Filler plants are the bridge between the thrillers (tall, attention-grabbing plants) and the spillers (trailing plants that spill over the edges of the container). They serve as the backbone of your arrangement, filling the space between the focal point plants and the edge of the pot. These plants are typically medium in height and have a bushy or mounding growth habit, helping to provide a well-rounded and visually pleasing structure to your container garden.

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More Information About Fillers

Like the name says, filler plants are there to fill up space in a container garden. The term "filler" does not do these plants justice though. It would be better to call filler plants "accessories" or "accents" or "visual cement" but unfortunately none of these words rhymes with thriller and spiller and the focus groups did not like the alternative marketing term "presenters-cementers-descenters". Like any accent or accessory, filler plants for container gardening support the main theme of the container garden and highlight the main decorative element, the "thriller".

Container gardening is a versatile and delightful way to bring a touch of greenery and beauty to any space, no matter how limited. While the spotlight often shines on show-stopping thriller plants and cascading spiller plants, it's the unsung heroes known as filler plants that bring harmony and cohesion to your container arrangements. These unassuming plants play a crucial role in creating lush, well-balanced compositions that captivate the eye and elevate your outdoor or indoor spaces.

Choosing the Right Filler Plants

When selecting filler plants for your container garden, consider factors like color, texture, growth habit, and the specific growing conditions of your chosen location. Here are a few excellent choices for filler plants:

Salvia - With its vibrant spikes of flowers in hues of blue, purple, red, or white, salvia is a reliable filler plant that attracts pollinators and adds a pop of color to your containers.

Monarda (Bee Balm) - Known for its unique tubular flowers and aromatic foliage, Monarda adds both color and fragrance to your container arrangement, attracting pollinators along the way.

Lantana - With clusters of small, brightly colored flowers, lantana provides long-lasting blooms and attracts butterflies, making it an excellent choice for a filler plant.

Heuchera (Coral Bells) - These plants offer a range of foliage colors, from deep purples to vibrant greens, and they thrive in both sun and shade, adding versatility to your container garden.

Hosta - With their elegant and broad leaves, hostas are great filler plants that bring a lush and textured look to your containers, especially in shade or part-shade conditions.

Cyrtomium (Holly Fern) - If you're looking for a filler plant with interesting foliage, the holly fern's glossy fronds add a touch of evergreen elegance to your container garden.

Tips for Using Filler Plants Effectively

  1. Balance and Proportion: Aim for a balanced composition by choosing filler plants that complement the size and shape of your thriller and spiller plants.
  2. Color Harmony: Select filler plants that harmonize with the color scheme of your container garden. Contrasting or complementary colors can create captivating visual effects.
  3. Height Variation: Opt for filler plants with varying heights to add depth and dimension to your arrangement. This will prevent your container from appearing flat and monotonous.
  4. Maintenance: Consider the maintenance needs of your filler plants. Choose plants that have similar care requirements to ensure your container garden thrives.
  5. Regular Pruning: Filler plants can become leggy over time. Regularly trim and deadhead to maintain their shape and encourage healthy growth.

Check out all our blog posts on plants for containers.