Cook Up Great Combination Gardens for Your Outdoor Planters

Colorfull Annual Combination Hanging Basket.  Petunia, Verbena and Calibrachoa Mini-Petunia.
Colorfull Annual Combination Hanging Basket. Petunia, Verbena and Calibrachoa Mini-Petunia. | Source

Great Looking Combination Planters and Hanging Baskets

I enjoy gardening on my modest Zone 7 property in Baltimore County, Maryland. The Land of Pleasant Living! I do not have the luxury of gardening in a large and sprawling yard, but I do have a semi-spacious patio and a shaded porch and deck that I decorate by planting combination garden containers and hanging baskets.

My space is limited, so for me, the beauty and satisfaction that I derive from gardening is achieved by creating these attractive planters and hanging baskets using compatible plant combinations.

Creating a beautiful combination of plants and flowers for containers and hanging baskets rely mainly on one premise to be successful . . . combine several varieties of plants suitable to each other grown in a container placed in the appropriate growing location, and meet the light and moisture requirements of the selected plants. There, simple, right?

Like layering an appetizing dessert, you place layers of different plant varieties or colors as your ingredients that together combine to produce a tasty treat . . . a feast for the senses! Well, it can be an easy effort with just a bit of pre-planning and a nod to the chef in you!

Raspberry with White Eye Verbena, Lavender Calibrachoa Petunia and Raspberry Petunia Combination Hanging Basket.
Raspberry with White Eye Verbena, Lavender Calibrachoa Petunia and Raspberry Petunia Combination Hanging Basket. | Source

Deciding which plants to combine together requires a bit of research. As little energy as reading and following the care tag that accompanies the plants, to as an elaborate project as you enjoy undertaking. Do you want to cultivate on the scale of a grand city arboretum, a massive meadow for butterflies, or would you rather maintain a container the conservative size of a party punch bowl? My grandmother used to tell me, “Hon, start yourself off easy if you don’t know you way around the kitchen!”

The plant combinations that you create should be compatible, attractive and fairly low maintenance. Think of them as a theme and plant them like a recipe . The location of your container will dictate the varieties that you select to grow. Blending the right combinations together will better your chances for a delicious looking outdoor living space!

Purple Verbena, Pink Geranium and Fern combination planter.
Purple Verbena, Pink Geranium and Fern combination planter. | Source

Great Video All About Container Gardening

Now you have a batch of opportunity to express your individually ~ your creative gardening self ~ while adapting to your ability and your budget. You can focus your spending on pretty pottery planters and accessories and go with less expensive plants, or just the reverse. Cater to your own level of comfort to get the results you hope for. Gardening shouldn’t be stressful, for goodness sake!

Picture your container like a dart board target with its concentric circles as your planting zones. Your goal is to achieve the ‘thriller, ‘filler’, and ‘spiller’ effect! Start in the ’bulls eye’ by planting a tall or spiky variety for height as your ‘thriller‘, a full medium-sized plant as your ‘filler’ to add interest to the next outward growing band, and finish the outer-most planting zone with more prostrate or cascading plant types that ‘spill‘ over to soften edges. The container or hanging basket then looks evenly planted and pretty from all angles. I call this my recipe for success!

Themed concoctions are fun to create in the kitchen, why not my patio and porch? I have a window box outside my kitchen window where I’m growing my Pizza Please combo planter. Basil, Oregano and Chive in the center, and upright and creeping Thyme as both ‘filler’ and ‘spiller’. Smells great as it looks! Here are some more of my favorites, get your inspiration and get planting, and good luck!

Combination Hanging Basket: Midnight Lantern. Glacier Ivy, Lysmachia (Creeping Jenny), White Petunia, Purple Petunia and Geranium (not currently blooming) will brighten any outdoor entryway.
Combination Hanging Basket: Midnight Lantern. Glacier Ivy, Lysmachia (Creeping Jenny), White Petunia, Purple Petunia and Geranium (not currently blooming) will brighten any outdoor entryway. | Source

You can stir your creativity and take on a themed recipe combination planter that satisfies your craving for gardening on any scale! Weather or not you are creative, a novice or a well-seasoned gardener, you garden on a tight budget, or spend like no tomorrow, a container planted and maintained with care can cook up outstanding results!

Purple Verbena, Petunia and Calibrachoa Petunia Share a Hanging Basket.
Purple Verbena, Petunia and Calibrachoa Petunia Share a Hanging Basket. | Source
Combination Planter: Made in the Shade.  Coleus, Pansy and Fuchsia relax in the coolness of the shade.
Combination Planter: Made in the Shade. Coleus, Pansy and Fuchsia relax in the coolness of the shade. | Source

Made in the Shade

Cook up a cute combination of plants for a shade-loving theme . A shady spot is perfect for a combination planter comprised of foliage plants sporting solid colors or color variegations coupled with either contrasting or corresponding flowering plants. Gone are the days when a shady spot limited a gardener to a fern in an urn! If your plant has, for example green and white colored leaves with purple accents, combine it with a spikier formed bloomer with complimentary colors of blue, or contrast that purple with yellow. Similar to the recipe above, center a tall variety in the target bulls eye, surround with ‘filler’ plants and finish the edges with ‘spillers’.

Hot and Spicy Hanging Basket.  Petunia as the  'thriller' , Burgundy Verbena for the 'filler', and Terra Cotta Calibrachoa serve as the 'spiller' for this summer combination hanging basket.
Hot and Spicy Hanging Basket. Petunia as the 'thriller' , Burgundy Verbena for the 'filler', and Terra Cotta Calibrachoa serve as the 'spiller' for this summer combination hanging basket. | Source

Hot & Spicy

Combine plants for a sun-loving theme. Choose heat tolerant plants that have similar moisture requirements. Spice it up with vivid summer colors and mix up the forms and habits of the plants for your container or hanging basket. Blend to create a recipe with just a few simple ingredients. The colors can set the mood. Hot oranges, yellows, and reds together shout “Summer is here dear, lets go!” Combining blues and purples with silvers and white calmly whispers, “Be cool fool, just chill!”

Dracaena Spike, Terra Cotta Mini Calibrachoa Petunia, Blue Lobelia and White Bacopa combination planter.
Dracaena Spike, Terra Cotta Mini Calibrachoa Petunia, Blue Lobelia and White Bacopa combination planter. | Source

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Comments 20 comments

NotTooTall profile image

NotTooTall 5 years ago from The Land of Pleasant Living Author

Hi RTalloni,

Thank you for stopping by and leaving such nice comments, I appreciate it!

The container gardens that I created in early Spring are really showing off this Summer. They have filled out nicely, and are rewarding me with their amazing beauty.

Summer's heat makes them a bit more demanding where watering is concerned . . . so glad I top dressed with mulch ~ what a labor saver!

I'm considering writing a follow-up Hub showing how they have matured.

Thank you again for your readership!

N T T


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Container gardens are important for every sort of garden and you've given some great tips on creating some that will make nice highlights for large or small areas. Voted up.


NotTooTall profile image

NotTooTall 5 years ago from The Land of Pleasant Living Author

Hi Shelly,

Thank you for reading my Hub, and the encouragement, I appreciate the kind comments!

N T T


Shelley from Jolly Farmer 5 years ago

Nicely done, Not too tall.


NotTooTall profile image

NotTooTall 5 years ago from The Land of Pleasant Living Author

Hi Debbie B!

Thank you for leaving such nice thoughts, I appreciate it.

I am enjoying writing these articles at Hub Pages ~ more to come ~ I promise.

N T T


Debbie B. 5 years ago

Great job Not Too Tall!!!!! I am enjoying reading the

articles. Keep them coming as fast as you can!!!!


NotTooTall profile image

NotTooTall 5 years ago from The Land of Pleasant Living Author

Hi William,

Very nice of you to leave these comments . . . I blush!

I plan on writing more on the subject of Garden Design, including plenty of photos.

Thank you for stopping by!

N T T


William  5 years ago

very nice job ? you should do a weekley spot ! keep it up ! nice photos


NotTooTall profile image

NotTooTall 5 years ago from The Land of Pleasant Living Author

Hi Liz,

It's still only June . . . who says you have to stop! That's the beauty of planting a container garden. Small, compact, a few plants, minor quantity of soil & mulch ~ BAM ~ a mini garden!

Slow down, but never stop!

N T T


NotTooTall profile image

NotTooTall 5 years ago from The Land of Pleasant Living Author

Hi Brenda,

I appreciate the encouragement . . . this is my first attempt at writing 'aloud' so to speak. The planters from this article are maturing nicely, they were taken early June. I promise more to follow.

Thanks for the nice comments, I appreciate it!

N T T


NotTooTall profile image

NotTooTall 5 years ago from The Land of Pleasant Living Author

Hi AJ,

I can't take credit for the terminology, but I recommend the concept. Plus, it's just fun to say!

N T T


Liz  5 years ago

Really well done, makes me want to plant more and MORE!!!!! Thanks for the inspiration!


Brenda 5 years ago

Well done NTT. Your recipes and great tips with plants will go along way, with helping all levels of growers. Your passion for creating shows.

I am always amazed to see the P/C be taken into a family, with TLC grow on to wonderful eye candy.

Beautifully written. Look forward to reading more.

From JF wink


AJ 5 years ago

Yes, the "Thriller, Filler and Spiller" effect truly makes the combinations flow nicely. Enjoyed the acrticle and pictures.


NotTooTall profile image

NotTooTall 5 years ago from The Land of Pleasant Living Author

Hi Janet,

Thank for stopping by, I'm so happy you did! Glad you got to see my flowers for a change.

I promise to include plenty of photos for all of my articles!

N T T


NotTooTall profile image

NotTooTall 5 years ago from The Land of Pleasant Living Author

Hi Jane,

Thank you for leaving such nice comments . . . I blush! Okay, now that you mention it, I'd like to give 'em a run for their money! (I think I can take Martha) ;)

N T T


NotTooTall profile image

NotTooTall 5 years ago from The Land of Pleasant Living Author

Thanks Bill I appreciate it, and my old English teacher would be pleased to hear that as well!

I'm enjoying writing about what interests me, and I hope others find they like it too!

N T T


Janet H. 5 years ago

Hey this is great! Container gardening is after my own heart. Not too Tall knows her plants, so this should be a lot of fun. Great pictures too!


Jane 5 years ago

Way to go 'NotTooTall' !! Very informative, interesting and upbeat. Looking forward to more of your articles. Watch out 'Rebeca' and 'Martha'!!


BILL 5 years ago

WELL WRITTEN ! KEEP THE INFO COMING

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