Flower Container Ideas for the Artistically Challenged

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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 garden flower container ideas, you’re in the right place. I have a formula that I’ve used for years. You will learn how to fill garden containers with winning, eye-catching combinations for months of colorful blooms. Ready for some flower container ideas for the beginning gardener? Or anyone who lacks container garden confidence? Read on!

My Favorite Flower Container Planting Event


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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 (not just fuschias) for customers, potting soil included. You can even bring in up to eight of your own containers that are 12 inches or less in diameter. 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!

 

Here is a good example of a lightweight, classic-looking garden container (above) that would be perfect for taking to an event like Fuschia Saturday. 

Building Confidence with Flower Container Ideas

When I started planting flower containers, I was not a very confident gardener. I’m also artistically challenged. When it comes to arranging things, I’m often 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 now I plant containers with confidence. If you have a fear of arranging things and need some flower container ideas, read on. You will get some easy flower pot ideas you can use right away! (I’ve also got some easy cut flower arrangement tips.)

Flower Container Ideas Pinterest Image

How Do You Make a Beautiful Container Garden?

Creating a beautiful container garden requires some planning and attention to detail. Here are some tips to help you get great outdoor potted plant arrangement ideas and make a beautiful container garden:

Choose the right container: Start by choosing a container that is the right size and style for the space and the plants you want to grow. Make sure it has drainage holes to prevent water from pooling.

Select the right plants: Choose plants that are appropriate for the amount of sun or shade the container will receive, and that have similar water and fertilizer needs. You can also mix different types of plants for a more interesting and diverse display.

Use high-quality soil: Use a high-quality potting mix that is formulated for container gardening. Avoid using soil from your yard, as it may contain weeds, pests, or diseases. My favorite potting soil is produced by Miracle-Gro. I am not very good about remembering to fertilize my container plants throughout the summer. This potting soil takes care of that for me.

 

Add fertilizer: Container plants need regular fertilization to thrive. You can use a slow-release fertilizer or add liquid fertilizer every few weeks.

Use a variety of textures and colors: Mix plants with different textures and colors to create a visually interesting display. Use tall plants for height, trailing plants for a cascading effect, and fillers for volume.

Incorporate hardscaping: Add elements like rocks, stones, or ornaments to your container garden for added interest and texture.

Maintain the garden: Regular maintenance is key to keeping your container garden beautiful. Water the plants regularly, deadhead spent flowers, and prune as needed.

By following these tips, you can create a beautiful and thriving container garden that will enhance any outdoor space.

What Kind of Flower Pot Designs and Containers Do You Use for Flowers?

flower container ideas marigolds and petunias in a pot
I like to use containers with little matching pot feet when I can find them.

Here are some tips about the best flower pot designs. A good outdoor garden container should be durable, functional, and attractive. Here are some features to look for when selecting a container for the flowering pots in your outdoor garden:

Material: Choose a container made of a durable material that can withstand the elements, such as ceramic, concrete, metal, or plastic. I like to use resin pots that look like terra cotta but are much lighter in weight, so they are easier to move around. These flower pot designs are good examples:

 

Drainage: Make sure the container has drainage holes or the ability to drill holes so excess water can escape. This will prevent waterlogging and root rot.

Size: Choose a container that is appropriate for the size of the plant or plants you want to grow. The container should be deep enough to accommodate the roots, but not too large that it overwhelms the plant or takes up too much space. My favorite size is about 12 inches in diameter and about 12 inches tall.

Insulation: If you live in an area with extreme temperatures, consider a container that provides insulation to protect the roots of the plants from freezing or overheating.

Mobility: If you plan to move the container frequently or if you live in a windy area, choose a container that is sturdy and has a broad base for stability.

Style: Choose a container that complements your outdoor space and the style of your home. Consider the color, texture, and design of the container to create an attractive and cohesive look. Here is an all-purpose, lightweight, versatile flower container that would complement many decor styles:

 

By selecting a container that meets these criteria for flower pot designs, you can create an outdoor garden that is not only beautiful but also functional and long-lasting.

Creative Ideas for Plant Containers and Flower Pot Arrangements

As long as you are able to make holes in the bottom of the container for drainage, just about any type of container could be a plant container. You could repurpose leaky watering cans, buckets, sand pails, and even old mixing bowls. I have even seen succulents planted in an old pair of gardening boots. You can even get a flower container that looks like a piece of wood.

 

There are flower containers made to look like stone statues of animals. Whatever your decor style, there are creative ideas for plant containers. Have fun looking around for unique flower container ideas for some of your favorite flowering plants.

What is the Easiest Container Flower to Grow?

flower container ideas yellow and purple petunias

There are several easy-to-grow container flowers that are perfect for beginners or those who don’t have a lot of time or experience with gardening. Here are a few examples:

Marigolds: Marigolds are a classic and cheerful flower that bloom in shades of yellow, orange, and red. They are easy to grow from seed and thrive in containers with well-draining soil and full sun.

Petunias: Petunias are another popular and easy-to-grow container flower that come in a variety of colors and patterns. They prefer well-draining soil and full sun or partial shade.

Impatiens: Impatiens are a shade-loving flower that bloom in shades of pink, white, and red. They are easy to grow from seed and thrive in moist, well-draining soil.

Geraniums: Geraniums are a hardy and long-lasting container flower that bloom in shades of pink, red, and white. They prefer well-draining soil and full sun or partial shade.

Zinnias: Zinnias are a colorful and drought-tolerant flower that bloom in shades of pink, red, yellow, and orange. They are easy to grow from seed and prefer well-draining soil and full sun.

These flowers are generally easy to care for and can be grown in containers on a balcony, patio, or windowsill. They are also widely available at nurseries and garden centers.

What Flowers Can Be Potted Together?

To get ideas for which flowers can be potted together, I look around at restaurants, homes I visit, and even our favorite amusement park, Silverwood. Here is a stunning arrangement planted with two kinds of flowers.

flower container ideas Silverwood

The salvia in the middle forms a pleasing contrast with the petunias that are filling the planter and spilling over the side. That brings me to the perfect formula for flower container ideas, below.

Thriller, Spiller, Filler Foolproof Planting Formula

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.

Thrillers

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

Fillers

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.

Spillers

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 my photos of flower container ideas, I noticed some interesting combinations. Some containers featured bright green foliage with deep purple foliage. Light green foliage with and pink flowers appeared often, as well as yellow, purple and red together. My personal favorites combine pink, blue or purple flowers, with some yellow blooming accents. I really want to brighten up our yard, so I’m going to focus on flowers, not foliage.

My Tried and True Trusty Flower Container Plan

Still lacking flower container confidence? Now that we have discussed the different kinds of flowers that are easy to grow in containers, plus the “Thriller, Filler, Spiller” formula, perhaps you would like me to tell you exactly the plants and colors to choose. This is one of the best plant combination ideas for container gardens in full sun. Here is the tried and true plan for flower pot arrangements I use nearly every spring for a 12-inch diameter pot:

1 pink or salmon-colored geranium (Thriller)

3 sunny yellow marigolds (Filler)

3 blue lobelia plants (Spiller)

Line the bottom of the container with a mesh weed barrier cloth, burlap, or other cloth that will let the water drain through the drainage hole but that will not allow potting soil to escape. Fill the container about half full of potting soil, then place the geranium in the center. evenly distribute the three marigolds around the edge, alternating with the three lobelia around the edge of the pot. Fill in the spaces between the plants with potting soil. Press the soil down and add some water. Add more soil, pressing it in until it comes to about an inch below the container lip. Place the container in a sunny location and enjoy blooms all summer long with your amazing flower pot arrangements.

flower container ideas first day of school petunias in pots
Here I am on the first day of school in September. The petunias in these flower containers are starting to look a little scraggly, but are still very colorful.

Flower Planter Ideas: Making Substitutions

Sometimes you might not be able to find the plants you are looking for in the right color. Substitutions may be made. In the flower containers below, I had to substitute sunny yellow snapdragons for marigolds because I could not find the right shade of yellow marigold for my flower planters.

easy garden container ideas geranium lobelia and snapdragons

 

Cheap Container Gardening Ideas

On a tight budget? Consider sourcing your garden containers from second hand stores. Purchase containers that are sturdy enough to be reused every year. Use coupons and sales to source your plants, and take advantage of special events like the Fuschia Saturday event at Fred Meyer previously mentioned. Getting someone else to pot up your plants for free is a huge win.

Spring Flower Container Ideas

flower container ideas purple pansies

Spring is a wonderful time to create beautiful container gardens with colorful and fragrant flowers. Some are annual flower container ideas and others are outdoor flower container ideas for bulbs. Here are some ideas for the best spring flower container combinations:

Tulips and Daffodils: These spring-blooming bulbs come in a variety of colors and make a beautiful combination when planted together. Plant them in a container with well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight.

Violas and Pansies: These cool-season annuals come in a range of colors and are perfect for adding pops of color to your spring garden. They prefer cooler temperatures and partial shade.

Hyacinths and Grape Hyacinths: These bulbs have a sweet fragrance and come in shades of pink, purple, and blue. Plant them in a container with well-draining soil and full sun to partial shade.

Primroses and Forget-Me-Nots: These colorful and delicate flowers are perfect for creating a charming spring container garden. Plant them in a container with moist soil and partial shade.

flower container ideas primroses and pansies

Spring Bulb Mix: Mix different types of bulbs like tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and crocuses for a diverse and beautiful spring display. Plant them in a container with well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight.

Ranunculus and Anemones: These flowers have bright, cheerful colors and make a stunning spring container combination. Plant them in a container with well-draining soil and full sun.

Snapdragons and Sweet William: These flowers are easy to grow and come in a range of colors. Plant them in a container with well-draining soil and full sun to partial shade.

By combining different types of flowers, colors, and textures, you can create a beautiful and diverse spring container garden that will brighten up any outdoor space.

Summer Flower Container Ideas

flower container ideas geraniums and daisies with purple foliage

Summer is a great time to create vibrant and lush container gardens. Here are some ideas for the best summer flower container combinations:

Geraniums and Petunias: These classic summer flowers come in a range of colors and thrive in full sun. Plant them in a container with well-draining soil and water them regularly.

Sunflowers and Zinnias: These tall and showy flowers are perfect for creating a bold and colorful container garden. Plant them in a large container with well-draining soil and full sun.

Marigolds and Salvia: These low-maintenance and drought-tolerant flowers come in a range of colors and attract pollinators to your garden. Plant them in a container with well-draining soil and full sun.

Dahlias and Begonias: These flowers have large, showy blooms and come in a range of colors. Plant them in a container with well-draining soil and partial shade.

Coleus and Impatiens: These shade-loving plants come in a range of colors and are perfect for creating a lush and vibrant container garden. Plant them in a container with moist soil and partial shade.

Cannas and Caladiums: These tropical plants have large, colorful leaves and thrive in full sun to partial shade. Plant them in a container with well-draining soil and water them regularly.

flower container ideas flax petunias and geraniums
New Zealand flax makes a striking, spiky thriller in the center of this flower container.

Lantana and Verbena: These heat-tolerant flowers come in a range of colors and attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. Plant them in a container with well-draining soil and full sun.

By combining different types of flowers and plants, you can create a beautiful and diverse summer container garden that will thrive in the heat and add color and interest to your outdoor space.

Fall Flower Container Ideas

flower container ideas mums on a stepladder

Fall is a wonderful time to create container gardens with warm colors and seasonal plants. Here are some ideas for the best fall flower container combinations:

Mums and Asters: These classic fall flowers come in shades of yellow, orange, red, and purple, and are perfect for creating a traditional fall container garden. Plant them in a container with well-draining soil and full sun to partial shade.

flower container ideas mums and pumpkins

Ornamental Grasses and Sedums: These plants add texture and interest to your fall container garden and are easy to care for. Plant them in a container with well-draining soil and full sun to partial shade.

Pansies and Violas: These cool-season annuals come in a range of colors and are perfect for adding pops of color to your fall container garden. They prefer cooler temperatures and partial shade.

Kale and Cabbage: These ornamental plants have colorful and textured leaves that add interest to your fall container garden. Plant them in a container with well-draining soil and full sun.

Fall Bulb Mix: Mix different types of bulbs like crocuses, daffodils, and tulips for a diverse and beautiful fall display. Plant them in a container with well-draining soil and full sun.

Fuchsia and Coleus: These shade-loving plants have vibrant colors and add a pop of color to your fall container garden. Plant them in a container with moist soil and partial shade.

Heuchera and Coral Bells: These plants have colorful and textured leaves that come in shades of purple, red, and green. Plant them in a container with well-draining soil and partial shade.

By combining different types of flowers, plants, and foliage, you can create a beautiful and diverse fall container garden that will add color and interest to your outdoor space.

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 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

Feeling Prepared for Fuschia Saturday

As a result of my research 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 want 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

More Planting Ideas

Interested in more easy-care planting ideas that will make your garden look great? Check out this dahlia planting guide and additional directions on dividing the tubers with ease. Dahlias offer months of blooms, perfect for stunning cut flower arrangements. Make a simple DIY pole bean trellis tower with repurposed materials for vertical interest in your vegetable garden. Learn about growing low-maintenance old garden roses that are deer-resistant, too. For blooms that return every year, get ideas about some fabulous flowering shrubs and perennials. For ideas about companion planting, have a look at the best rhubarb companions, columbine companions, rosemary companions, eggplant companions, and pumpkin companion plants. There are many planting possibilities!

Free 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! You can get the 16 master pages 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. Have a wonderful week, and may all of your garden container endeavors meet with success!

First Name Signature Conclusion

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

  1. Hello, my. Question, being financially challenged is – do you use and re-use the same pots, spring, summer and autumn? If so what do you do with all the spring bulbs when planting up for summer. I’ve gone a bit mad this year but with no cohesion! Your ideas are definitely what I’ll be doing next year. Thanks for so many helpful hints and tips.

    Reply
    • Yes, I definitely use the same pots over and over. I have a stack of them in my garden shed that I reuse as long as they last. I have enough pots that I use the same ones every year for spring and summer, then different ones for other times of the year. For the bulbs in pots, I just keep the bulbs in them and overwinter, but if you need to use the same pots for summer that you used for spring blooming bulbs, you could either plant the bulbs in your yard and mark out the spot for digging up, or if you have no room in a yard, you could put the bulbs and soil in a box or other temporary container until you replant them in a container the next year. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  2. Fillers, thrillers, spillers! I love this formula. This post is so helpful, thanks!

    Reply
    • You are welcome! I am getting ready to pick up my go-to thrillers, spillers, and fillers today!

      Reply
  3. Thank you for sharing your flower container ideas. I usually use white cermic flower pots or brown clay pots because I’m into minimalist aesthetic. But I might reconsider other designs next time I fix my garden. Thanks!

    Reply
    • You are most welcome. Yes, simple flower pots are very versatile to decorate with.

      Reply
  4. I’m so excited it’s almost planting season. Thank you for the fabulous flower container ideas for the artistically challenged! I’ve always struggled with planting but love the look of beautiful flowers on my porch and patio. I’m excited to implement some of your tips this spring!

    Reply
    • Great! I would love to see photos of your creations.

      Reply
  5. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Lisa

      Reply
  6. 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!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Lisa

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

    Reply
    • 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!

      Lisa

      Reply
  8. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Lisa

      Reply
  9. 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.

    Reply
    • 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!

      Lisa

      Reply
  10. 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.

    Reply
    • 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!

      Lisa

      Reply
  11. 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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Lisa

      Reply

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