Brighten the cold season with easy creative winter planters full of color and texture!

Winter planters can be free-standing, windowboxes or the new living walls or vertical planters My favorite style is the garden urn that creates height and adds to the visual impact.  Cold-weather garden containers aren’t as demanding as summer ones as they don’t need regular watering or fertilizing. Just check on your planters occasionally to make sure they have not dried out or become waterlogged from rain.

While designing winter planters follows the same principles as earlier season plantings, the focus is solely on the visual aspect, rather than growing requirements.  The four key design elements of successful planters for the cold season are hardy colorful foliage, winter flowers, berries and attractive bark and branches.

Here’s some plant ideas—don’t skimp on the number of plants, more is better:

Foliage: heather, shrub dogwood, euonymous, yew, bamboo, heuchera, hellebore, euphorbia, ajuga

Berries: pyracantha, snowberry cotoneaster, wintergreen, skimmia

Winter flowers: winter-flowering heather, pansy

Creative Winter PlantersWhen it comes to winter planters, size does matter. Cold weather means smaller planters aren’t practical, so creating your winter display in one or two large containers will be far more satisfying and impressive. Choose the largest planter that will fit in the space available and be sure to select a container material that will withstand low temperatures, and the freeze and thaw process.

It is very important to choose a container that drains freely. Potting soil intended for containers that is free draining is a must. Start with some stones, pebbles or pot shards in the bottom of the planter, then mix some sand or gravel into the potting soil. This help to prevent the pot from getting waterlogged during rainy periods or when snow starts to melt.

Now you’re ready to plant. Select a good quality, large plant to anchor the display such as a small shrub or a dwarf conifer. Fill the area around the anchor plant with a variety of smaller flowering and foliage plants alternating colors and textures. Preview the arrangement by placing the plants still in their pots in position before planting in soil. Always work from taller in the center or back, to shorter around the container edge. Add interesting twigs or branches, especially those with interesting shape or bark.

Turn your winter planters into festive holiday arrangements with decorative ornaments, evergreen boughs, colorful dried twigs and pine cones.