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Simple Tips for Colorful Outdoor Flower Displays

What are some easy ways to create colorful flower displays?

It’s about time for April showers to start making way for May flowers. An easy way to bring spring blooms to any outdoor space is with portable flower containers. With these helpful tips from Westlake Ace Hardware, bringing colorful accents to your yard is a breeze.

Make sure to research whether the flowers you choose will easily thrive in planters. Some flowers only do well in ground level soil in specific conditions.

Follow these steps to create flower containers that will bring eye-catching blooms to your patio, deck or front porch:

1)   Choose the right container. Consider the space you have for your containers as a guide for size, whether it’s on the steps, front porch, deck or patio. Combining containers of different sizes and heights adds interest to the display. Be sure to use containers with drainage holes in the bottom or sides to keep the soil from becoming waterlogged.

2)   Think about the growing conditions. Sun or shade? Wet or dry? Before selecting plants, consider the location for the container and what conditions the plants will need to thrive. Check labels and choose plants with similar sunlight, moisture and nutrition needs.

3)   Select “thrillers, fillers and spillers.” Following this gardening concept helps you give structure to the container and create a pleasing display. For starters, look for one type of plant from each category:

  • Thrillers are larger plants that add height, drama and a vertical element to the container, such as cannas or fountain grass.
  • Fillers are mounded plants or flowers, and their role is to make the container look full. Great filler plant choices include Wave petunias, impatiens or zinnias.
  • Spillers are placed close to the edges of the pot and cascade over the sides. Sweet potato vine and verbena are showy and fast-growing spillers that are sure to make an impact.

Sometimes it’s difficult to choose which kind of planter is best for your chosen flowers; Raised bed? Terra cotta pot? Hanging basket? Not all flowers will thrive in different types of planters.

Picking the right soil and planter

The number of plants you use depends on the size of the container. The goal is to create a lush look immediately and to provide enough room for the plants to thrive during the season. Read the plant labels to determine size at maturity to ensure your plant mix is right for its container.

4)   Pick the right soil and fertilizer. Give your blooms a good start by using high-quality potting soil that contains slow-release fertilizer and, possibly, additives to help it retain moisture such as Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix.

5)   Give those plants a home. Fill the container about two-thirds of the way with potting soil mix. Remove the plants from their pots and arrange in the container – thrillers at the back or middle; surround those with the fillers; and position spillers closest to the outside edge. Add more potting soil mix between and around the plants, pressing down gently. Keep the soil surface at least one inch below the top of the container so there is room for the water to soak in. Water thoroughly.

6)   Keep the blooms going. Continue watering your containers every two to three days in the spring. For shade-loving plants, watering twice a week may be sufficient. In the summer or when it’s hot and dry, water every day. You’ll also want to feed your flowers with water-soluble fertilizer, such as Miracle Gro Bloom Booster Flower Food, every two to three weeks.


As blooms wilt and shrivel, pinch or clip-off the faded blooms at the stem to encourage more blooming. This practice, called “deadheading,” will help keep your flowers looking beautiful through the summer.

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