Easy, Colorful, Container Combos? We've got 'em!

Share Article

Try out these ready-made plant-by-number container recipes from Tesselaar Plants for tropical, colorful mixed planters

A great combo featuring the low-growing, easy-care Flower Carpet roses ( Yellow) echo the yellow variegation of the cascading Hakonechloa macra (Japanese Forest Grass) ‘Aureola’ and the dainty yellow

“A great mixed container design comes down to a ‘thriller’ – a bold and beautiful plant at the top of the composition, a “filler” – a mid-level plant that softens and complements the thriller, and a ‘spiller’ – a tumbler to trailer over the edge."

Craving eye-popping garden container combos?

It couldn’t be easier with the following recipes, designed by Tesselaar Plants in its ongoing efforts to make gardening easier.

“So many of us love to look at all the beautiful colors, textures and shapes of plants in the garden center, but we have a hard time visualizing combinations,” says Anthony Tesselaar, cofounder and president of Tesselaar Plants (developer of beautiful, sustainable, easy-care plants like Flower Carpet® roses, Tropicanna® cannas, Bonfire® begonias and Volcano® phlox). “While it would be nice to have the time and money to keep playing around with different plant groupings, this just isn’t reality for many of us. We’re busy. We’re budget-conscious. We want beautiful, dependable, already-choreographed compositions.”

That’s why Tesselaar Plants offers the following ideas for mixed planters, along with a PDF including plant-by-number images (high-resolution images available through Tesselaar’s newsroom or via the links listed with each recipe below).

The “thriller-filler-spiller”

“So often,” says Tesselaar, “a great mixed container design comes down to a ‘thriller’ – often a big, bold and beautiful plant at the top of the composition, a “filler” – usually a mid-level plant that softens and complements the thriller, and a ‘spiller’ – a tumbler or trailer over the edge of the pot, for lower-level personality, texture and a finished look.”

Here are three such designs, featuring colorfully foliaged Tropicanna cannas. For any multimedia stories you might be planning, you may also want to check out Tesselaar’s video, “Using Tropicanna Cannas in Containers.”

Container #1

Thriller – Tropicanna cannas, original (top)
Filler – Zinnias (middle left)
Spiller – Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ (lower right)
Hi-res image link

Container #2

Thriller – Tropicanna Gold cannas (top)
Filler – Heuchera ‘Velvet Night’ (lower right)
Spiller – Torenia ‘Catalina Viva Blue’ (bottom left)
Hi-res image link

Container #3

Thriller – Tropicanna Black cannas (top)
Filler – Salvia farinacea (middle left)
Spiller – Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’ (bottom)
Hi-res image link

More Tropicanna combos …

In response to posts praising Tropicanna cannas on the Garden Rant and North Coast Gardening blogs last month, commenters – and one of the blog’s authors – came up with plenty more ideas for using Tropicanna cannas in mixed planters.

On the North Coast Gardening blog, garden writer and blogger Susan Morrison said she’d designed a “striking” combination of the original Tropicanna cannas, Festival™ Burgundy cordyline and Abutilon ‘Halo.’

On the Garden Rant blog, garden blogger Michelle Derviss suggested grouping Tropicanna Gold cannas with a red phormium like ‘The Guardsman’ and a red banana. “Throw in some big-leaf coleus, some alocasia and a few succulents and you’ll have a knockout vignette,” she said.

And Genevieve Schmidt, author of the North Coast Gardening blog, suggested these three combos:

  •     Tropicanna canna (original), Alstroemeria ‘The Third Harmonic’ and Uncinia uncinata ‘Red’
  •     Tropicanna Gold, Euphorbia characias and Calluna ‘Beoley Gold’
  •     Tropicanna Black, Helianthemum ‘Henfield Brilliant’ and Clianthus puniceus ‘Red’

Branching out

Using trees, shrubs and other woody perennials in containers remains a hot trend among container designers. Here’s a combo featuring a red Japanese maple along with Bonfire begonias (extremely heat- and drought tolerant, yet colorful in the shade) and dark purple and lime heuchera. Doing a multimedia story on container gardens? See Tesselaar’s “Creative Containers with Bonfire begonias” video for more information on designing with Bonfire (plus Choc Red and Choc Pink – the new chocolate-leaved versions being introduced this year).

1 – Red Japanese maple (upper right)
2 – Bonfire begonias (left)
3 – Dark purple and lime heuchera (bottom right)
Hi-res image link

Monochromatic mojo

Monochromatic color schemes are a great way to design in containers, keeping one element – color – the same while incorporating different textures and shapes. Here, the low-growing, easy-care Flower Carpet roses ( Yellow) echo the yellow variegation of the cascading Hakonechloa macra (Japanese Forest Grass) ‘Aureola’ and the dainty yellow flowers of the lady’s mantle. And if you need it, there’s always Tesselaar’s “Using Flower Carpet Roses in Containers” video.
1 – Flower Carpet Roses (top left)
2 – Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ (bottom)
3 – Lady’s mantle (lower right)
Hi-res image

Cool contrasts

Just as similar materials can work together to create a pleasing container design, so can contrasting or opposing elements. Dark/light or complementary color schemes can amplify the brightness or hue of a specific plant (or make it “pop”) by deliberately setting it alongside its opposite. And juxtaposing different shapes or textures – spiky with soft, linear with trailing or mounding, or ovoid or circle shapes with fountains or tufts – the overall effect is one of balance. Here’s an example of a light/dark combo featuring different textures (also check out Tesselaar’s video on designing with Festival Burgundy cordyline).

Container #1

1 – Festival Burgundy cordyline (top)
2 – White lobelia (bottom)
Hi-res image

Container #2

1 – Festival Burgundy cordyline (top)
2 – Dwarf Nandina domestica ‘Nana’ (bottom)
Hi-res image

About Tesselaar
Headquartered in Australia, Tesselaar Plants searches the world and introduces new plants for the home garden, landscape, home décor and gift markets. Tesselaar Plants undertakes extensive research and development of its varieties and, once selected for introduction, provides marketing and promotional support for its plant brands through its grower and retail network. Tesselaar’s portfolio of plants is small by design, given rigorous standards that result in high-quality, dramatic, prolific plants that are also environmentally friendly and exceptionally easy to grow.

The Tesselaar philosophy is to introduce exceptional plants while “making gardening easy” for everyone, and so we make them as widely available as possible. We believe that the more people who garden, the better it is for everyone.

Media Contacts:     
Laurie Riedman / Brand | Cool
Phone: (585) 396-3100
Email: laurie.riedman(at)brandcool(com)com

Lisa Hutchurson / Brand | Cool
Phone: (585) 737-4240
Email: lisa.hutchurson(at)brandcool(dot)com


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Laurie Riedman
Visit website