I feel like a garden in winter is a special thing. Full of the deep, reflective quiet of nature, waiting patiently to come alive again in spring with riots of color and fragrance. But if you look, the winter garden still has everything to offer the nature lover. (And lets face it, if you weren’t a nature lover, you wouldn’t be here!) So if you think that your garden has to go to sleep each winter, then think again. There are lots of small evergreen plants that can be used to create thriving winter planters, and a few designer tricks using natural materials to help you make it amazing.
Bring some winter wonder to the areas within visual distance of your home interior or entrance for the best impact. Learn how to make winter garden planters and remind yourself on those blustery days of the bond we have with nature. These easy container recipes, tips and tricks will help you create winter containers that wow, without spending a lot of money or time.
How to Make Winter Planters
Simple Winter Garden Planters – How-To:
- Realize the best winter garden planters have a combination of living plants and natural materials added, such as twigs, berries and branches. Don’t feel like you have to do one or the other, as they complement each other and are the designer secret to containers that get attention.
- Choose planters for your space, then fill them tightly with planting mix. Don’t use potting soil, as it is too lightweight to hold branches and twigs in place all winter. Water the planter well and let drain.
- If you are using living plants, plant them into the pots now.
- Now add any twigs and branches you choose, stepping back often to view the overall look of the planter. Make sure the branches are buried deep enough in the soil that they will stay put. Add any berries, or holiday ornaments if you choose.
- Remember to water the living plants occasionally during the winter if all you get is snow and not much rain. Photo by ‘Blomsterverkstad‘. (This container is thyme and ornamental kale.)
Plants that are evergreen or semi-evergreen in many states
- Creeping jenny
- Vinca Vine
- Ornamental Kale or Cabbage
- Ornamental grasses (Not all are evergreen, but left un-cut they all look great through winter!)
Ideas for natural materials to enhance your planter
- Red or yellow twig dogwood
- Curly willow twigs/branches
- Birch branches
- Berry sprays
- Seed pods and cones
- Evergreen cuttings, branches and tree tops
- Magnolia branches
Pam at ‘House of Hawthornes‘ uses the same method as we do to plant her winter garden planters. This one is so simple, and if any of the greens dry out, you can easily replace them as the season goes on. (Oh, and you can add holiday sparklies during December.)
Heather at ‘Setting for Four‘ added birch branches to her basic winter planters. She flanked her front door with these, then added red for holiday pop!
From ‘5Th and State‘, this winter garden planter is a perfect example of using both living plants and branches. This one includes white ornamental cabbage, yellow twig dogwood branches, cedar branches, fir tree branches and some eucalyptus.
Create a winter container garden with ‘HGTV‘! This is a zone 7 garden, and the variegated plant is euphorbia. Pansies will bloom up until a very hard frost or good snow. (And then often times come back with the first sign of spring!) Trailing rosemary adds a wonderful scent here, but you could use an evergreen ivy as well. Of course, this winter planter is made up of all living plants, and if you live in a colder zone, you can accent with some branches for texture.
‘Southern Living‘ knows how to make winter garden planters. The contrast between this purple ornamental kale, golden false cypress and the variegated yucca would pop even more if you have rainy, overcast skies or a dusting of snow!
Deborah Silver at ‘Dirt Simple‘ has another recipe for living plant winter garden containers. This window box is full of ornamental kale and creeping jenny. Remember to pack a winter planter more full then you would a spring one, as it will not be actively growing and filling up the pot!
If you are a gardening purist and don’t want to use branches and cuttings, we have a solution for you. Use dwarf selections of evergreens shrubs to plant your own tiny little forest. From ‘Martha‘.
If you want contrast with the snow and ice, think red accents for your winter planters. These red dogwood branches take this simple urn to a higher level, without screaming “holiday”. From ‘Midwest Living‘.
Loving on these winter garden planters from ‘KMS Gardens‘. These are simply cuttings from common backyard evergreen shrubs, and some seed pods and cones. The bright yellow green really gives good contrast against the black containers, and then they are repeated throughout the space.
From Deborah at ‘Dirt Simple‘ again, this simple container is just three things… Spruce, red dogwood and birch. The second photo is an example of what happens when you take the advice of a great designer (Deborah, in this case!) and light your containers!
Elizabeth from ‘Pretty Pink Tulips‘ took her garden decor and some evergreen branches and made some magic! We can imagine this lantern would look like a winter woodland fantasy when lighted at night.
From ‘UBD Landscape‘, here is another example of a designer using lighting to make winter garden planters really stand out.
Last, Katherine at ‘Your Place By Design‘ made her winter planters with some really cool seed pods and some twig balls you can get at any craft store. We would suggest you wire those balls with some floral wire to keep them stable in the wind.
So don’t stop gardening when the weather gets colder. Learn how to make winter garden planters! If you enjoyed learning about this topic, try our posts on Fall Front Door Decor Ideas, DIY front yard Christmas decorating projects or fall lawn tricks for a killer lawn in spring! And don’t forget to join our Home & Garden DIY Facebook group and our Pinterest page so you see right away when we post new ideas and advice!Image Credits: House of Hawthornes, Blomsterverkstad, Setting for Four, 5TH and State, HGTV, Southern Living, Dirt Simple, Martha, Midwest Living, KMS Gardens, Pretty Pink Tulips, UBD Landscape, Calling It Home