Flower Container Ideas for the Artistically Challenged

Lacking confidence when it comes to planting flower containers? Learn some easy, actionable flower container ideas and tips you can use no matter the size of your planting container. If you are looking for some flower container inspiration, you’re in the right place. I have a formula that I’ve used for years. If you read on, you will learn how to fill garden containers with winning, eye-catching combinations for months of colorful blooms.

My Favorite Flower Container Planting Event

Does anyone else get nervous when Fuchsia Saturday rolls around? Some of you may be wondering what that is. It’s the day our local Fred Meyer kindly pots up container plants for customers, potting soil included. You can even bring your own containers. I get the best flower pots ideas when I look around in the garden section. Of course, the plants have to be purchased at Fred Meyer, but what a deal! This year, I’m planning ahead and trying to have some flower container ideas in mind for my collection of five pots. If you need some good flower container ideas, including great thriller filler spiller ideas, read on!

flower container ideas pots

***Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.*** Already know what you’d like to get from Amazon? Here’s a handy way to get to the website, linked to a book with 101 flower container ideas. There’s bound to be one for you. Just click on the link, then browse around and do your shopping.

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Building Confidence by Collecting Flower Container Ideas

I’m not a very confident gardener, and I’m also artistically challenged. When it comes to arranging things, I’m at a loss. Anyone else have that problem? So I did some research, called my mom (yes, I’m thankful I can turn to my mom for advice), and here are the ideas I found. If you have a fear of arranging things and need some flower container ideas like I do, read on. You will get some easy flower pot ideas you can use right away!

Flower Container Ideas Pinterest Image

Thriller, Spiller, Filler

Have you ever heard that saying before? I read it somewhere, and it fits perfectly for the round pots that I’m going to fill. It’s one bit of gardening information that has stuck with me. It means there should be a plant in the center that is tall and noticeable, the thriller. Then, around the thriller, the container should be filled in with other plants, called (yes, you guessed it) fillers. Finally, there should be plants that drape or spill over the sides of the pot, called spillers. Now, even though I can remember that saying, I have trouble remembering which plants make good thrillers, spillers or fillers. Another big challenge is finding a good combination of colors. First, here are some example plants from each category.


A thriller should be planted in the center (or at the back, if only being viewed from one side) before anything else is planted in the pot. Good examples of thriller plants include snapdragons, dahlias, canna lilies, geraniums, salvia, or ornamental grasses. My pots are not huge, so I am going to go with a thriller on the smaller side, maybe 12 to 18 inches tall. Choosing a worthy thriller is a challenge for me. It’s the plant that everything else is built around, so it has to be stunning. When my mom creates her flower containers, she starts with the color of her thriller, which is usually a pink or salmon-colored geranium. She then chooses other plants with colors compatible to the geranium. Here are some pots I filled following that method. I think they turned out well.

flower container ideas five pots filled


After planting the thriller, then insert the fillers. Some popular fillers include petunias, begonias, marigolds, arabis and gerbera daisies. Examples of filler foliage plants include heuchera and caladium. Many of the filler foliage plants are variegated with different colors, such as white and green or pink and green. Some heuchera (also known as coral bell) leaves are a stunning deep purple.

Flower container ideas arabis
Arabis “Spring Charm” would make a good filler.


Planted around the edge of the container should be the spillers. Good examples of spillers include trailing lobelia, petunias, bacopa, trailing nasturtiums, and fuchsias. Spillers can also be foliage plants such as ivy and sweet potato vine.

flower arrangement ideas petunia
Petunias spilling over the side of a hanging basket

What About the Color Combinations?

As I scrolled through a plethora of ideas, there were some combinations I kept seeing repeatedly. Many foliage containers featured bright green with deep purple. Light green foliage with and pink flowers appeared often, as well as yellow, purple and red together. My personal favorites combine pink, purple and blue flowers, with some yellow blooming accents. I really want to brighten up our yard, so I’m going to focus on flowers, not foliage.

Visual Inspiration From My Flower Container Ideas Pinterest Board Section

This is all great advice, but I’m a visual person. I always hope that if I look at something long enough, it will stick in my mind and I’ll be able to duplicate it somehow. That’s why I love Pinterest boards. If I look at other people’s creative ideas, maybe some of the creativity or artistic ability will rub off on me. To assist me in my idea-gathering for this post, I created a new board on Pinterest to share some great container gardening ideas for flowers. If you click on the picture below, you will be taken directly there to view all of the colorful options I found.

Flower container ideas pinterest

My Mom’s Best Flower Container Tip

Now for another bit of advice from my mom. Use pre-fertilized potting soil, like Miracle-Gro to give plants a boost. You won’t have to fertilize until the summertime. Great tip! I used that tip with these flower containers, and they thrived. You can see the thriller in the middle, the geranium. The fillers are the marigolds, and the spillers are the blue lobelia.

flower container ideas five pots overhead shot

Now Feeling Much Better Prepared

As a result of my research for this blog post and the ideas I’ve collected, I now feel much more well-prepared for the infamous Fuchsia Saturday. I know it will probably be chaotic, crowded and filled with frenzy, but I will approach it with confidence.  Now if I can only find the plants I listed above, in the right colors, everything will be fine. What about you? Have you already planted your flower containers for the season? Do you have any advice for me? I can use all of the help I can get when it comes to arranging anything. What are your go-to plants? I welcome any ideas. As always, I value your input immensely.

flower container ideas

Referring Back to My Garden Planner Notebook

Last year, as a result of needing to keep track of what kind of plants I used in containers, I decided to begin a garden planner notebook. I planned to have tasks and notes for each month. I sort of kept up with it. If a garden planner notebook seems like a good idea to you, good news! I’m adding the 16 master pages to the free resource library for subscribers to the Fluxing Well blog. You can get it here!

sunflower garden planner printable

Get the garden planner!

What About Your Garden Container Experiences?

I hope this has given you some ideas for planting garden containers. Do you have any advice for me? If you take the time to give me a tip, I’ll even write it down in my garden notebook. So if you have any tips or hints, please let me know.  If you like what you’ve read today, and would enjoy receiving my latest blog posts before they are shared anywhere else, please consider subscribing. You will also gain access to my free resource library for bloggers, teachers, gardeners, and cooks. Have a wonderful week, and may all of your garden container endeavors meet with success!

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Lisa Mitchell is a wife, mom, and school librarian who likes to grow fruit, vegetables, and flowers on her family’s small Pacific Northwest farm. To learn more about what this website has to offer gardeners, click on over to the Garden page.

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14 thoughts on “Flower Container Ideas for the Artistically Challenged”

  1. I love creating containers! These are great ideas. I use all of them. I love that you can take your containers to get them planted! What a great service.

    I have spring fever too.

    • Cindy,

      It is a great thing for the community. The only problem is, where I live it’s a little bit chillier than neighboring towns, so the weather is usually not very warm, but we always optimistically plant the containers anyway and hope for the best. Thanks so much for commenting. I’m glad you can use the ideas.


  2. In our family, my husband is the gardener. I only assist by choosing the colors sometimes:) This was a very interesting article! Thank you, Lisa!

    • Hadassah,

      My husband is much better than I at choosing colors as well, but somehow the planting containers have become my thing. It’s good for me to get some garden design and plant arrangement practice. Thanks for commenting, and happy gardening with your husband.


  3. Good tips. I usually just plant to eat unless it’s something to help keep bugs out of the garden.

    • Mike,

      I plant to eat as well and I love to just be able to go out to the garden and pick fresh food for dinner. Thanks for commenting!


  4. I would love to have a garden, I wish I had the creativity for a garden. You have included so many different tips and types of plants. I will definitely be back here when I finally get a garden.

    • Sarah,

      If it’s any encouragement, I just learn by trial and error, and error, and error. If something doesn’t work, I just try something else. I think that’s why I tend to focus more on the vegetable garden rather than landscaping. The veggies are seasonal, and if I don’t like the way something turned out, there’s always next year. Thanks so much for your comment, and I hope you get to have a garden someday.


  5. This is incredible. I’ve wanted to start a garden with flowers, herbs and crops but I had no idea how to. A couple days ago I finally started measuring everything, and designing a layout. Since I’ve never done any of this I was feeling overwhelmed. But I’ll definitely use your tips to plant my flowers. I didn’t know about Thriller-Spiller-Filler and that’s going to be so helpful in making my garden look beautiful and organized.

    Have a great day.

    • Estee,

      I am so happy you found my ideas to be helpful. That is a big boost to me as a gardener who lack confidence. I think there are many people out there who would love to plant something but aren’t sure where to start. I’m very glad you feel you can use these tips to help you. THanks so much for your positive comment!


  6. Great tips, Lisa! If I can just get past the snow, (we had another storm yesterday), I will be ready to start planting. I also struggle because I need planters for my very shady front porch. But I got some pointers from your post.

    • Wendy,

      I can’t wait until it warms up some more. I’m eager for bright spots of color. Glad you got some good ideas, and thanks for commenting!


  7. I am incredibly ‘artistically challenged’ I lack the creativity for a garden, but I know I’m always safe with my geraniums! They’re so beautiful. I love the range of plants you have included in this post – some great tips, thank you so much xxx


    • Ashley,

      I love geraniums too! I was unable to plant them in my containers this year because the ones at the store were too small. I was afraid they would get hidden by my fillers. I ended up going with calla lilies in some and snapdragons in others, but I wish I could have found some taller geraniums. Good luck with all of your planting endeavors, and thank you for your comment.



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