden:

Match Growing Conditions

The most important factor in designing a successful container garden is choosing plants that have similar environmental needs. Plants with the same light and water requirements will thrive together, while those that are different will struggle. Unless you’re creating a garden in a stationary planter, container gardens offer the flexibility to move them to the ideal amount of sun or shade. Even still, select plants that all have the same sunlight preferences and watering needs.

Combine Flowers & Foliage

You don’t have to rely on flowers to achieve beautiful and vibrant container garden looks. There are many plants with colorful foliage you can use in combination or just on their own. Some outstanding examples of plants with stunning leaves are coleus, caladium and hosta. These plants produce foliage to rival even the most colorful flower combinations, making them an excellent choice to consider in your container garden design.

Thrillers, Fillers & Spillers

Combine plants that will grow in a variety of sizes and shapes to get a dynamic aesthetic for your garden. You might encounter the terms “thrillers, fillers and spillers” in descriptions of plant types. In the gardening and landscaping world, these terms refer to the general shape and physical presence a plant will have in a container. Thrillers are plants that grow tall, fillers are more dense and medium-height and spillers will trail or hang over the edge of the container. A healthy mix of all three will help you achieve an exciting design.

Consider Container Size

Your goal might be to have a lush container garden that looks like it’s bursting with color, but be careful to use a big enough container. Remember that most plants will grow to fill the space provided, so there’s nothing wrong with a little breathing room in the beginning. Besides, it’s always easier to add another plant into the container than struggle to fit too many of them together. Many gardeners suggest a 1-to-3 ratio when planning the amount of plants to include. For instance, a container measuring 12 inches across could comfortably fit three 4-inch pot-sized plants.

Color Creatively

If you’re stumped on color choices, there are some strategies you can use to design your garden. One strategy is to choose a focus plant and then build around it. What colors will look best with this plant? Do you want to match for an abundance of the same color or create contrast? Another strategy is to look at an artists’ color wheel to find complementary colors. You can achieve an eye-catching look with a mix of opposite colors and those that are close together in the spectrum.

With so much room for creativity, choosing plants for a container garden might seem like a daunting task. However, if you stick to these tips, you should have an easier time creating a beautiful design full of plants that will thrive together.

About the Author
Author

Tracey Lizza

 TRACEY LIZZA - Buying or selling a home is more than just a transaction: it’s a life-changing experience. Tracey is dedicated to providing exceptional, personalized service with total discretion for all of her clients. She takes great pride in the relationships she builds and always works relentlessly on the client’s behalf to help them achieve their real estate goals. Tracey places a high value on responsiveness and availability. She works with her clients every step of the way whether they are buying, renting or selling. A career as a real estate professional has been a perfect fit for Tracey. She has had a varied background in the marketing communications field including having worked in the international fashion industry as a buyer for over a decade. Combined with a personal selection of residential and commercial properties, Tracey brings her expertise along with firsthand experience. Tracey and her family enjoy the Shoreline lifestyle of Southeastern Connecticut and have garnered great pleasure volunteering and being active in her community and children’s schools. Tracey interests include gardening, fishing and boating. 

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CAROL GESSNER - As a full-time Realtor I have the knowledge you need to get your home sold or find a new one. I am highly dedicated to bringing you customer service that exceeds your expectations. You can expect nothing less than superior professionalism and integrity from me. I have lived in southeastern Connecticut for 35 years. I grew up here. I have a connection to this community and the people who call it home. When I'm not helping my clients, I enjoy gardening, cooking and traveling. My true passions in life are my husband James, and our kids Nicholas and Nola. 

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