Spring Container Gardening in Seattle

Container Planting Design

Colorful spring container plants can be a perfect way to announce the start of Spring! Planting containers with carefully chosen combinations is an easy way to spruce up your outdoor spaces.

For existing containers start by clearing out any declining or undesired plants from last season and add some fresh new potting soil.  Keep an eye out for any pests or diseases that may have appeared since last fall.  Plants in containers benefit from occasional fertilizer and apply at least once at the beginning of the season.  In our PNW climate, ensure adequate drainage by using pot feet or other means of elevation to create space for air flow under the container, this will also protect the underlying patio or deck by allowing it to dry.

Whether freshening up an existing container or planting a new one, think about the design of the planting.  There are three main components to focus on for a successful container: Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers!  A good rule of thumb is one thriller, two fillers and three spillers!


The thriller plant is the one big focal point. It’s the “wow!” statement of your container.  Use a more vertical growing plant for an eye-caching effect. Some good choices include:

  • New Zealand Flax
  • Purple Fountain Grass
  • Cordyline
  • Lemon Cypress
  • Forsythia


The filler plants are the container’s bread and butter.  Made up of mid-size mounding plants, they surround the thriller and fill in any empty space.  Choose one to three different species for this category. Some recommendations are:

  • Begonias
  • Coleus
  • Heliotrope
  • Gerbera Daisy
  • Heuchera
  • Geraniums
  • Fuchsia


Spiller plants are fun additions that really bring the container to life! They cascade and tumble down the sides, providing a lush look.  Some spillers include:

  • Vina Minor
  • Trailing Lobelia
  • Sweet Potato Vine
  • Nasturtium
  • Black-Eyed Susan Vine
  • Madagascar Periwinkle

Be sure to pay attention to the area the container is placed! Choose plants that require the same light and water levels to assure an even looking plating.  Lastly, have fun with this! Container gardening is a great time to exercise your creativity and strengthen your connection to your outdoor living space.

If you want to incorporate containers into a design or redesign of you landscape take a look at our work and call Pacifica Landscapes and set up a design consultation at 206-551-9872.