Fine Gardening Project Guides

Container Gardening

Guide Home
The Dirt

Container Plantings for Wintry Settings

Instead of retiring your pots for winter, fill them with eye-catching combos of cold-hardy plants and cuttings

winter container arrangement under a wreath

Most gardeners store away their pots before winter hits, but not Scott Endres, co-owner of Tangletown Gardens in Minneapolis. When temperatures drop, he fills his containers with eye-catching combos of cold-hardy plants and cuttings. Six of Scott’s wintry designs were featured in his article It’s Never Too Cold for Containers, published in the November/December 2011 issue of Fine Gardening. Here are nine more of his winter designs.

Classic iron urn

iron urn container with eucalyptis, peacock feathers, and a large golden ribbon
Photo: Brandi Spade
  1. Preserved baby eucalyptus
  2. Brunnia
  3. Western red cedar
  4. Princess pine
  5. Yellow-twig dogwood
  6. Peacock feathers
  7. Bleached kuwa sticks
  8. Fraser fir

Cast stone container

cast stone container with orange berries and various evergreen branches
Photo: Brandi Spade
  1. Weeping willow
  2. Princess pine
  3. Banana sticks
  4. Preserved eucalyptus
  5. Paper birch bark
  6. Orange winterberry
  7. Western red cedar
  8. Dried fern fiddleheads
  9. Orange winterberry
  10. Black spruce
  11. Pheasant feathers
  12. Bark wrapped wire
  13. Buddha nut pods (Pterygota alata)
  14. Moss-covered orbs
  15. Boxwood
  16. Grape vine

Ceramic bronze due

two matching winter containers with branches and pinecones
Photo: Brandi Spade
  1. Balsam fir wreath
  2. Jeffrey pine cones
  3. Norway pine
  4. African knobs
  5. Red-tipped pussy willow
  6. Southern magnolia
  7. Lemon cypress
  8. Cinnamon sticks
  9. Pepperberry tips
  10. Sequoia cones
  11. Reindeer moss
  12. Spanish moss

Double rice containers

matching winter containers with orange berries and pinecones
Photo: Brandi Spade
  1. Boxwood
  2. Paper birch
  3. Orange winterberry
  4. Pheasant feathers
  5. Princess pine
  6. Southern magnolia
  7. Sugar pine cones
  8. Blue-berried juniper
  9. Incense cedar
  10. Cinnamon sticks
  11. Polished white stones

Window scene

winter container arrangement under a wreath made of red branches
Photo: Brandi Spade
  1. Norway pine
  2. Sugar pine cones
  3. Flame willow
  4. Preserved reindeer moss
  5. Orange winterberry
  6. Southern magnolia
  7. Paper birch stems
  8. Paper birch tips
  9. Rose hips

Fiber-clay classic

stone container with pink berries and branches
Photo: Brandi Spade
  1. Redtwig dogwood
  2. Boxwood
  3. Shore pine
  4. Pepperberry tips
  5. Sugar pine cones


hypertuffa container with conifer branches and cut birch
Photo: Brandi Spade
  1. Paper birch tips
  2. Black spruce
  3. Paper birch stems
  4. Norway spruce cones
  5. Norway pine
  6. Sugar pine cones
  7. Manzanita branch
  8. Manzanita branch

Contemporary aluminum cubes

three contemporary-style winter containers with cut birch and evergreens
Photo: Brandi Spade
  1. Paper birch
  2. Variegated boxwood
  3. Princess pine
  4. Starfish
  5. Noble fir
  6. Polished black stones

Faux bois three

three matching winter containers with mini evergreens and pink berries
Photo: Brandi Spade
  1. Lemon cypress
  2. Cinnamon sticks
  3. Pepperberry tips
  4. Sequoia cones
  5. Reindeer moss
  6. Spanish moss
Previous: 6 Winter Container Ideas Next: Containers That Celebrate Fall and Winter
View Comments


  1. terieLR 01/23/2012

    Okay, so now it's January and I am ready to go out and 'spruce' up these drab window boxes with your fresh ideas! Thank you Scott for sharing your talents!

  2. user-4691082 12/19/2017

    Thanks Steve, they are good inspiration. Wait until you see my pathetic

  3. user-7008735 12/19/2017

    Lovely images!

  4. user-7008822 12/19/2017

    Great ideas. Thank you for this detailed information. I only wish we could see pictures at a bigger size since it is hard to see the details of the composition in this small images.

  5. user-4359501 12/20/2017

    I'd like to know more about the constuction and how-to. Do you have a pot filled with soil and then just push the branches into the soil? If I do that the high winds here will blow the branches out of the containers. Maybe incorpoarate wire? Wish you gave us more "how" and not just "what." Maybe I will dig back in my past issues and see what is covered in the original article.

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Container Gardening

Container Gardening

Trustworthy advice on all aspects of gardening in pots

View Project Guide

View All Project Guides »

Become a member and get unlimited site access, including the Container Gardening Project Guide.

Start Free Trial