A spilled flower pot adds a charming, informal touch to any garden landscape. Unlike a normal potted plant, a spilled flower pot is defined by vines growing over the pot’s side, “spilling” out. The pots for these outdoor decorations are often tilted, accentuating the spilling. Cascading blooms seem to overflow right out of the pot. Follow this simple guide to create a spilled flower pot planter using materials you likely have on hand.

Gather Materials

Creating a spilled flower pot is an easy DIY garden project. You need a few materials:

  • A cracked or broken terracotta or plastic flower pot (at least 8–10″ wide)
  • Potting soil or compost
  • Five or six small summer bedding plants like petunias, begonias, or impatiens

Pick plants suited for partial shade since the spilled flower pot will be under the shade of your other containers. For a cohesive look, choose plants with coordinating colors.

Select Location

Find a spot in your garden landscape that has at least one foot of bare space around it so you can spread the spilled soil. The spilled flower pot will look nice spilling out from under shrubs, next to a garden path, or grouped with your other potted plants.

Consider placing it next to a seating area where you can enjoy the cascading blooms up close. Think about the sun exposure in the area. Most annual flowers need at least four to six hours of daily sunlight. Morning sun is ideal to prevent the soil in your spilled pot from drying out too quickly.

Prepare Soil

When you make the decision to grow plants in a pot, you’re making the choice to keep your soil as pristine as possible. Remove any grass or weeds from a space about 1-foot wide x 2 feet long. Loosen the soil in this area with a spade or small shovel.

Dump a bag of potting soil or compost over the cleared space. This extra-rich soil will help your plants get established and grow at their best. It also improves drainage and provides nutrients.

Rake the areas, spreading out the enriched soil. Keep the amended soil area at least 2 inches higher than the surrounding ground.

Plant Flowers

Unpot your bedding plants and plant them together around the pot in the enriched soil. Place two or three plants trailing out of the planter’s open rim to complete the spilled-out effect.

Water the plants well after planting, and add a 2-inch layer of mulch around the pot to help preserve moisture.

Finish With Decorative Touches

Consider adding decorative stones, marbles, or glass nuggets around the spilled flower pot for extra sparkle. Small solar lights also look lovely nestled into the planting.

Sit back and enjoy your spilled flower pot! Be sure to deadhead spent blooms and water when the soil dries out. Add a diluted liquid fertilizer monthly for best growth and flowering.

Maintaining Spilled Flower Pots

Caring for a spilled flower pot is like tending to any outdoor container garden. Follow these organic care tips:

  • Water thoroughly whenever the top inch of soil is dry. Check soil moisture daily in hot weather.
  • Apply a balanced organic liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks during the growing season. Slow-release granular fertilizer also works.
  • Groom plants by removing spent blooms (deadheading) to encourage more flowers.
  • Watch for pests like aphids and mites. Treat promptly with organic methods to keep damage minimal.
  • Consider adding mulch around the pot to help retain moisture and discourage weeds.
  • Re-pot the arrangement with fresh plants each year, as most annuals decline late in the season.

With proper care, your spilled flower pot will flourish all season long, adding a playful touch to your garden. The blooms cascading out from the pot create a joyful, informal look that kids and adults will love.

Design Variations

Change up the look of your spilled flower pot with these fun variations:

  • Combine trailing foliage plants like variegated ivy with blooming annuals.
  • Use a big glazed ceramic bowl or urn as the base instead of a standard flower pot.
  • Plant low-light succulents like sedum or hen and chicks for low maintenance and drought tolerance.
  • Opt for a monochromatic color scheme with different flowers in the same hue.
  • Let compatible herbs like thyme or parsley spill out along with the ornamental flowers.
  • Collect interesting container “bases” for different looks like a toy truck, watering can, or colander.
  • Stir in decorative touches like stones, marbles, sea glass, or crushed shells as mulch.
  • Group three to five spilled pots together for a cohesive arrangement. Vary colors and textures.

You can get creative with this simple DIY garden project. Change up your spilled pots seasonally for an ever-evolving display.

FAQs about Spilled Flower Pots

What can I use instead of a flower pot?

You can use anything that holds dirt and compost to build spilled flower pots. That includes old buckets, watering cans, colanders, toy trucks, wheelbarrows, teapots — let your imagination run wild. Make sure the container has an opening diameter of 8 to 10 inches.

Should I fertilize a spilled flower pot?

You should fertilize a spilled flower pot. Apply a balanced organic liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks during the growing season.

How often do I need to water a spilled flower pot?

Check the soil moisture in your spilled flower pot daily and water it whenever the top inch of soil is dry. Pots dry out quicker than garden beds, and continued moisture is key.

What plants work best in a spilled flower pot?

The best plants for spilled flower pots are compact annuals suited for partial shade. Those include petunias, impatiens, begonias, and coleus. Trailing plants work nicely, spilling over the sides.

How long do spilled flower pots last?

Spilled flower pots last one season until cold weather hits. You can replant the pot with fresh flowers next spring and recreate the look annually.

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Jonathon Jachura

Jonathon Jachura


Jonathon Jachura is a two-time homeowner with hands-on experience with HVAC, gutters, plumbing, lawn care, pest control, and other aspects of owning a home. He is passionate about home maintenance and finding the best services. His main goal is to educate others with crisp, concise descriptions that any homeowner can use. Jon uses his strong technical background to create engaging, easy-to-read, and informative guides. He does most of his home and lawn projects himself but hires professional companies for the “big things.” He knows what goes into finding the best service providers and contractors. Jon studied mechanical engineering at Purdue University in Indiana and worked in the HVAC industry for 12 years. Between his various home improvement projects, he enjoys the outdoors, a good cup of coffee, and spending time with his family.

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Sabrina Lopez


Sabrina Lopez is a senior editor for Today’s Homeowner with over 7 years of writing and editing experience in digital media. She has reviewed content across categories that matter to homeowners, including HVAC services, home renovations, lawn and garden care, products for the home, and insurance services. When she’s not reviewing articles to make sure they are helpful, accessible, and engaging for homeowners like herself, Sabrina enjoys spending time with her family and their two parrots.

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