How To Plant In Tall Planters | 3 Steps To A Breathtaking Planter Display

We all know by now that pots and planters serve many functions in our gardens. Not only do they provide a great home for plants, but they are also great for enhancing the visual aesthetic of your porch, patio, backyard, or indoor garden.

Tall planters are an excellent way to create a more appealing garden, especially if you are working with a smaller area. Their imposing height makes them perfect for defining spaces in any setting, from the hotel lobby to the backyard patio. Learn how to plant in tall planters and you can also transform your landscape or interior design!

But tall planters aren’t only aesthetically pleasing. According to the perched water table theory, tall and wide containers offer a higher air-water ratio, which allows for better gas exchange and creates an ideal environment for plant growth. So tall planters might even be better for your plant’s overall health.

Many gardeners are intimidated by tall planters, but there are plenty of different ways to fill, plant, and arrange a tall planter in your garden effectively. In this article, you’ll find plenty of tips and ideas for creating a gorgeous tall planter display in any environment.

Step 1: Fill your tall planter (the right way)

Tall planters in a living room
©Myami Home / Fiona Araujo / Planters Etc

Tall planters often require a large amount of potting soil to fill completely. The result is a costly project that is too heavy or difficult to move around.

But filling a tall or large planter doesn’t have to burn a hole in your wallet or strain your back. Here are a few tips to prepare your large containers for planting.

Check for drainage holes

Drainage hole in fiberglass planters
©NewPro Containers

Even the most cognizant and doting plant parents overwater their babies sometimes… it happens to the best of us!

This is why every large planter should have at least three drainage holes. They allow the excess water that isn’t soaked up by potting soil to seep out, rather than pooling at the bottom of your pot and wreaking havoc on your plant roots.

Good drainage is super important to the overall life and health of your plant. But if your new planter doesn’t have drainage holes, don’t worry! Depending on the material, you may be able to create your own hole into your pot with a standard drill. Our high-quality fiberglass resin planters are constructed of materials that will allow you to easily create drainage holes in your planters at home.

Use your tall planter as a cache pot

Is your pot just too beautiful to justify drilling holes into? It might find better use as a cache pot.

This style of container planting was popularized in the Victorian era, a time of elegant, ostentatious fashion and décor. Gardeners would plant flowers in plain terracotta containers and then put them inside a more visually appealing pot, rather than planting directly into the decorative (and sometimes very expensive or valuable) pottery.

color for flower pots
©The Sill / Jay Scotts

Today, many gardeners are using cache pots to cycle plants indoors and outdoors throughout different growing seasons. This way they can avoid spending too much time repotting the plants or compromising the aesthetic value of the décor.

Related article: Interior Decorating with Plants

Some cache pots have drainage holes, but most do not. If your cache pot doesn’t have drainage holes, it’s important that your plant pots do. To prevent water from leaking into your decorative pot, you can place a saucer underneath to catch the excess water.

In order to have enough room for a whole other pot and a saucer, your cache pot should be considerably larger than your plant pot. There should be at least 2 inches of space between the upper rims of your plant pots so that you can monitor water levels in the saucer more easily.

If you find that your plant pots aren’t quite the same height, don’t sweat it. You can still create the illusion of height with a variety of different materials.

Space savers or potting soil?

We all know that high-quality potting soil isn’t cheap. So when it comes to tall containers, many gardeners are hesitant to waste a bunch of soil to fill them.

How To Plant In Tall Planters

One of the best ways to save money is to skip the soil and add fillers to your tall planter instead.

Many common filler materials are lightweight, meaning your pot will also be much easier to move around. For this reason, many gardeners choose to fill the bottom half (or more!) of their large planters with filler material.

The right type of material for your tall planter will depend on how much space you have to fill, and whether or not you want to add extra weight to your planter.

Here are a few of our favorite choices for filling a large planter:

Styrofoam packing peanuts

Packing peanuts are a lightweight, cheap option to fill the bottom of any large planter. Place your Styrofoam peanuts in an empty potting soil bag or a large plastic bag and they will easily mold to even the narrowest or most oddly shaped plant pots.

For a no-hassle option, you can also try Styrofoam blocks. Easily customizable to any size pot, this filler material is perfect for rectangular or square planters.

Recyclable materials

Soda bottles, plastic milk jugs, empty plastic containers, water bottles, and aluminum cans are great for filling the inside of a tall planter. They are incredibly lightweight which will make your planter lighter and easier to arrange.

You can cut them up or leave them intact, depending on how many you have and much space you have to fill. Remember to leave the caps on plastic bottles, and of course, make sure they are emptied, rinsed out, and cleaned before using them in your planter box.

Heavy pot fillers

rocks in pot
©Scott Webb / Unsplash

For permanent installations, some landscapers may choose to use heavy materials that add weight and keep the display in place. Broken pieces of ceramic, concrete, brick or rock are all good options to fill any shape of planter.

Biodegradable materials

If you’re looking for a more short-term solution to fill your planters, there are plenty of environmentally friendly filler options that will break down over time and add nutrients to your garden soil, such as:

  • Wood chips
  • Pine cones
  • Leaves and sticks
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Recycled cardboard

Often times you can find these materials in your backyard or collecting dust in the garage, so they’re the perfect low-cost option for creating a sustainable container garden.

Related article: 5 Biophilic Design Ideas for your Home or Office

Wood chips
©ananth22by7 / Unsplash

Line your tall planter

To prolong the life of your wood and metal planters, you should always line the inside of the whole planter box to prevent erosion or rust. But if your planter is made of another material, lining it is totally optional.

Small filler materials, like wood chips or packing peanuts, might fall through the drainage holes if they are too big. In this case, you should line your planter with landscaping fabric to keep your fillers contained.

Another option would be to fill the bottom of the planter with larger fillers that cover the holes, such as Styrofoam blocks, and adding small filler on the top.

Step 2: Choose plants to decorate your tall planter

Tall planters in home
©Lasting Greenery / Jay Scotts

Choosing the right plants for a tall planter can be a challenge. Because of their size, tall garden planters have the ability to catch your eye much more easily, for better or worse!

For those who are drawn to minimalism, one plant can easily create a perfectly clean and simple look in your garden.

But if you want to create an arrangement that is balanced and interesting, tall planters are the perfect place to show them off. One way to create a dynamic planter display is to plant several smaller plants using the “thrillers fillers spillers” method.

Thrillers are tall, upright plants that naturally catch your eye with their bright colors and unusual shapes. They are usually planted in the back of the container, unless the pot will be visible from all sides, in which case they should be planted in the middle. Some popular thrillers include ornamental grasses, salvia, or cordyline.

Fillers add more mass to your planter and make it appear fuller. A good filler should cover the base of your thriller and add another layer of texture or color to your planter. Geraniums, marigolds, and petunias are great choices for fillers.

Spillers occupy any extra space and soften the edges of your planter. These usually include trailing plants such as sweet potato vine, creeping jenny, or various types of ivy.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure that any plants you choose are able to thrive in your environment. Conditions such as sunlight, warmth, and humidity will play a huge role in the overall well-being of your plants.

For more tips on choosing the perfect plants for your large planters, check out our guide to flower pot arrangements!

Step 3: Finding a place for your tall planter

Indoors or outdoors, tall planters are sure to make a statement. Here are a few ideas for using your new planter in the home, garden, or office:

To greet visitors

Planters at a restaurant's entrance
©Jay Scotts

If you want to make a great impression on your company before they even walk in the front door, tall planters are a great choice. After all, there are few things as welcoming as a beautiful plant display.

Our San Jose Tall Round Planter is perfect for defining entryways to help draw in passersby. While its simple tapered design is appealing with or without plants, complete it with an aesthetic plant arrangement and you will be drowning in compliments from guests, neighbors, and shoppers!

Related article: 15 Beautiful Front Porch Planter Ideas

To create privacy

Shaded porch
©301 Ocean

Long and tall planters can function a lot like hedges that help to create privacy or divide the different areas of your space, even without dense hedge-like plants.

Our Amesbury Narrow Rectangular Planter is tall enough to create privacy in any setting, even without tall plants. With various lengths available, this planter is perfect for separating different areas of the porch or patio.

Related article: Guide to Edging a Patio

Rio Grande Planter
©Jay Scotts

To define walkways

Looking for a way to direct foot traffic on your paths and walkways? All you need is four tall planters – two at the beginning of the walkway and two at the end. The height of your planters will catch the eyes of pedestrians and show them the way.

Try our Rio Grande Planter – its sleek cylindrical shape will add a subtle decorative flair to any walkway.

Related article: Outdoor Landscaping with Containers and Potted Plants

Accentuate your landscape with the Jay Scotts Collection of fiberglass planters

If you want your front porch or backyard to stand out from the crowd, a tall planter makes a great addition to any space.

Fiberglass planters are especially appealing due to their durability and resistance to weather changes. Even if a strong storm comes along and somehow knocks over your planter, the likelihood of damage is slim to none. And if you do find a scratch on your planter, fiberglass can be easily repaired and refinished.

Our fiberglass planters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so we have no shortage of tall planter options to fit your needs. Whether you need a narrow planter to define the entryway, or long planters to create privacy on the patio, we’ve got you covered.

Visit our shop to check out our full collection of fiberglass planters, or contact us to inquire about wholesale or special orders.

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