Tips for Winter Pots

As the temperatures drop and the garden tucks in for its winter slumber, containers step out of their supporting roles to take a star turn in the garden. Here are a few tips and inspiration photos for creating beautiful winter pots.

Jazz up your winter landscape with pots, hanging baskets and window boxes planted with evergreens or overflowing with assorted cuttings from conifers, berries, seed heads and dried flowers.

You can plant pots for winter interest as long as the plants are hardier than your growing zone. Here, early blooming snowdrops surround a planted red-twig dogwood. Black mondo grass adds the beautiful texture and dark color. Planted pots need good drainage in the winter, which is provided with this brick and pebble patio. If you site them on the driveway or other solid hardscape, elevate the pots with pot feet or bricks to let excess water drain out eaily.

Don’t be stingy with your outdoor containers! Empty urns just draw attention to what is missing.

Beautiful winter arrangements are not just for the holidays. You can use a combination of living and cut plants to dress up your pots from late fall through late winter.

Hanging baskets lined with moss are gorgeous when decorated with cut evergreens.

The same plants that bring interest to the winter landscape bring pizzaz to winter containers,  such as the red-twig dogwood pictured here.

Remember to keep your containers in scale with their environment. Most homeowners select a container that’s too small for their space.

If you live in a townhouse and condo, winter containers are a perfect "gardening outlet". These winter pots combine abundance and whimsy with their magnolia leaves, fruits, cones, dried hydrangeas, and a twig reindeer head.

Branches provide height, visual weight and texture for your containers. Birch, red twig dogwood, golden willow and harry's lauder's walking stick are particularly decorative.

Here twig balls add a whimsical flair.

By combining many different types of evergreens, you can achieve a rich "tapestry" look of contrasting textures in various shades of green.

Simple modern pots set off classic boxwoods and a voluptuous evergreen arrangement. 

Elevating your pots makes them more prominent. Here a formally centered classic urn on a plinth creates a beautiful front entrance.

ith a big snowstorm in the forecast on the day before Thanksgiving, I quickly ran through the garden with pruning shears to fill the 7 urns around my house. Yews, hollies, golden cypresses, leucothoe and winterberry holly received their annual trimming as I filled up my pots. What a great way to spend a few hours out in the winter garden!