Be Creative with Container Gardens & Tips From Carmen Johnson!

Think of a container garden as if you were following a recipe.  By following a simple recipe, planting a container gardens couldn’t be easier. All you need is potting soil, plants, a sturdy container and fertilizer. That said, there are some things about your container that will be helpful to know before you start.

Make sure your container has enough drainage

  • One or more drainage holes in the bottom of the pot is crucial to healthy plant growth.
  • Cover the holes with coffee filters or paper towels to let water out but keep soil in.
  • Elevate the pot with “pot feet”

 Picking your plants is the next step

  • Plants for containers are often called “Thrillers, Fillers & Spiller.” Thrillers are the height, fillers fill out the interior, and spillers trail over the edge of the pot.
  • Choose plants that are appropriate for the amount of sunlight in the area.
  • Choose colors and textures that compliment the area.

We have a wonderful video from the talented and beautiful Carmen Johnson, lifestyle expert from Southern Living Plant Collection, who gave us an incredible tutorial on how to make a creative container garden. We have included her seminar below with some helpful ways to start your own!

  • Small shrubs make excellent instant container garden plants, once they get too big, plant them in your yard.
  • Use moss as a texture and also to cover the dirt.
  • Plant the three “T’s” – Tall, Thick, Trailing.

Before you leave The Family Tree

You will need:  Container, potting soil, plants, fertilizer and watering bucket or hose.  Be sure to ask one of our experts for help with any part of your planting!  We love helping with container gardens!

Choose placement for your thrillers (tall plants) first.  Either on the back of the container if it will be against a backdrop, or in the middle of the pot.  Add the fillers next, then the spillers. Decide placement before you plant; all of these plants will grow so remember to leave room for them to spread.

Here are some templates for you to follow with your own selections.


Full Sun Garden
A. Black Sweet Potato
B. Deep Purple Petunia
C. Creeping Jenny
D. Large Lilac Verbena
E. Yellow African Daisy
Container = 16″-20″


Shade Garden

A. Varigated Annual Grass
B. “Dragon Wing” Begonia
C. Varigated Ivy

Urn =14″-18″

As always, feel free to stop by The Family Tree and speak with one of our knowledgeable associates if you have any questions or concerns!