Thrillers, fillers and spillers - Autumn Potted Planters

Thrillers, fillers and spillers - Autumn Potted Planters

Keep colour going in your garden year round with planters suited to frosty conditions. Combos give the best display and Ellen has some ideas about how to do it creatively.

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Embracing the cooler mornings and changing leaf colours is one of the best parts of November, and even if you have to wrap up warm to take a walk, you’ll feel invigorated by the crisp air on your face. 

In the garden, Autumn is a busy time of year. From mulching the borders, to planting out garlic, onions and shallots along with planting the last of the spring bulbs out, sowing sweet peas, broad beans and winter salads - there is plenty to keep green fingers busy. One job I love doing is switching my pot plants from summer to winter. 

Even though autumn is well and truly here, there is no need for empty pots and containers. When the summer plants have finished flowering and your pots need a refresh, it’s time to bring out the vibrant autumn colours with plants that will still sit pretty after a frost. Not only will containers full of colour bring a splash of loveliness to your patch but they could also help wildlife with homes and food.  

Planting a container with a thriller, filler and spiller is a great way to make a stunning display with all of the plants that work well together. A thriller is the focal point or the plant that catches your eye and may be tall or brightly coloured. The fillers are the plants that fill in all the gaps and are usually medium to small in height and then finish off the display with a spiller which is the trailing plant that ‘spills’ over the edges of the container. 

Here are some combinations: 

Combo 1:

  • Thriller: Phormium
  • Filler: Pansies and Violas
  • Spiller: Ivy 

Combo 2:

  • Thriller: Dogwood 
  • Filler : Sedum and Asters
  • Spiller: Creeping Jenny

Don’t forget to water your new plants, put the container up on pot feet to help drainage when it is wet and if there is a really cold winter and you want to give them extra protection - move them to the greenhouse!



Text and Video by Ellen Mary

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