Red & White European Dish Garden For Spring

5 Materials
1 Hour

Looking for a quick yet unique centerpiece for your Spring table? This Red & White European Dish Garden is just what you need!

European Dish Garden – doesn’t that sound fancy? What makes a dish garden European? The secret behind a European Dish Garden is in the way it is put together and what types of plants are used.

By definition, a European Dish Garden combines green and blooming plants. They are left in their individual pots and grouped together in a single container. Leaving the plants in their individual containers and arranging them in the container (pot, basket or ceramic type) is a great time saver!


The first step is to choose your container. You can use any type of container you want. Because I was going to use this centerpiece on our outdoor table, I decided to use my terra cotta pot which sits in a rustic iron stand. I wanted to use battery taper candles in the candle holder. The pot could be used without the stand if you wanted.

This type of terra cotta pot is called a bulb pot or bulb pan. It is 10" in diameter.

Please take into consideration where your finished European Dish Garden will be sitting. If the container is not water tight, you will want to add a liner or something that will catch the water so it doesn’t leak on to your furniture. I used a small saucer to cover the hole in the terra cotta pot.

To make it easier to design the dish garden, I removed the terra cotta insert from the rustic iron stand while I “planted” it.

Choose Your Plants

I like to use the “thriller, spiller and filler” method of planting. In simple terms, the thriller is the focal point, the spiller adds motion and the filler fills in the “holes”. While at the garden center (which in this case was actually the local hardware store!), I found a bright red Kalanchoe for the thriller, two white Bacopas for the spillers and a creamy white Viola for the filler.

Because the plants are going to be kept in their individual pots and watered individually, you don’t need to pay attention to differences in water requirements like you would if you were planting plants together in soil. For example, the kalanchoe that I chose is a succulent and requires less water than the violas and the bacopa.

In order to get 4 plants to fit in my pot, I used plants in 4 inch pots.

The “Planting” Process

I placed the kalanchoe in the pot first.

The white viola is added next. I placed it to the side of the kalanchoe.

The bacopas are added next. One to the front of the pot and one to the back.

I like to cover the soil with moistened sheet moss. The sheet moss helps keep moisture in the soil and also makes the dish garden look more finished.

After I finished added the moss, I placed the pot into the rustic holder. I had accidentally broken off a few stems of the kalanchoe so I placed them in front of the candle holder for this picture!

The Finished Red & White European Dish Garden

Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. More info

Top Hometalk Projects

The Wonderful Things You Can Make With...Paper!
21 Totally Terrific Things You Can Do With Doilies
Spruce Up Your Plain Lamp With One Of These Great Ideas
30 Unusual & Helpful Gardening Tips You'll Want To Know
Easy DIY Ideas To Add Some FUN To Your Office Space
15 Easy & Colorful DIY Projects For Your Home
27 Gorgeous Update Ideas For Your Bedroom
Kimberly Snyder

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Mona Murphy
    Mona Murphy
    on Apr 7, 2021

    They don’t get root bound by leaving in the original containers and will grow just as much as if in potting soil?

    • Kimberly Snyder
      Kimberly Snyder
      on Apr 7, 2021

      That is a good question, Mona! They will become root bound if left in their pots for an extended period of time. I usually make the European Dish gardens for a specific event or time period. The kalanchoe is slower growing so I can leave it and then swap out the other plants in a few weeks. I probably would transplant the bacopas into a patio pot for the rest of the Spring/Summer . I will try to transplant the Violas but I am not sure how they will hold up in our Florida heat!

  • Carolyn Whitetail
    Carolyn Whitetail
    on Apr 10, 2021

    Can i use flowers that rebloom all summer. If so what type would work for this project?

Join the conversation

2 of 9 comments
  • Mara Vsn
    Mara Vsn
    on Apr 10, 2021

    I hace a wock,Will try this. Love the idea . Thanks

  • P
    on Apr 17, 2021

    stick the broken pieces of kalanchoe into water or the dirt & they will root!

Your comment...