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?

Before potting up your favorite Christmas greenery, it’s always a good idea to think about what you are using the outdoor planters for and whether or not they’ll be outside in winter all season long.

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.

farmhouse porch decorating ideas for christmas with fresh green wreaths and christmas greenery in black urns on front steps with mustard colored doors
Farmhouse front porch Christmas 2022

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.

Easy Winter Container Garden Design close up with a variety of christmas greenery in black urn outdoor planter for winter with dwarf alberata spruce

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.

Gather Supplies

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?

Easy Winter Container Design that started with black urns from lowes home improvement store, soil and dwarf alberata spruce
After cleaning out the fall annuals that were underplanted, my Dwarf Alberta Spruce is ready for a winter makeover.

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.

  • Boxwood
  • Pine
  • Cedar Branch
  • Andromeda
  • Rhododendron
  • Magnolia
  • Spruce
  • Holly

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.

boxwoods along the driveway in zone 6a garden

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front entry hall christmas tree 2023

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.

close up of andromeda
Pieris Japonica (Andromeda)

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.

Oftentimes, I use Rhododendron leaves and Sedum Autumn Joy seed heads from my fall garden, but this year, I decided to pick up some Magnolia cuttings from the garden nursery instead.

5 christmas decorating trends for 2021 by cutting fresh evergreens to make outdoor planters for winter

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!

Easy Winter Container Design using fresh cut greens around a dwarf alberata spruce in a black urn

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.

Easy Winter Container Design by adding more christmas greens to the base of the dwarf alberata spruce in black urn planter
Easy Winter Container Garden Design using different types of christmas greenery in black urn outdoor planter with dwarf alberatia spruce

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 the front porch looks with a single outdoor planter with alberata spruce and another planted with fresh christmas greenery from the garden

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?

Easy Winter Container Garden Design close up with a variety of christmas greenery in black urn outdoor planter for winter with dwarf alberata spruce
Easy Winter Container Garden Design all finished on the front porch and ready for christmas and beyond
The containers are all done! Now I need to finish decorating my front porch!

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.

And don’t miss joining my Gardening DIY and Decorating Community on Facebook for more chatter. And follow along there and on Instagram as well. There are behind-the-scenes daily things that I share on Instagram that don’t make it to the blog. Would love to see you there too!

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front porch decorated for Christmas with winter planters and wreaths

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Want to Learn How to Decorate With Fresh Greens for the Holidays?

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From porch styling to cozy centerpiece and tablescape inspiration, wait until you try these budget-friendly holiday decorating ideas using fresh greens for every room in your home.

black lab on loloi area rug in front entry hall with staircase decorated for christmas with cozy neutrals

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.

christmas table ready for family breakfast or brunch decorated with chirstmas greenery and gold with centerpiece gold bucket filled with poinsettias and a crystal chandelier
Christmas Table

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cozy front porch planters graphics with winter planters in the background
hellebores and daffodils

Bricks ‘n Blooms Weekly 180

Hi there! I hope you had a great week! Random Things Happening Behind the Scenes at Bricks ‘n Blooms What a week it was! I’ve been keeping a secret and it is MAJOR news that I’m sharing today. I’m not even going to drop it down at the end of sharing my gardens with you…
Read More Bricks ‘n Blooms Weekly 180

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Enjoy your day! xoxo

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Want to learn more about me? I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years and author of the best-selling book, The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden. Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging here.

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Easy Outdoor Planters for Winter close up with dwarf alberata spruce and christmas greenery in black urn container
close up of boxwood
A young boxwood plant from my yard. The smaller leaves and branches make great filler by adding more texture and depth.

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  1. You had me at the front door foyer Stacy. I love your Christmas tree and the garland on the banister with all those beautiful golds and orangey red colors. Simply gorgeous!