Creating Lush Winter Containers

Fall Containers - Gardening in Chicago

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Who says winter isn’t a good time for plants? With planters, terra cotta pots, and wall containers, there’s no reason your outdoor space can’t be beautifully lush in the winter. These winter container ideas could inspire you to rethink your outdoor cold-weather foliage—or lack thereof.

Winter Containers - Gardening in Chicago


For obvious reasons, winter plants have to be carefully selected. Some people seem to think winter containers are needless, because they won’t be appreciated when covered in snow. In Chicago especially, this is something you’ve got to plan for. But rather than letting the snow put a damper on your outdoor setup, we like to create pots that actually look good with a bit of snowfall.

Carefully-pruned evergreen limbs, for example, fill out winter pots beautifully and can look even better with a dusting of snow. Fraser fir, white pine, scotch pine, spruce, and juniper trees all lend their limbs to charming winter pots. Next, you’ll want a splash of color. Dyed eucalyptus, caspia, and juniper berries all add beautiful indigo tones into the mix. Bittersweet, rosehips, winterberry holly, and spikes of cardinal dogwood help to create a classic red and green seasonal holiday color pallet for your winter pots.


With the holidays in mind, why not optimize your plants to create a bit of holiday cheer? There’s no reason young evergreen trees can’t be planted in larger pots, and then decorated attractively with natural ornaments. Pear gourds, caspia, dried hydrangea blooms, and pinecone garlands can all work to create tastefully extravagant potted trees in harmony with the spirit of the winter holidays.


Winter planting is all about containers—and in most cases, the planters you’re decorating will do their part to add to the atmosphere, too. A lot of what you’ll be looking for will have to do with what materials your hardscape is made out of, given that you’ll want to stick to a relatively uniform color scheme.  Rolled terra cotta pots have an understated charm that can be prettified with evergreen limbs that overflow luxuriously over the sides of the pot. Dry cast limestone urns add a decorative, architectural flair for a more ornate neoclassical atmosphere. Permanent wall containers can also be added to outside walls and filled with fragrant wintry cuttings to welcome guests at your door.

Like any good challenge, the difficulties of decorating an outdoor space for below-freezing temperatures can be overcome with a little creativity and a great eye for aesthetics. For more ideas and help with your winter containers this season, get in touch with Botanical Concepts Chicago.

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