Thrillers, chillers and Spillers are the tenants for ornamental containers. Simply put, thrillers are those plants that have the "WOW" factor. Fillers are the ones that will fill out the containers, preferably something that will enhance the thriller. Spillers are the trailing plants at the outer edge to soften the lines of the planting.
Right now I'm in the process if the planning the six sixteen inch pots that separate the paved area of the pool and the lawn. There is a 2 foot band of white stones that they sit on.
In the above photo the thrillers are 'Fresh Look Red' or 'Fresh Look Yellow' celosia just about to bloom. The fillers are 'Summer Jewels Red' salvia, 'Moonsong Deep Orange' marigolds and 'Merlin Blue Morn' Petunia. The spiller is 'Carpet of Snow' alysum.
Right now I'm thinking of 'New Look' celosia for the thriller, 'Peter Pan Gold' and 'Profusion Double Gold' zinnias, 'Janie Gold' Marigold for the filler. The spiller would be 'Peaches' and 'Carpet of Snow' alysum.
Another idea I'm considering is 'Jams n' Jellies Blackberry' vinca as the thriller, 'Zahara Starlight Rose' zinnia, 'Frillytunia White' petunia and 'Ideal Violet' dianthus as the fillers, 'Rosie O'Day' alyssum as the spiller.
The same principal can also be used with a group of containers, with individual types in each pot.
Above, a grouping of four pots. 'Floradale Scarlet' zinnia is is the thriller. 'Black Velvet Scarlet' geranium (not visible at this angle), 'Fire Chief' petunia are the fillers. the spiller is my favorite, 'Carpet of Snow' alyssum.
This year I'm going to try and apply these principles to groupings of edible and ornamental containers.
If you are going to plant some containers give this principle a try. The results are worth it!