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  • Writer's pictureNina Melillo

Decorating Outdoor Planters for Christmas

Updated: 2 days ago


A window box filled with various green stems, cattails, and ornamental cabbage

It’s the time of year to transform your yard into a beautiful winter wonderland. I love the totally natural (not artificial) look. So this post will focus on exchanging the flowers in your current pots and window boxes with fresh boughs of evergreens. It’s easy to create beautiful displays for you, your family and guests to enjoy throughout the Christmas season and beyond. Read on to learn

about decorating outdoor planters for Christmas.


(Some of the links within this post are affiliate links on which I receive a small compensation from the sale of certain items with no extra cost to you.)


(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Happy Foraging


Before you begin designing a pot or window box, search your yard for dried out flowers such as hydrangeas and coneflowers. Clip them approximately one and a half feet long. Take clippings from evergreen bushes and trees. Look for a variety of colors like gold thread cypress, golden euonymus, or juniper. In addition to various colors, look for different textures including stiff and soft, along with different needle lengths.


Variegated white and green euonymus

Cut some white pine or Douglas fir. Don’t throw away the extra boughs cut from your Christmas tree. Some local tree farms give away the extra boughs they have for free! Use them with Holly or other limbs with berries to add some seasonal color. They will also supply food for our fine feathered friends! For more information on how to attract birds for winter, click here.


A juniper stem with red berries

You will need a lot of clippings to decorate your pots and window boxes. I had an entire trunk of my SUV filled and was able to complete 2 window boxes, one hanging basket, and about 6 pots. I suggest you put a limit on how many displays you would like to create. It is time consuming and requires many, many cuttings. In addition to these clippings below, I had a pile of holly branches.


Piles of evergreen clippings

Decorating Outdoor Window Boxes for Christmas


Salvage Clippings From Fall Window Boxes


If you haven’t already read my post on decorating window boxes for the fall, click here. The post describes how to design a window box using cuttings from nature.



You can salvage cattails and plumes of long grasses and reuse them for your winter box. To freshen them up and make them look more wintry, spray paint them with white and gold.

Salvaged Plumes and Cattails


Grass plumes ready to be spray painted

Spray Painted Plumes and Cattails


Plumes of grasses spray painted white

Clear Out Boxes


Once you have removed cuttings that can be reused, discard everything else by placing it in your compost pile. Do not remove the soil. Scratch up the soil and give it a good watering.


Design Your Window Box


Using the directions in How to Decorate a Window Box for the Fall, begin with the focal point. I purchased a white cabbage for the center of my window box because I knew it would contrast well with the red brick of my home.


White ornamental cabbage placed in the center of a window box

I then strategically added other cuttings to make the design somewhat symmetrical. Start with the longer stems almost horizontal to the soil level. Push the ends of the stems into the center where your focal point is, fanning them away from it.


Continue to add shorter and fuller stems on top of the lower ones until the box is full and lush. I finished it with the spray painted plumes and cattails.


Stems of evergreens, plumes of grass, and cattails added symmetrically on either side of the cabbage

Eventually I will create a bow that can be easily made with ribbon and attach it to the center of the window box with floral wire and a twig. (No need to buy florist sticks.) After you have finished making your bow as described in the Youtube video below, twist the remaining wire around a stick where there is a little nub so it does not slide, and then pierce the soil with the stick.



Decorating Outdoor Planters for Christmas


Clear out your planters of any summer or fall foliage, salvage what you can, then break up the soil and water it well. Using the same process to decorate a window box, create your masterpiece in a pot.


If your pot is in front of a wall or fence, add taller stems in the back, placing shorter cuttings as you move toward the front. Make sure you have a focal point of either some holly branches, unusual looking wood, or some stems of berries. Winter pansies work well if you live in a milder climate. They should bloom throughout the winter season.


Tall metal planter filled with evergreen stems, dried hydrangea blooms, tall sticks and a decorative metal star

If your pot is the centerpiece, use the thriller, filler, and spiller technique…..one tall focal point in the center, some shorter stems surrounding it, and then a few pieces that fall gently over the rim of the pot. For more information on placement of plants in pots, click Outdoor Container Garden Ideas.



Container filled with evergreens, twigs, branches, and a bow

Window box filled with evergreen twigs and dyed red and white thinner twigs

A tin garbage can used as a container for a winter display

A green urn full of evergreens and unusual twigs

Simple centerpiece created with evergreens and holly branches

Optional Items to Add to Your Pot


There are so many items you can add to your creations. Just let your imagination run wild. Objects such as a small, old watering can, a metal star, pine cones, small cement figures, artificial stems of flowers, or even a small bird’s nest will add beauty and interest to your pot.

Don’t spend money on twigs purchased from stores. Take a walk in the woods and gather thin stems, bring them home and spray paint them white, red or whatever you fancy. You can also collect thicker branches, cut them to size, and then spray paint them.


Spray paint will help preserve them and you can reuse them next year.



A grouping of succulents and indoor plants

Artificial Stems


If you do not have access to natural clippings, purchase stems from a Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Dollar Store or a similar retailer. Remember to purchase multi-colored stems and different sized items. Below is a video on how to create a decorative pot using artificial stems.



Final Thoughts – Decorating Outdoor Planters For Christmas


You don’t need to break the bank to decorate for the holidays. With a little foraging, (explore your yard and surroundings), along with some spray paint and a little florist wire, you can create beautiful pots and window boxes.


Have a picture in mind of how you would like it too look and remember to think symmetry when placing the stems into the pot.


I hope you enjoyed this post and realize you can decorate your home without breaking the bank. Please leave a comment below and share this with friends and family.


Happy Gardening and Happy Holidays!


Nina


bestgardeningforbeginners@gmail.com


www.bestgardeningforbeginners.com

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