Create a Winter Container Garden

Use evergreens and winter-hardy plants to create a festive holiday planter.

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Winter Planters

The cold weather doesn't mean the end for colorful plant displays. There are many flowers and plants that thrive in the winter. The best part is, you can find interesting textures to add to your winter planters in your own yard. 


You will need pots, potting soil and cold-hardy plants. I selected pansies, dusty miller, variegated euphorbia and trailing rosemary. These are hardy varieties for my zone 7 home. Select appropriate plants for your zone.

Select and Fill the Pots

Decide if you are going to use one large planter or several smaller ones. If you are using one large planter, place it in its final location before planting, as will probably be too heavy to move afterwards. For convenience, I used three smaller terra-cotta pots.

Start With the Tallest Plant

When planting a combination of plants, it's best to start with the tallest or largest plant. This is the anchor plant. The euphorbia is set off center and toward the back because it will be nearest a wall. For 360 degree viewing, the anchor plant may be best placed in the center of the pot. 

Tuck in Smaller Plants

Use the smaller plants in the front of the larger anchor plant. I went with a deep red pansy.

Add More Texture and Color

Use other textured plants in a similarly-sized planter. For the second pot, I used dusty miller and some more pansies. In a third pot I used a trailing rosemary. Play around with different combinations. 

Arrange the Planters

Since I used three smaller pots, I needed to elevate the pot with the taller plant. I placed a paver in the back and set the pot with the euphorbia on top. The other two pots are placed in the front. 

Gather Some Greenery

Grab your trusty pruners and head out into the yard! I foraged in my backyard and cut a few branches of holly, magnolia, pine and cryptomeria. If you have pine cones scattered about, grab a few. 

Trim the Branches

Trim the braches to an appropriate size for your pots. Make a nice, clean cut.

Tuck in the Greenery

Tuck the greenery in between the plants and the pot rim. Go ahead and fill in any space with exposed soil. Make sure you get the branches into the soil really well. The soil will help keep the branches from wilting.

Tuck in More Greenery

Use the other greenery in the other pots. Play around with color and textures.

Pot Up the Greenery

You can also use a smaller pot filled with soil for more branches. This will create more texture and provide an interesting background for your potted plants. 

Add the Greenery Pot

Place the potted greenery behind a planter that needs a little more texture. 

Fill in the Gaps

Use additonal greenery and pinecones to fill in any gaps or spaces around your pots. Water when the soil gets dry and the display should last a couple of weeks.