Learn how to arrange garden containers with tips, tricks and TRIED and TRUE techniques for flower pot design. You’ll find flower pot ideas that will give a beautiful show you’ll enjoy all summer long!

These front porch plant ideas are built off of traditional flower arranging techniques, in plant form! It’s so easy that anyone can do it, and in just minutes.

Save time and money this year… these potted plant arrangement ideas are sure to please!

A garden container full of pink and white annuals on a white deck.
Want to save this?
Enter your email below and I’ll send it directly to your inbox!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Originally published May 20, 2017, this post was updated with fresh content and images May 19, 2021.

Recently I was part of a workshop at the charming Parkview Gardens, a local nursery here in St. Louis. It was fun getting to know fresh faces and seeing a few familiar friends, all over eats, drinks and beautiful blooms.

While I have long loved learning about floral design, I will admit that I was once a little intimidated to try my hand at flower pot design. Now that I’ve been doing it for so long, I’m not sure why I was so scared!

Flower pot design is very similar in concept to traditional cut floral arrangements. It just means you get your hands in the dirt, instead of cutting stems for a vase! It’s fun to choose your colors and blooms, and then work them into a pretty container you can enjoy all summer.

beautiful garden container ideas at a nursery, chalkboard sign in foreground

Claire Josephson, a resident expert hailing from England, shared tips and tricks to designing beautiful garden containers that will live all summer long! I’m excited to share them with you today!

In addition to the garden center pots I’m showing you how to design, you can also get inspiration from this year’s pots… my fresh and fabulous lavender topiaries filled with the prettiest soft colors! I’ve got so many flower pot ideas to share with you!

A fresh lavender topiary in a white pot, with more flowers at the base.

Flower Pot Ideas

I love garden containers, especially for our porch, patio and between garage stalls, but I never knew how to arrange them.

In the past, I would tend to throw a few things in my pots that would inevitably die just weeks later. Little did I know these fun tips for garden containers.

I wish I would have known then what I know now! So much time and effort was wasted before I understood that a few simple tricks would take my containers to a whole new level!

A garden center filled with blooming flower pots and perennials.

The best secret of all? Always keep the mantra of “thriller, filler and spiller” at the front of your mind when designing. This means a taller piece, a filler piece, and some soft draping blooms to come out over the edge. It’s this combination of flowers that will always create a spectacular display!

A wood surface with a container of white wave petunias.
A group of women learning how to plant garden containers at a nursery.

How to Arrange Your Flower Pot Design

  1. start with a container with holes for drainage
  2. you should fill with soil 2″ from the top
  3. add soil to fill in after you add your flowers / plants
  4. always water immediately after planting

It was fun to see how we were all offered the same planters and flowers, but all created something unique from Claire Josephson’s tips. A variety of plants create the most beautiful garden containers.

Choose from a few of these:

  • Look for a plant that will offer height like angelonia, geraniums, coreopsis, or grasses in the back or the center 
    learn how to create a potted plant for your porch that will bloom all summer
  • Choose petunias or other blooms that will grow and fill out beautifully, filling the pot and providing color. This is your filler step… and it’s such an important one!
    how to create a potted garden that will bloom all summer long
  • If you’d like, add more fillers like pentas, or others that will fill in space with pretty greens and soft blooms. 
    beautiful garden planter ideas
  • Finally, add plants that trail out for your drape (the “spilling” section of your pot) like lobelia, silver dichondra {which I used}, or alisons.
A garden container filled with pink and white blooming annuals

More Flower Pot Ideas

I created mine in just five minutes! The hardest part was choosing the blooms – the planting and designing was so easy!

Another one of my favorite ideas for my containers? Topiaries! This year I added lavender topiaries to our pots, filling in around the base with more blooms.

The lavender becomes the “thrill” because it gives so much of an impact with height. Adding soft, pretty color at the base for the filler, and trailing greenery for the spiller makes such a gorgeous look!

A flower pot design of a fresh lavender topiary in a white pot, with more flowers at the base.
A flower pot design of a fresh lavender topiary in a white pot, with more flowers at the base.

Plant Combination Ideas for Container Gardens

Thrillers

  • Lavender
  • Mandevilla
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Fountain grasses
  • Coleus
  • Lysimachia
  • Caladiums
A garden pot filled with pink and white blooming annuals

Fillers

  • Geranium
  • Petunias
  • Verbena
  • Phlox
  • Begonia

Spillers

  • Dichondra
  • Vinca vine
  • Helichrysum petiolare
  • Sweet Potato Vine
  • Caladiums
  • English Ivy
A group of people learning how to plant a garden container with potted annuals

Tips for Choosing Front Porch Plants

My flower recipe included Petunias, and silver dichondra trailing out of the pot. I used the height in the back, petunias and filler in the middle and dichondra in the front since it will be against a wall on our porch.

That’s another one of my favorite tips! If you know your container will be facing a certain direction (aka the street, your driveway, the front of your house, etc), why not arrange the blooms so that the color is focused outwards?

Set your tallest “thrill” blooms more towards the back of the pot, working around with your filler for balance.

A garden center filled with beautiful potted plants and annuals.

Who knew garden containers could be so quick and easy? You can find several more container recipes here to get you started. If you make one, tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see!

More Outdoor Living Inspiration

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

13 Comments

  1. Beautiful! I love how creative and unique each pot can be. Great tips, thanks for sharing!

  2. Great tips! I wrote a few weeks ago, regarding your beautiful deck. You mentioned you hose it off to clean. What type of rug do I buy that could be hosed off? Thank you.

    1. You should be able to click shop on my site to find it, but any indoor outdoor rug can be hosed off. My favorite are from Dash and Albert. Have a beautiful weekend!

  3. What pretty pots! Such great tips- those petunias are my very favorites, they really do bloom ALL summer!

  4. Wave petunias are classically beautiful! Thanks for the planting tips too! I’m hoping to get a few containers planted this weekend.

    xo Michael