Skip to main content


All-American Pots & Plants for the 4th — and Beyond

Summer celebrations allow us to unleash our red-white-and-blue creativity. This year, why not add patriotic planters to the mix? Between the 4th of July and Olympics viewing, you’ll have many opportunities for flag-related décor. The right selection of flowers won’t fade after the celebrations are over, and if properly cared for, will last through the summer. 

Planter basics
When combining plants in your containers, ensure they all need the same light levels and frequency of watering. Don’t mix shade and full sun-loving plants together. Be sure to have at least one thriller, filler, and spiller plant. Combining these three types of plants adds interest and balance. 

  • Thriller. These plants add height and a bold vertical element. Some options include plants chosen for foliage or upright flowering plants. Thrillers typically go near the center of a container.
  • Filler. Fillers tend to be more rounded or mounded and serve to make the container look full. These are generally placed in front of or around the thriller.
  • Spiller. Plants that hang over the edge of the container are considered spillers. If your container garden is seen from all sides, place spillers all the way around.

Be careful not to overfill your container. If the plants are overcrowded, growth can be stunted both above and below the soil. To lessen the chances of overfilling a container, you will generally want to follow these plant to pot size ratios: 

  • 10″ to 12″ pot can hold 3-4 plants 
  • 14″ to 16″ pot can hold 5-7 plants 
  • 16″ to 20″ pot can hold 6-9 plants 

The containers
The basic rule of three comes in handy when designing your containers. Follow the principle that odd-numbered groupings of the same plant look more natural than even numbered groupings. Select three containers of varying sizes; containers come in a variety of price points, from basic terracotta pots to glazed ceramics. The most important thing is that there are drainage holes on the bottom. 

Fourth of July planters might be colorful or embellished. Purchased at a craft store, galvanized pots with burlap or gauze ribbons in red, white and blue are a budget-friendly way to go, but remember to drill small drainage holes. It is easy to turn plain terracotta pots into something dramatic with a couple of coats of outdoor paint. For some final flair, stick in a flag or pin-wheel for the big day. 

The plants
If you want to take your planter into the fall, consider choosing a perennial for your thriller. It can be transplanted into the garden at the end of summer. Annuals have showy, colorful flowers that last for just one season. They are ideal for the fillers and spillers. 

Fill your container with an all-purpose potting soil. Begin planting in the middle and spread out. Always loosen the roots before putting the plants in the soil. When you water be sure to moisten the entire root zone. In other words, water until water comes out of the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. It may take as much as a gallon of water to thoroughly water a 10- to 12-inch container. 

Deadhead spent blooms to encourage new growth. While many plants come in a variety of colors, here are some suggestions for your patriotic planters: 

  • The red: begonia, caladium, geraniums, impatiens, petunia, snap dragon and verbena 
  • The white: alyssum, anemone, bee balm, dahlia, dusty miller, phlox and Shasta daisy 
  • The blue: blue delphinium, hydrangea, salvia, blue star and grape hyacinth 

Plan ahead now for your festive flowers and enjoy them all summer long!  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *