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From the team at Gardeners' World Magazine

Plants for beautiful April pots

Published: Friday, 8 April, 2022 at 10:06 am

Create containers that look gorgeous in April with our simple formula

A vibrant container display can bring instant colour and impact to your garden. But it can be hard to know which plants will work well together. To help you create gorgeous pots every time, we’ve created a recipe for success, it’s called ‘thriller, filler, spiller’.

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By following this formula, you can be sure you have all the elements to create a beautiful pot, and you can mix and match to suit your taste and the plants you can find. Each month, we’ll bring you a selection of the best plants to grow in pots, using this formula. Simply choose at least one plant from each section, opting for complementary or contrasting colours, for show-stopping pots guaranteed.

More container planting ideas

Follow our formula for creating gorgeous containers, that look at their best in April.


Thrillers

This is your star plant, so you’re looking for something that will give your pot colour and impact. Choose something that instantly catches your eye, as it’ll set the tone for your whole container display.


Thriller: Hyacinthus orientalis

Hyacinthus orientalis
Hyacinthus orientalis

Hyacinthus orientalis will flower throughout the month with striking flowers in blue, pink or white, making it an excellent choice for your April pot. It doesn't just look beautiful, it also produces a wonderful scent.

How to grow hyacinths


Thriller: Lamprocapnos spectabilis

Lamprocapnos spectabilis
Lamprocapnos spectabilis

With the evocative common name of bleeding heart, Lamprocapnos spectabilis, will make a statement in your April container display. The heart shaped, pink-red flowers hang off arching stems to great effect.


Thriller: Fritillaria imperialis

Fritillaria imperialis
Fritillaria imperialis

If you're after a thrilling show-stopper in your April pot, look no further than Fritillaria imperialis. The flower stems can reach up to 1.2m metres with bold orange bell-shaped flowers that can be up to 8cm in length.


Thriller: Tulips

Pot of various tulip varieties in pink
Tulipa 'Purple Crystal', Tulipa 'Mistress', Tulipa 'China Pink', Tulipa 'Burgundy' and Tulipa 'Mango' Charm

A spring pot wouldn't be complete without some tulips, they grow very well in pots but do require planting in the autumn, so be sure to plant some bulbs later this year ready for the following spring.


Fillers

This is likely to be a less showy plant than your thriller, but makes the whole display look fuller and more interesting. For a harmonious display, choose a plant in the same or a similar colour to your thriller, or for a bolder look opt for a contrasting colour.

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Filler: Polypodium vulgare

Polypodium vulgare
Polypodium vulgare

Ferns can be used effectively as fillers in pots and Polypodium vulgare is no exception. With its ladder-like foliage and distinctive pimply underside, it's a striking addition to any container.


Filler: Campanula portenschlagiana

Campanula portenschlagiana
Campanula portenschlagiana

Although Campanula portenschlagiana won't flower until the summer, its small ivy-like leaves, which form a dense mat, are really effective as a filler for your April pot.


Filler: Euphorbia epithymoides

Euphorbia epithymoides
Euphorbia epithymoides

Euphorbia epithymoides or the cushion spurge, is effective when planted towards the back of a container, its yellow flowers and bright green foliage will beautifully complement spring flowering bulbs.


Filler: Myosotis sylvatica

Myosotis sylvatica
Myosotis sylvatica

Myosotis sylvatica, more commonly known as the forget-me-not, forms a carpet of blue flowers in spring that works wonderfully as a backdrop to other flowers, and is effective as a filler for your spring pot.


Spillers

These plants spill over the edges of the pot, giving the display a softer, more natural look and ensuring there’s no bare compost on show. They’re also useful for filling in any gaps.


Spiller: Phlox subulata 'McDaniel's Cushion'

Phlox subulata 'McDaniel's Cushion'
Phlox subulata 'McDaniel's Cushion'

There are a wide range of phlox available, but alpine varieties will flourish in containers with their mat-forming habit. Phlox subulata 'McDaniel's Cushion', with its delicate pink flowers, will look beautiful spilling over the sides of your April pot.

How to grow phlox


Spiller: Sedum brevifolium

Sedum brevifolium
Sedum brevifolium

Sedums are a useful plant, with their succulent foliage which will tumble over the sides of your container. Sedum brevifolium is a small variety with tiny, succulent evergreen foliage that makes it a great addition to your pot year round, it will produce starry white flowers in the summer.


Spiller: Carex elata 'Aurea'

Carex elata 'Aurea'
Carex elata 'Aurea'

Carex elata 'Aurea' is a dwarf sedge that will spill over the sides of your April pot. Its bright yellow leaves complement spring bulbs beautifully.


Spiller: Senecio cineraria 'Silver Dust'

Senecio cineraria 'Silver Dust'
Senecio cineraria 'Silver Dust'

Senecio cineraria 'Silver Dust', with its silvery-grey leaves, makes a beautiful accompaniment to a pot of vibrant spring bulbs. Plant at the front of your container, and let the foliage spill over the sides.


Plan ahead for a season of beautiful pots, using our ‘Thriller, Filler, Spiller’ formula, and browse our pick of the best plants for:

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