May 13, 2018
I don’t think there is anything more inviting or beautiful than a large and colorful combination container prominently displayed on the patio. These elaborate containers seem like they would be hard for the home gardener to make, but not if you remember the following ingredients: Thriller, filler and spiller. Thriller plants add height and excitement to the container. Plants that have grassy qualities are good choices. Dracena spikes are an old standby with the long straight leaves providing great height. Papyrus is a good choice with its umbellate inflorescence with 100’s of thread-like rays. And grass-like Gaura has flower covered stems that dance in the slightest breeze. Filler plants take up and fill the middle space in the combination. I really like using sweet potato vine. The foliage definitely fills in, is available in many colors, and increases interest. Coleus is another great choice; the kaleidoscope of colors adds beauty and appeal. I think calibrachoa may be an under used filler. They seem made to be grown in a combination container. Spiller plants want to sprawl out and over the container edge. Scaevola is a really good choice, available in colors ranging from white to red. Verbena has a wide variety of colors on strongly trailing stems, and will flower all summer. And how can I neglect to mention petunias as spillers, like Headliner Pink Star and Headliner Yellow. The funnel-shaped flowers add great color. Combination containers are as easy as 1, 2, 3 if you follow today’s recipe tips. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.