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Elevate Your Potted Plants with the Thriller, Filler, Spiller Rule

July 18, 2023

Creating a visually appealing potted plant arrangement can seem like an overwhelming task, especially with the vast array of plant options available. However, by following the simple ‘Thriller, Filler, Spiller’ rule, you can create stunning arrangements that will add a touch of nature and beauty to any space.

The ‘Thriller, Filler, Spiller’ concept is a method of combining plants that creates a balanced and intriguing visual aesthetic.


The Thriller is the statement piece of the arrangement. It provides height and a dramatic effect. Tall slender flowers or grasses are often used for this element. The Thriller serves as the focal point and draws the eye into the arrangement.


The Filler is a lower, mounded plant that fills out the container and surrounds the Thriller. These plants add body to the arrangement and help to make it look lush and full. Popular choices for Fillers include petunias and calibrachoa, which offer a variety of colors to complement the Thriller.


The Spiller is a trailing plant that “spills” over the edge of the container, adding depth and interest to the arrangement. Plants like sweet potato vine and vinca are excellent choices for this role, as they create a cascading effect that softens the edges of the pot.

Pro Tip

When planting, if your arrangement is to be viewed from all sides, start from the center and work your way out. For one-sided arrangements, start with the Thriller at the back and work forward.

Remember to have fun with different colors and textures! However, it’s crucial to choose plants with the same light and watering needs to ensure they all thrive.

Now, let’s explore some specific potted arrangements:


Perennial Pot

Thriller: Native purple coneflower; Filler: Moonbeam Coreopsis; Spiller: Vinca

Monochromatic (choose your color!)

Thriller: Geraniums; Filler: Calibrachoa; Spiller: Supertunias

Red, White & Blue

Thriller: Red Geranium; Filler: White Petunias; Spiller: Blue Plumbago


Thriller: Caladium; Filler: Impatiens; Spiller: Wandering Jew


Thriller: Daylily; Filler: Nasturtium; Spiller: Squash


Each of these arrangements provides a unique aesthetic and caters to different environmental conditions. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, the ‘Thriller, Filler, Spiller’ method will help you create beautiful potted plant arrangements with ease.

We carry many of these plants or seeds at our garden store in Marshfield, MO. Come visit and we’ll help you select the perfect pot and plants!

Grass Roots Team

Watering Tips

  • Our watering advice is based on plants living in a 72 degree house. Porch life or humidity could have an impact on its watering needs.
  • Always use tepid water for watering your houseplants.
  • Broadleaf plants need less water in fall and winter, but you should never allow the soil to completely dry out.