Decorating Outdoors

Easy Porch Planters

I’ve been procrastinating about is getting nice looking pots on my porch. I don’t have a green thumb, but my next door neighbors have some great looking planters so I decided to take the plunge. Today teaming up in a DIY Blog Hop and this month the theme is outdoor projects.

I visited my friend Rosemary and she had stunning pots like these all over her outdoor area. It turns out there’s a formula to putting together amazing pots. A formula means that anyone can do it, even if you aren’t a master gardener.

See how easy it is to get the pots on your front porch or patio to look like the ones you see in magazines. Follow this three part formula.

The Planter Formula for Success

I didn’t invent this, but once I read it I realized this is what sets great looking planters apart. It’s three words, spiller, filler and thriller.

You need three different plants in each pot. One plant for height (thriller), one plant for color (filler) and the third spills over the side (spiller). It’s like decorating. You need different heights, colors and textures. Later I’ll give you some suggestions on which plants work well for each category. You need to keep in mind where your pots are and how much sun they get.

the perfect pot

Planters can be really expensive and HEAVY if you get the clay or cement ones. I really like terra cotta pots. They help my indoor plants stay alive because the pots retain moisture. Outside I wanted something a little more decorative.

If you don’t want to spend a lot there are some really great looking fake pots out there that look like stone, but they are rubber or plastic. That’s what I opted for.

The one caution I have about using rubber, plastic or resin planters is that they often don’t have holes in the bottom. Most plants don’t like to have their roots sitting in water all the time. You can easily fix this with a drill. Just drill some small holes in the bottom of your planter.

Use Organic Soil

While I’m not a gardening pro, I do believe in using organic soil. I think it’s better for the plants and for the environment. My Dad still believes if a little fertilizer is good, a lot is better. But his plants always seem to burn up.

If you don’t believe me, here’s an expert on the subject. Better Homes and Gardens says that healthy soil is the key to healthy plants.

Best Plants for Outdoor Pots

The plants that make up each category of your formula will depend on where you planter is located. You need to determine if your pot gets full sun, partial sun or shade. There are lots of options for full sun plants, but many porches and patios don’t get full sun.

how to assemble a good plnater

Best tall “thriller” plants for pots

Golden sword yucca – This plant can grow year round in certain zones. Golden sword yucca will tolerate shade, but it does best in sun.

Green mountain boxwood – Boxwoods can get pretty tall, so you’ll want to use them in a larger pot.

Tall grasses or groundcover – I had a pot on the smallish side so I used ground cover called Super Blue to get some height.

Best Filler Plants for Pots

Fillers are usually where the color comes into your pot. I like to put flowers or something that has color, even if they have to be replaced seasonally. Many flowers require at least come sun, so they might not be well suited for a covered porch.

I used the Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes Phyllostachya) for my color. This is technically a houseplant, but my porch is shaded so I wanted to try it out. Other good plants for fall are pansies, celosia (which is pretty and red), flowering kale, croton and violas.

Best Spiller Plants For Pots

Golden creeping jenny – This plant has a nice light green leaf. It does well in partial shade. If you use it in full sun, be sure to water often.

Potato vines – Potato vines are almost impossible to kill. They come in a purple variety and a a light green. Stick with what works, and for me these are easy to keep alive.

English Ivy – Ivy is the most common plant you think of when you think of a plant spilling over the edge of something.

If you’re looking for more information about how to build a star-studded planter, visit this post.

If you are looking for more inspiration for your outdoor projects, take a look at these ideas.

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4 Comments

  1. What a great article, I learned a ton! I’m really glad you mentioned organic soil – I’ve been learning a lot about that and it’s crazy the amount of garbage in some soils! Thanks for hosting with us and sharing this awesome post.

    1. That looks terrific. I could never do anything like what you did with those planters and the flowers inside.
      They are really beautiful. I need very simple instructions as I am a klutz with planting expecially.

  2. I had never heard this spiller, filler, thriller but it totally makes sense. When I look around, in shops and online, it’s exactly how they do things for the best design and appearance. Looking at my own plants, I only ever have one plant per pot. I think I will mix things up from now on.

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