Transform your front porch into a winter wonderland with these enchanting planter ideas! Learn how to design budget-friendly and cozy front porch planter ideas for winter with these simple tips.
Winter container gardens are a great way to extend the gardening season and are much easier to create than they look. Outdoor planters for winter are low maintenance, require minimal investment, and can last through February if properly cared for.
They are great holiday decorating ideas too as you can spruce with up with Christmas balls, bells, berries, pinecones, ribbons, and twinkle lights.
Today I’m sharing an easy way to decorate your winter planters that uses a conical evergreen tree as the focal point. Because I was inspired to keep the Dwarf Alberta Spruces in my front porch urns, I underplanted them with Christmas greens cut from my yard together with some Magnolia cuttings from the nursery.
And I love how they turned out!!!
Follow these simple tips for making your own beautiful Christmas planters.
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What Type of Planters Can Stay Outside All Winter?
Because certain types of planters won’t survive the freezing and thawing temperatures of winter.
Certain pots like terra cotta and ceramic absorb moisture that expands and freezes with the rising and falling temperatures which cracks and damages containers.
So it is better to use winter planters made from metal, concrete, fiberglass, resin, and wood containers.
What Do You Put in Outdoor Planters for Winter?
There are lots of fun options to make pretty winter containers for the holidays and beyond. I always start with fresh potting soil because it helps anchor the branches and other festive decor.
But here are some more ideas to include in your festive outdoor planters this year.
- Fresh-cut evergreen branches
- Oversized ornaments
- Architectural elements
- Christmas bells
- Berry Stems
- Christmas lights
How to Make These Cozy Front Porch Planter Ideas for Winter
Since my favorite black urns that flank my front door already had a dwarf Alberta spruce in them, I decided to keep them and decorate around them.
If you want to create a similar look, purchase a small conical evergreen from the local nursery. But you can also use boxwoods and other small evergreen shrubs too.
Here’s how to make these stunning Christmas pots.
In general, here’s what you’ll need to make beautiful front porch planter ideas for winter.
Determine what containers you will use, then look around your landscape. What types of evergreen shrubs or trees do you have in your yard that you can take cuttings from?
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Choosing Greens for Christmas Pots
There are lots of great options to use in front porch planter ideas for winter. Here is a quick list of winter greens to look for.
- Cedar Branch
I typically use cuttings from boxwood, andromeda, rhododendron, and other evergreen trees because that’s what I have in my yard. If you don’t have a good variety, cuttings can be purchased from the local nursery.
Thriller, Filler, and Spiller Design Technique
When choosing the greens you want to use, consider the container design thriller, filler and spiller technique as you’ll want to select greens that will fulfill those roles.
I not only use this method for my garden container designs but also use it when creating centerpieces.
Since evergreen plants and shrubs are all, well…green, look for cuttings that are different shades of green, with different shaped or sized leaves and varying textures. Using varied foliage will add lots of character, depth, and interest to your Christmas planters.
Last year, I used both cuttings from my Christmas tree as well as cuttings from my yard.
And the best part?
That outdoor planter design was all free.
In other years, I’ve supplemented with more fresh greens from the local nursery to get more of a variety than I have in my yard.
Directions to Make This Outdoor Winter Decorating Idea
Since I wanted to keep my Dwarf Alberta Spruces as the focal point (thriller) of each winter planter, I used fresh cuts from our Christmas tree and cedar branches as the spiller.
For the filler, I used cuttings from Boxwood and Andromeda shrubs. To break up the varying shades and textures and add more interest, I like to incorporate some sort of large leaf or dried flower heads from my garden.
How to Take Cuttings for the Front Porch Planter Ideas for Winter
Once you determine what shrubs and trees you will take cuttings from, grab pruners and make sure they are clean before you use them. I run a Clorox Wipe over them to clean and disinfect them before making cuts to avoid spreading disease and promote good plant hygiene.
(If you are unfamiliar with how to take cuttings or basic pruning techniques, click here.)
Make your cuts and get ready to plant. Gather your cuttings, potting soil, containers, and gloves (if you use them).
Since I love rustic-looking outdoor planters for winter, I don’t decorate mine with much else. Depending on your Christmas aesthetic, you can add berries, pinecones, ornaments, birch branches, ribbon, bows, etc. too.
The bottom line is, it’s your outdoor winter planter design so use what you love that makes you happy!
Add Fresh Soil to Containers and Start Planting
If you don’t have potting soil in your containers, add fresh soil. Then start stuffing it with the thriller, filler and spiller planting technique.
While working with the thriller, filler and spiller technique, plant in layers. I started with the Dwarf Alberta Spruce, then surrounded it with cuttings from our Christmas tree.
To add an additional layer of texture and dimension, I tucked cedar branches on top of the Christmas tree cuts. Not only does this add additional texture but the base looks more full.
Now that the thriller and spiller features are planted, I filled in with Magnolia cuttings, Andromeda, and Boxwood (in that order). Check out my IGTV video explaining how I designed each layer.
Pro Tip: While working, stop and step back a few times to at the planter for symmetry and fullness.
Oftentimes, I go back into the landscape and cut more so I can stuff them as much as I can until they look nice and full.
How to Care for Outdoor Winter Containers
Water your outdoor planters for winter when you are done designing them. If your container is not under a protected area like a front porch or awning, the outdoor elements should take care of them all winter long.
If your containers are under a protected area, there are two options of care: water them every now and again, or leave them be and let them dry out when they dry out.
My containers are located under the roof line and look pretty good until about mid-February. So I pull them away from the roof line during inclement weather or water them when I remember which helps them last longer.
But to be honest, I tend to forget so I pretty much just let them be.
And that’s it! Don’t they look so much better now?
More About Front Porch Planter Ideas for Winter
Do you make your own Christmas pots too? Making Christmas planters is one of my favorite things to do for the holidays. If you love making them too, I’d love to know more in the comments below.
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Looking For More Christmas Decorating Ideas?
I love looking through festive holiday inspiration to get ideas for this year’s decorating aesthetic, don’t you?
Wait until you see these holiday decorating, entertaining, and food ideas to create a cozy home for Christmas.
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I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years. With a deep passion for gardening, I enjoy helping others find their inner green thumb with all things plants and flowers, as well as find ways to bring the outdoors inside their homes too.
Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging.