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Decorating Outdoor Planters for Christmas

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.

Euonymus Evergreen Shrub/ Pixabay

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.

Juniper Berries/ Dreamstime

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 Cuttings

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.

Shop Sunnydaze Holiday Sale for Outdoor Pits and Outdoor Heaters

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

Salvaged plumes and cattails from the fall windowbox

Spray Painted Plumes and Cattails

Spray Painted Plumes and Cattails

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 Cabbage as a Focal Point

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.

Christmas Window Box

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.

Taller stems in the back with shorter cuttings in the front.

If your pot is the centerpiece, use the thriller, filler, and spiller technique… 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.

Click and Grow Holiday Sale!

Easy standing pot

Pretty Window Box

Spray Painted Twigs

Very Simple Inexpensive Decoration

Symmetrical planter

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. 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.

Give the Gift of Succulents From Succulents Box!Succulents / Unsplash

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!


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Nina Melillo

 Welcome to my gardening blog. I began gardening years ago and with no practical experience and learned through observation. You can more quickly become a garden lover and create warm and welcoming oases by first reading my basic information category and then exploring the numerous other posts on my site. I hope you will find them inspiring and come to love gardening as much as I do.

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6 thoughts on “Decorating Outdoor Planters for Christmas”

  1. This is a great blog post with some creative and budget-friendly ideas for decorating outdoor planters for Christmas. I especially liked the suggestion to use pinecones, berries, and greenery from the yard to add a natural touch to the planters. It’s always
    nice to find ways to decorate for the holidays that don’t break the bank, and these ideas provide a simple yet festive way to do just that. Well done!

    1. Thanks for the comment. Yes, I enjoy reusing things and decorating on a budget. There are so many ways you can repurpose items. You just need to think outside the box.


  2. There is so many things that you can do with your christmas tress and decorating the outside of your house with the branches is smart. These examples are what we need to get more ideas so that one you can get your tree cut down, and two your outside will look good with fresh new ideas.


  3. Hi Nina,

    I know this article is focussed on decorating outdoor planters for Christmas, but I think we could use your techniques here all year round.

    I am going to share this article with my girlfriend, sister-in-law and my friends wives. They are all well into keeping the gardens beautiful and I think they could learn so much from you.

    I will encourage them to comment on your posts and engage as much as they can.

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the amazing work.

    All the best,


    1. Thanks so much for the comment Tom. My hope with this blog is to reach beginner gardeners, and even those more seasoned, and supply them with some unique ideas to enhance their gardening skills. I’m constantly learning new things and love sharing them with others. Also, thanks for sharing my post. It really is easy and inexpensive to create a beautiful zen area using items that you find in your own backyard!


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