Spilled Flower Pot Ideas to Add a Touch of Whimsy to Your Garden

Want something different in your container garden? Break the mould (and maybe even some pots) with this spilled flower pot design.

Pink and purple petunias spilling out of a sideways flower pot
(Image credit: charinporn thayot / Getty Images)

Have you ever tripped over or dropped a plant pot? I have, and while the results weren’t disastrous, enough of the pot broke that it couldn’t be used as it normally would. Then came the idea to create a pot spilling flowers. You don’t have to emulate me and break a plant pot to make a spilled pot planter. Sideways flower pots are all the rage right now using a variety of pots from plastic to glazed ceramic to old buckets, or anything else you come up with. Want to add a splash of whimsy to your landscape? Keep reading to learn how to create spill pots.

How to Make a Spilled Flower Pot

Pink and red begonias spilling out of a sideways wooden barrel

(Image credit: phbcz / Getty Images)
  1. First you will need a cracked, broken or intact planting container. Terra cotta, plastic, resin or glazed pottery all work well. Choose something with a wide mouth, and the bigger, the better; although I did break a particularly lovely jade green 8 inch (20 cm) pot that I still used as a spilled flower pot.
  2. Next you want to select the flowers you want spilling out of your pot. Consider what location you will be placing your spilled pot planter. Will it be a shaded area or full sun? Choose your plants accordingly.
  3. Then you will need some good quality, well-draining potting mix or make your own.
  4. Excavate a hollow in the soil to accommodate the curve of the plant pot enough that it can be filled in to stabilize the container. If you have a broken pot, put the broken side of the pot facing down into the dirt.
  5. Then lay your pot on its side, nestled into the hollow you’ve made and fill in around the pot partway, leaving most of the container exposed. You just want the pot in the soil enough so it doesn’t roll on you.
  6. Fill the sideways pot partially with potting soil. Plant your flowers allowing them to “spill” out towards the mouth of the pot. Start with 1-2 plants halfway into the pot and gradually increase the number of plants as you exit the container so they look like they are pouring out of the container. Water the transplants.
  7. That’s it! Give the spilled pot a few weeks to look really spectacular. You need to wait until the plants grow and fill the container and surrounding dirt.

Best Flowers for Spilled Pots

Pink petunias spilling out of a sideways blue flower pot

(Image credit: Kamal Aljahed / Getty Images)

You can use all kinds of plants for a spilled flower pot, but ideally you want plants that bloom the entire growing season. If you’re on a budget, plants that are available in pony packs are an economical way to go. Also you want lower growing colorful annuals.

Choose plants depending upon the available light exposure as well. For instance, partially shaded areas could be planted using impatiens, begonias, viola or even colorful coleus.

Sun lovers conducive to spilled flower pots include pansies, marigolds, petunias and calibrachoa to name a few.

Tuck in a trailing annual like ivy or sweet potato vine along the sides of the pot to further elicit the spilled effect. Combine low herbs like thyme with your annuals to add some texture. Opt to use a single color or plant a riot of hues.

Charming Spilled Flower Pot Ideas

Flowers spilling out of a sideways barrel next to a wooden goose sculpture

(Image credit: Simon Dux / Getty Images)

The sky's the limit when it comes to spilled flower pot ideas. You can get creative and use something other than a pot like a watering can, old wheelbarrow or repurposed container of any type; just make sure it has an opening of at least 8-10 inches (20-25 cm).

You can leave your container as is or decorate it by painting, mosaicing, or otherwise embellishing it with pretty stones, seashells, or colored marbles.

Instead of colorful flowers, use low-growing succulents like sedum or hen and chick for a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant container.

Group odd numbers of spilled flower containers to make more of an impact in the garden. Use various sizes to make even more of a statement.

To make watering easy, use a drip line kit; build your own or extend from an existing drip line.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.