14 Holiday Planter Ideas That Will Give Guests a Warm Welcome

Use outdoor arrangements to set a festive mood this holiday season. Copy these beautiful displays, or use them as inspiration for your custom look.

blue green outdoor winter decorations
Photo: Peter Krumhardt

Set a festive mood with these holiday container garden ideas, sure to impress your guests. Your outdoor arrangements will continue to brighten up your entryway, deck, patio, or balcony all through the colder, less colorful months. Copy these holiday planter displays, or use them as inspiration for designing your custom look.

01 of 15

Use a Mix of Branches

winter container with evergreens pinecones
Kevin Miyazaki

You can pack in lots of eye-catching colors and textures with branches cut from a variety of trees and shrubs. For this holiday container arrangement, fresh sprays of Deodar cedar create a crown of green around the rim. Lichen-covered sticks, yellow dogwood twigs, and seedpod-laden branches from Port Orford cedar provide some height. An assortment of pinecones wired to wooden picks, dried roses, and redwood seedpods rounds out this holiday container display.

02 of 15

Decorate with Colorful Fruit

metal bucket planter citrus tree
The Wilde Project

Trim a small evergreen tree or shrub with citrus for a winter porch pot that looks like a mini decorated Christmas tree. To recreate this look, wind a clementine garland around an evergreen boxwood shrub and fill in under it with Granny Smith apples.

You can make a fruit garland by threading a large crafts needle with twine and pulling the needle through the fruit. For even spacing, knot the twine on both sides of each fruit. As long as temperatures stay above freezing, your fruit will keep looking fresh, but you might want to use a natural repellent like hot pepper wax spray to discourage hungry critters.

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Create a Classic Holiday Combination

red berries evergreen winter container
Kevin Miyazaki

When you want your winter container displays to emphasize your Yuletide celebrations, combine the traditional Christmas colors, red and green. Some evergreen branches from pine and juniper, accented with sprays of winterberry and redtwig dogwood, make a festive and fun arrangement you can enjoy for the holidays and into the new year. Try adding a little extra color by painting dried eucalyptus seeds red and tucking them in around the edge of your container.

04 of 15

Show Off Live Plants

red box evergreen brick house
Peter Krumhardt

Use dwarf evergreen conifers as the centerpieces for a lush winter container garden. Some hardy choices in this red planter include 'Baby Blue' false cypress, 'Goldcrest' Monterey cypress, 'Taylor' juniper, and 'Emerald Gaiety' variegated wintercreeper. Make sure to keep this container garden watered, then plant these conifers in your garden when spring arrives.

05 of 15

Dress Up a Collection of Smaller Pots

blue green outdoor winter decorations
Peter Krumhardt

Potted evergreens are a great way to add lasting seasonal color to your winter porch decorations. You can make the set-up easy, too: Instead of planting them, find creative ways to cover their plastic pots. Here, strips of birch bark do the job. Oversize Christmas ornaments add a little shimmer and balls of woven grapevine echo their round shape.

06 of 15

Turn Window Boxes into Wonderlands

frosted winter berries rustic winter basket
Richard Felber

Window boxes can be just as eye-catching in winter as in summer when you fill them with plenty of greenery and berries. This stunning example includes boughs cut from white fir, Fraser fir, juniper, and Southern magnolia. A splash of bold scarlet comes from winterberry stems (which can look good through January or so, when birds might start snacking on them). Dried flower heads from globe thistle add texture and set off the smaller juniper berries.

07 of 15

Create an Elegant Look

white window box evergreens
Michael Partenio

Less is more with this white and green color palette for a winter window box. This example features cedar boughs, dried baby's breath flowers, and pussy willow branches. You can get a similar look using white varieties of dried globe amaranth, strawflower, or yarrow. A light dusting of snow against the dark green cedar will make your white accents stand out even more beautifully.

08 of 15

Mix Dried and Fresh Plant Material

outdoor winter container red orange plants
Kevin Miyazaki

In this bold winter container arrangement, dried branches of curly willow and yellowtwig dogwood almost appear to burst out of a mound of fresh juniper boughs. A ring of Southern magnolia leaves, eucalyptus, and dried hydrangea flowers fills out the rest of the container, while sprigs of red winterberry add a touch of bright color to grab the eye.

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Keep It Simple

red winter planter evergreens berries
Michael Partenio

Even a small holiday container garden can make a big impact. Start with a low-growing potted evergreen shrub ('Blue Star' juniper is shown here) and dress it up with a few branches, pine cones, and colorful ornaments (a faux bird in the branches is a fun touch). The result is a lovely outdoor tabletop display that's easy to move around as needed. Just remember to water your plant even in winter; if you live where it freezes, provide water whenever things warm up enough to thaw the soil.

10 of 15

Reuse Materials

brown winter container brick path
Bob Stefko

Give new life to an old tomato cage by using it to add height to your holiday containers. Here, it surrounds a bundle of yellow dogwood branches (after getting wrapped up in string lights, of course). Dried eucalyptus covers the bottom, and a variety of evergreen branches fill out the pot and spill over the sides in a way that enhances the fountain-like effect of the tomato cage.

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Focus on Earth Tones

burnt orange plants outdoor winter container
Bob Stefko

Holiday displays can be just as festive when you stick with neutral colors. This winter container features soft shades of tan and brown from dried southern magnolia leaves and decorative curly willow branches. Faux sprigs of white berries and a bundled string of holiday lights tucked in the center of the arrangement add the perfect finishing touches.

12 of 15

Go Formal

outdoor winter planter topiary
Michael Partenio

Here's a subtle yet sophisticated nod to the holidays: a tower of three different sizes of moss-covered balls on a stake creates an abstract Christmas tree shape. Add them to a pair of winter pots by your front door for a formal entry that is sure to be remembered. Don't forget to fill in around the base with a few evergreen branches, pine cones, and extra moss.

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Add a Little Light

red votive candles winter container
Michael Partenio

When you need to throw together some porch pots to welcome guests to your next holiday gathering, here's a simple idea to try. These winter containers create a festive atmosphere with just a couple of red pillar candles and some colorful ornaments in clear glass vases, nestled in a bed of dried moss.

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Let it Glow

lights tree winter container
Richard Felber

This holiday planter idea is simple yet makes for a sophisticated winter display. If you have a potted tree or shrub that lost its leaves in the fall, try wrapping its branches in lights for instant festiveness. Set it off with a skirt of evergreen boughs like pine, juniper, or spruce.

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Use Containers that Make a Statement

The container you use for your holiday plant displays should be as unique as what goes into it. We've found some of the best outdoor planters you can buy, including self-watering ones. If you're in the mood for a DIY project, check out these concrete planters made with molds. You can also repurpose unused items or check thrift and vintage shops for unusual planter ideas. If you build a long-lasting planter box, you can reuse it with fresh greenery and flowers each season.

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