Transition Containers: Fall To Winter

Transitioning your Containers Seasonally: Fall to Winter

Most gardeners enjoy flowers in their front entry containers during the growing season. However, once the growing season is over many people either store their decorative pots or leave them empty during those long winter months. Why not keep your front planters beautiful throughout the year by transitioning them season-to-season, including during the winter? It’s easy to create a seasonal green arrangement in your garden containers that will be attractive throughout our Wisconsin winter. We also welcome you to browse our pre-made containers or allow us to custom create your containers.

Ideally, you will start with a weather-proof container that can resist the extreme temperatures in southeastern Wisconsin. The type of planter that we most strongly recommend for year-round outdoor use is molded resin as it will stand up to freezing & thawing without cracking, chipping or breaking. However, a decorative ceramic or concrete planter can be used outdoors year-round with certain protective precautions. First, place small wood shims or pot feet under the base of the pot to elevate it just slightly off the ground surface so that any ice that accumulates on the ground will not cause the base of the pot to deteriorate. Secondly, rather than placing soil directly into the planter (where its freezing and thawing will cause pressure cracks in your valuable pot) use an inexpensive plastic liner pot inside your decorative outer container and fill the liner pot with soil. Water the soil thoroughly before beginning your arrangement as having moisture in the soil up until it freezes will help keep your greens fresh.

transition containers winter johnson's gardens cedarburg wisconsin garden center weather proof containers

Left:  weather-proof container | Right: Small wood shims or pot feet under the base

transition containers winter johnson's gardens cedarburg wisconsin garden center plastic liner

Use an inexpensive plastic liner pot inside your decorative outer container.

Once you have your container prepared it’s time to gather the materials for your arrangement. Commonly used materials include evergreens boughs of various types, red-twig dogwood or curly willow stems, birch logs, pine cones, berries (either natural or artificial) and ribbon. However, when you DIY a seasonal container, you can decorate it with anything to make it completely unique.

  1. Begin by creating a skirt of evergreen boughs, firmly embedded in the soil of the container but draping over the rim to conceal and soften the edge. If you are incorporating stems add these next, defining the vertical backbone of the arrangement.
  2. Using the same type of evergreen boughs that you used at the base, construct the main body of the arrangement by placing the greens upright in the container and fanning them out to produce a plentiful effect. You may want to combine one or two secondary types of greens at this point as well to add textural contrast.
  3. Once the form of the arrangement is completed, accent elements such as large pine cones or berried branches can be wired into place. If using natural berries be aware that most will not last more than a few weeks while weather resistant artificial berries will last throughout the winter.
  4. To add holiday cheer to the arrangement for the month of December you may choose to finish off your green arrangement with a large weatherproof bow that can be removed after the holidays.

Your green arrangement should retain its fresh appearance for several months if the weather remains cold. If your pots are in a south facing position or exposed to harsh drying winter winds it would be a good idea to spray your arrangement with an anti-desiccant such as Wilt Stop, which will protect the greens from drying out prematurely.

On a smaller scale consider creating DIY: Seasonal Centerpieces >>

by Zannah Crowe