Wicked Winter Pots: How to Make the Best Cool-Season Container Displays

Wicked Winter Pots: How to Make the Best Cool-Season Container Displays

Winter is almost here, which means it's time to transform your front porch into yet another seasonal masterpiece! Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a beginner looking to spruce up your outdoor space, we've got you covered with the hottest tricks and trends to help you create stunning winter container displays that will leave your neighbors in awe. So, let's jump right into it and get those creative juices flowing!


Wallaces Garden Center-Bettendorf-Iowa-Wicked Winter Planters How To Design-red themed planter

Winter Container Garden Design Basics

Winter container gardening offers a unique opportunity to experiment with textures, colors, and shapes to create stunning displays that help our Bettendorf community dazzle and shine. However, no matter how impressive the arrangement, the key to any truly head-turning winter container garden lies within these four basic elements:  


  1. Container Selection: Choose containers that can withstand cold temperatures and won't crack or break in freezing conditions. Consider materials like fiberglass, concrete, or glazed pottery for durability. We use simple 12” plastic terra cotta pots for our porch pots that we sell in store.

  2. Focal Point Plants: Opt for evergreen plants like spruce, pine, or fir as your focal plants. These beauties maintain their vibrant colors throughout the winter, providing your display with lush visual and textural interest. For structure and a good central foundation, we like spruce tops and use at least 3 per pot. 

  3. Thrilling Thrillers: Add height and drama to your containers with tall, architectural elements like curly willow branches , birch poles or painted twigs.  These "thriller" elements have a striking visual impact that quickly captures the attention of passing eyes. 

  4. Seasonal Accents: Last but not least comes the fun part! Accessorize your arrangement with seasonal accents like pine cones, birch logs, or colorful berry branches for that extra touch of winter charm. Add some glitz with shatterproof ornaments in gold, silver, or red. 

If you're having trouble figuring out how to combine these elements into a cohesive winter garden display, simply take a stroll around your neighborhood and see what friends, neighbors, and local businesses are making! It could be the inspiration you’re looking for.  

Wallaces Garden Center-Bettendorf-Iowa-Wicked Winter Planters How To Design-berried branchThriving in the Cold: Cold-Tolerant Plants

We in Bettendorf, along with our Quad City neighbors, are no strangers to Iowa's chilly winters, so it's essential to choose plants for your winter container garden that can withstand the cold without needing to be overwintered indoors. Here are some cold-tolerant gems to consider for your design this year:

  • Winterberry Holly: This native beauty boasts bright red berries that contrast brilliantly with the stark white snow, adding a delightful pop of color to your containers.
  • Japanese Yew: With its dark green foliage, the Japanese yew is a classic choice for winter containers.

  • Ornamental Grasses: Varieties like feather reed grass and blue oat grass add texture and movement to your winter containers, boosting their visual interest.

Wallaces Garden Center-Bettendorf-Iowa-Wicked Winter Planters How To Design-lights on planterIlluminating Your Containers: Lighting Ideas

Don't let the shorter days dim your container's shine; adding lighting to your winter displays creates a magical ambiance that helps you seamlessly transition your outdoor space from day to night. Here are a few of our favorite lighting ideas:

  • Fairy Lights: Twinkle lights wrapped around branches or tucked amongst foliage create a warm and inviting glow in your container.

  • LED Candles: Battery-operated LED candles provide a flickering, flameless glow that's as safe as it is cozy.

  • Solar-Powered Path Lights: These stakes can be placed around your containers to light up walkways and showcase your designs.

Repurposing Fall Planters for Winter

Just because it's getting colder doesn't mean you need to toss your stunning fall planters aside; many of your fall favorites also transition seamlessly into winter! Simply replace any spent annuals with cold-tolerant winter plants and evergreens for a sustainable and budget-friendly way to keep your containers looking fresh. You can also use this approach with window boxes and hanging baskets!

Wallaces Garden Center-Bettendorf-Iowa-Wicked Winter Planters How To Design-inspirational plantersShowcasing Your Creativity: DIY Containers

Are you feeling inspired to unleash your inner artist? DIY winter containers allow you to express your creativity in unique ways! Here are a few of our favorite ideas:

  • Vintage Skis: Repurpose old wooden skis as a vertical backdrop for your container garden for a bit of added visual interest and personality. If you really want your neighbors to know how much you love skiing, add a few old ski poles to your DIY container and use them to hang a few pots filled with seasonal plants. 

Wallaces Garden Center-Bettendorf-Iowa-How to Make the Best Cool-Season Container Displays-re-used decor

  • Old Boots and Shoes: Give your worn-out footwear a second life by turning them into quirky planters. Simply fill them with soil and use them to plant a few cold-tolerant beauties.

  • Wooden Crates: Stack wooden crates of various sizes and plant your containers inside the open spaces to create a rustic and charming display.

Creating stunning winter container displays is a fun way to express your creativity and add beauty to your home during the chilly season. So, what are you waiting for? Stop by and visit us at Wallace's Garden Center for more winter container garden ideas and let your imagination run wild. Our experts are here to assist you in selecting the perfect plants and containers to make your winter wonderland dreams come true! 

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