Information Center

  • Annuals

Thriller, Filler, and Spiller

Welcome to the gardening season! We are absolutely buzzing over here at the nursery with all the good weather, sunshine, and plants we’ve been surrounded by. It’s time to dive deep into the depths of the ever so loved ‘Thriller, Filler, Spiller’ combo for annual planters.

For those who are not familiar with the ‘Thriller, Filler, Spiller’ combo for annual planter/container gardening it is a ‘formula’ that guides the gardener in putting together their annual planters. It allows even the newest gardener to create annual planters that look like they were made by a professional.

Here are some things you’ll need to know:

You’ll need three types of plants; thrillers, fillers, and spillers. They should all have similar watering and light requirements to ensure they will all thrive in the same containers and conditions. There are two main ways to plant in your planter all depending on where you are placing your pot. If your container will be viewable from all sides, you will need to plant your annuals starting from the center. If your planter will only be viewable from one side you will need to plant your annuals starting in the back.

Thrillers: These plants are the stars of the show (or at least they like to think they are because all plants are the stars in our eyes). Thrillers will be the largest plant in the container and are the main vertical component. Your thriller plant will be the first annual you plant in your planter. Depending on where you are placing your planter and the view of it, you will either choose to plant your thriller in the center or in the back of the planter.

Fillers: These plants will be second in the planter and will fill in the space on the ‘ground level’ of the pot. Fillers do not have tons of height but rather are round and mounded to fill in areas of the planter. Depending on where you are placing your planter and the view of it, you will either choose to plant your filler surrounding the entire perimeter of your thriller or in front of thriller midway between the edge of the planter and the thriller plant.

Spillers: The final annual plant you’ll be planting are the spillers. Spillers are trailing plants that will fall over the rim of the planter. Depending on where you are placing your planter and the view of it, you will either choose to plant your spiller in front of your filler plants or all along the rim of the planter itself, surrounding the filler plants.

In our planter we used:

Juncas Grass–  (Main Thriller) – Even though this grass is the same height, if not a little shorter than the salvia, this will grow much taller and larger to become the main thriller.

Salvia – Sallyfun Blue Emotion (Secondary thriller/filler) – If Juncas grass was not present this Salvia would be the Thriller as it has a lot of vertical height. Since there is a more vertically prominent plant in this planter already, the Salvia is the secondary thriller (or filler) aka Thriller 2.0.

Eucalyptus – Baby Blue (Filler) – Even though Eucalyptus has a hang to it, it will start to fill up the planter and intertwine itself throughout the other plants rather than fall over the rim of the planter like a spiller would.

Calibrachoa  – MiniFamous Neo White (Spiller) – These Calibrachoa will get around 6 inches tall creating some ‘fill’ but will primarily start to spill over the sides of the planter with its gorgeous white trailing flowers.

Vinca Vine – Variegated (spiller)

 

As you can see, this is your time to get extra creative, use different colored flowers and foliage, and/or add and mix different textures. Let the true gardener in you SHINE! The Thriller, Filler, Spiller ‘formula’ is used as a guide when planting your annuals, but do not forget to use your own twist and get creative!