Gardeners in mild climates can savor container plantings all winter long, but in colder zones pots tend to peter out as freezing temperatures settle in and linger. In northern regions, dressing container gardens for winter with colorful dried materials and evergreens can transform pots into winter showpieces.
Start With Evergreens
Tuck dwarf evergreen shrubs into pots – actually planting them – for a wintry show. Deeper containers work best for planting evergreens. Plants such as cypresses, dwarf cedar, white cedar and winter heather outfit a container with a mix of green textures that stand up to seasonal lows. Count on green or variegated wintercreeper to add a trailing element to winter container designs.
Decorate shallow containers with evergreen boughs—pine, spruce, cypress, juniper or hemlock—to stage a pretty winter show. You can also press evergreen holiday wreaths into service to give pots a colorful touch.
Gather Grains, Seeds and Fruit
Look for grains, such as millet, milo, broom corn, sorghum or wheat, to decorate containers with textural beauty. Wire individual stems together to craft a garland, or bundle stems to form sheafs that you stand upright in soil.
Seedheads such as sunflower add an eye-catching touch to containers. Display them by attaching to stakes or twigs, and then sticking them into the soil. Branches of orange or red rose hips weave bright hues into winter container creations and look especially festive paired with evergreens.
Shove a wire through whole lady apples and hang them from branches you stick into soil in containers. The apples will freeze and look attractive most of the winter. You can also wire slices or chunks of oranges to twigs or evergreen boughs to interject a cheerful splash of color into wintry scenes.
Remember that grains and seeds create bird- and squirrel-friendly treats. Place them where you can observe the critters that come to feast on your container decor.
Fill In With Twigs and Pinecones
Clip twigs and branches to slip into the soil in pots before the temperatures dip below freezing. Sticks add height to empty containers, providing the missing visual element through winter. Toss pinecones onto soil as mulch, or wire them to branches to form a living sculpture. If you wish, lure birds to feed by smearing pinecones with peanut butter or suet and rolling them in birdseed.