7 Indoor and Outdoor Christmas Planter Ideas

7 Indoor and Outdoor Christmas Planter Ideas

Anyone who celebrates Christmas tends to decorate their home to the nines. And inside and out, from the front porch where you welcome guests to the dining table where you serve them, there are countless ways and places to add a lovely splash of green with a Christmas planter.

As a general rule, many gardeners will wait until the first frigid day, which is somewhere around the forties, to create their Christmas planter. But to give you some inspiration so you can get started planning some ideas, Jackson & Perkins offers this handy guide to creating the perfect indoor and outdoor planters for the wintry holiday season. 

So grab your holiday-themed containers and all your ribbons, bows and sparkling ornamentations. From choosing your holiday color palette to selecting the perfect evergreen planter, here are several Christmas planter ideas to deck the halls and the driveway, too! 

red star planter with festive evergreens

The Perfect Evergreens for Christmas Planters

Evergreens are quintessential Christmas. After all, one of the greatest holiday traditions is to bring a full-size evergreen into our home and adorn it in pretty trimmings, twinkling lights and cherished ornaments. So when starting any Christmas planter, evergreens are an excellent place to start. 

With any Christmas planter, use a live plant or fresh evergreens for the base layer and spruce it up from there with thrillers, fillers and spillers. Potted evergreens and harvest evergreens are ideal for a winter holiday display. Choose something hardy like cypress, juniper and winter creepers.

Most evergreens will last in a container all through winter, so long as you keep the soil moist. Clippings of cypress and white pine tend to brown roughly after two months, but fir, spruce and pine are exceptionally dependable and will stay green.  

variety of winter planters

Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers

Once you pick the perfect evergreen, follow essential floral arrangement design advice and add some thrillers, fillers and spillers to the container.

Thrillers–Thrillers should be the focal point of your Christmas planter. They can be a striking holiday-themed accent, but more often, they are branches and stems that stand upright and tall, approximately twice the height of your chosen container. Some good thriller stems for the holiday season are white paper birch, redtwig dogwood and curly willows. Ornamental grasses can grow relatively high as well, making excellent thrillers for outdoor winter containers.

thrillers fillers spillers graphic

Fillers–Fillers can be practically anything, even the holiday decor you plan to place between the branches. Think cut stems of evergreens, magnolia leaves, pinecones, eucalyptus bundles and branches of berries. Essentially, fillers help the arrangement appear lush and full. 

Spillers–Spillers should have a loose, draping look to them that overhangs from the container’s edge. Spillers can be short trimmings of limp-like evergreens, such as cypress, spruce, boxwood and white pine. 

Pick Your Planter Colors

Before you begin your Christmas planter, choose a color scheme. Here are three of the most popular holiday hues and color palettes that look charming and beautiful during the holiday season.

Classic Green and Red–Christmas is synonymous with the green and red color combination. If you love this joyous duo, creating a Christmas planter is as simple as adding a splash of red to evergreens. The splash of red could be anything from reaching thrillers of red twig dogwoods or filler branches of winterberry sprays. You can even tuck a few red ornaments around the planter’s edge or inside the trees.

popular holiday hues graphic

Wintry Whites–For a more elegant, understated look, go for a wintry white color palette. Start with dark-hued evergreens like cedar and contrast it with bright ivory and white accents. Pussy willow branches, dried baby’s breath flowers and twinkling lights give any Christmas planter a pure and magical appearance. Dreaming of a white Christmas and a dusting of fresh white snow helps, too.

Earth Tones–Earth tones and neutral colors can lend a lovely holiday charm. Use any plant as the base and layer on muted tans and browns such as pine cones, magnolia leaves, birch branches and curly willow branches. Add some accents of white berry sprigs and glimmering holiday lights to give a soft warm glow.

7 Christmas Planter Ideas

Now that you have an idea of how to design a holiday arrangement, here are seven Christmas planter ideas to offer inspiration, from festive tabletop plants to inviting front door wreaths and garden scapes.   

1. Window Boxes

One Christmas planter idea is to decorate windows in front of your home with lovingly arranged window boxes. Stuff the window boxes with evergreens and fillers like sprigs of berries and spillers like spruce or eucalyptus leaves. Fill them with twinkling lights or add a single candle on the interior windowsill for a traditional Americana look, serving as an open invitation to guests and visitors.

You can also place garden containers along a porch railing or level stair banister in place of window boxes. Same as a window box, fill the container with three or so potted evergreens, allowing you to transfer to the garden after the holidays, and use lots of fillers and ornaments. Add a solar-powered lantern for a similar flickering candle-like effect. 

window ledge with winter plant accents

2. Add Dried Branches, Leaves and Yule Logs

Dried branches and logs can give a wintry look to any Christmas planter and flower arrangement. Add dried branches of curly willows and yellow twig dogwood to evergreen plants to add height to an outdoor container. Dried branches and leaves, such as magnolia leaves, eucalyptus, seedpods and draping cedar, can also be arranged in rings around the base to add flair and visual interest. Birch logs work well to give that fresh-cut lumber look that calls to mind a warm fireplace. 

3. Get Festive with Fruit

Fruits can add a festive touch to a Christmas planter, as well as a pop of color and lovely scent that will last through the season. Create a fruit garland using a needle and string and wrap it around an evergreen door wreath or mini evergreen boxwood shrub to create a welcoming entryway. Some wintry fruits could be sliced clementines, apples and pears, as well as whole cranberries. Although not fruit, cinnamon twigs work well for garland, too. You could also simply place a few bright green Granny Smith apples or star-shaped orange peels at the base of a planter.

In colder climates, the fruit will continue to stay fresh. However, you can ward off hungry drifters with a hot pepper wax spray. If you prefer, you can also showcase fruit-decorated planters and garland indoors along the fireplace mantel and dining table (unless, of course, you have domesticated critters). 

4. Scatter Small Tabletop Planters

If you live in a more compact apartment or space, scatter a few smaller Christmas planters around the home to further the festive holiday mood. Use a live decorated tree, such as a mini evergreen Leyland Cypress, Alberta Spruce or even a Rosemary bush, to create a tabletop display. Many of Jackson & Perkins’ live trees come pre-decorated with various festive cachepots and battery-operated LED lights; however, you can also add any ornamentation to it you desire. 

small christmas tree on table

Aside from living trees, many other small Christmas planters, such as amaryllis bulbs, offer vibrantly colored blooms perfect for the holiday season. Plus, amaryllis bulbs will bloom year after year, creating an effortless and continuous Christmas planter to showcase on a tabletop.

5. Reuse and Repurpose Materials

When creating a Christmas planter, consider reusing and repurposing materials or existing objects around the house. For instance, you can use garden stakes or tomato cages to wrap string lights and heighten an outdoor front porch planter. For smaller indoor Christmas planters, fill a vase or Mason jar with evergreen branches and berry sprigs.

Also, when it comes to repurposing, think outside the flower pot. Even if you need to drill a hole for drainage, you can turn almost anything into a container! Pay a visit to your local thrift shop or visit fall tag sales for interesting pieces you can transform into an innovative Christmas planter. Take a large tarnished teapot and do the same, creating a centerpiece for the dining table. To make it easier to assemble your newfound container and support stems, line the base with floral foam.

6. Create an Ambient Glow

Like the American window candle tradition, a warm glow can be inviting to anyone who visits. Create a welcoming holiday entryway or interior space with the ambient glow of string lights, lanterns and more. This can be done with simple holiday string lights wrapped around the Christmas planter and evergreen or even with white or red pillar candles. Candles are a lovely addition to a front porch or patio; however, the flame will stay lit when nestled inside a hurricane lantern or protected behind glass in some fashion. Keep flames safely away from evergreens, surrounding them with ornaments and other holiday decor instead. Accent your lighted Christmas planter or hurricane lantern with a skirt of evergreens or magnolia leaves.

7. Create a Planter to Last All Winter

If you want to extend your Christmas planter’s life and display the gorgeous greenery past the holiday season, it helps to plan accordingly. Aim for more wintry decorations and neutral woodsy ornamentations, such as white berry sprigs and rattan balls, skipping the traditional green and red display. Twig stars and willow branches lend a rustic wintry decor far beyond December. While you can still incorporate classic reds and greens and other Christmas-themed baubles and decor, just remember to remove them before they become frozen to the branches or soil. 

christmas planter ideas graphic

Extra Tips for Christmas Planters

Past the timeless wintry look, there are many ways you can extend the life of your evergreens and holiday plants, too. Here are some extra tips to keep your lovely Christmas planter lasting far beyond the holiday season.

Buy and Store Stems Correctly–Don’t wait until the last minute to create your Christmas planter. Instead, beat the rush for the best selection of stems and store them in a cool, dry place on the porch or garage until temperatures are in the forties. Until then, the cut ends will seal and store up to two weeks. 

Make Fresh Cuts–Before arranging, make fresh cuts at a sharp angle. Cutting stems and branches at sharp angles will allow them to intake more water. After, remove any lower branches or needles that might be implanted in the soil. 

Clean Containers and Pruners–Make sure the container is clean before creating your Christmas planter arrangement. Drill a hole for drainage if needed. Once you are finished, make sure to clean and remove sticky sap from pruners and other tools, wiping each blade or tip with rubbing alcohol to remove sap and sterilize the blades.

white and green christmas themed planter

Water Regularly–Although the holiday season can get busy, remember to water your Christmas planter regularly. For those living in freezing temps, water pots on warmer days when the soil thaws. You can even use fresh snow to melt and water the container slowly.

Remove Snow–Speaking of snow, while it looks beautiful, don’t let it weigh down or grow mold on your arrangement. With a broom, delicately brush off heavy snow. This tip is especially critical for leafier eucalyptus, boxwood and leatherleaf hollies and magnolia leaves.

Touch-Ups–Sometime midwinter, about the February timeframe, you want to give your evergreens and winter plants a quick touch-up. Trim off and clip any faded stems and especially those that are frozen solid. Not only are they an eyesore, but they can develop mold if not careful.  

Ready to Create Your Christmas Planters?

Hopefully, this DIY planter guide, along with some holiday decor ideas, gave you some inspiration to get started. Now, have fun gathering all the baubles and trim you need, along with a festive container. And don’t wait–Christmas will be here before you know it!

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