GARDENING | The big thrillers, spillers and fillers in small green spaces

Combination planting can help you make the most of that collection of old pots sitting around the home. Picture: Shutterstock.
Combination planting can help you make the most of that collection of old pots sitting around the home. Picture: Shutterstock.

Growing plants in containers is nothing new.

In fact plant containers have been used for centuries to grow medicinal and edible plants across many cultures, but it was the Italians that popularised ornamental gardening in containers.

As urban living puts pressure on available green space, the desire to connect with nature becomes even more important for us a society and container gardening can provide that green connection we desire.

When it comes to selecting containers, there is a huge variety of styles and materials to choose.

Plastic, terracotta, ceramic, metal, stone, concrete, fibreglass, nowadays, when it comes to pot selection we are certainly spoilt for choice.

Most gardens will have a collection of 'clutter' pots which have been gathered over a period of time, but these days the emphasis is on style, functionality and a minimalist approach to container gardening to be on trend.

That old collection of terracotta pots that have adorned balconies and decks are so old-school, but can still be relevant if planted out correctly.

Having individual plants in containers can be appropriate, but to maximise impact the thrill, spill and fill, concept should be employed. Start by selecting the perfect pot. Consider the colour of your home and garden decor.

Size matters as the container needs to accommodate several plants.

The star of the pot, or your 'thriller' plant, should be bold and appealing with a bit of height so it can be positioned at the back.

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Colourful, strappy leafed plants such as burgundy cordylines or phormiums work well.

For the 'fillers' choose smaller, rounded plants to fill the majority of the container. Add a splash of colour here with brightly coloured foliage or flowers.

The 'spiller' plants are the finishing touch. These are trailing beauties that tumble over the edge of the container and complete the look to create the perfect container display.

Combine plants that have similar growing conditions for the best success.

Think outside the square, growing edibles in containers can look spectacular and the results delicious.

Try the following thriller, filler, spiller combination, rainbow chard, loose leaf lettuce, tiny tom tomatoes.

The beauty of this type of planting is that plants can be replaced with different combinations based on season.