Create a polished winter window box or festive holiday container with these ideas and plant lists from professional container designers from around the country.
The 2023 Holiday Style-It Container Challenge
Monrovia sent 10 professional container designers and Digging In members a 2-gallon Tiny Tower® Dwarf Alberta Spruce. Their mission? To get creative with the tiny tree and create holiday masterpieces to welcome the season in style. Below are some of the top contenders in the contest, as chosen by Monrovia craftsmen, and listed in no particular order.
What's your pick? Follow @MonroviaPlants on Instagram to see the winners.
Digging In is a community of professional container garden designers. The group was formed to create a community for professionals and entrepreneurs across the country cultivating inspiration, support, and the sharing of the tools needed to grow their businesses.
Alison of Hen & Chick Gardens in Massachusetts created a simple, stylish planter that can celebrate any of the winter holidays, from Thanksgiving through New Year's. Perfect on a porch to welcome guests for a party or covered with a dusting of snow to bring Christmas cheer. Tiny Tower® Dwarf Alberta Spruce and its companion evergreens put up with whatever winter weather brings and look great through the season.
Holiday styling is kept low-key, letting the plants shine. A mulch of alder cones, a sprinkling of pinecones, a pair of ceramic mushrooms, and a simple rustic bow bring a festive farmhouse feel to this holiday design.
You can follow Hen & Chick Gardens @henandchickgardens on Instagram.
Container Ingredients: Tiny Tower® Alberta Spruce, Golden Irish Yew, Golden Charm Thread-Branch Cypress, as well as a white variety of Gaultheria procumbens. A companion pot features Little Gem Norway Spruce.
Carrie Schneider of The Blooming Container in Florida created this rich palette of colors and textures to give the holiday season a royal welcome. She used berry stems as natural ornaments on her Tiny Tower® Alberta Spruce and added rich colors of red, purple, and silver with finds from her local garden center. Silver pinecones add more frosty flair.
Follow The Blooming Container @thebloomingcontainer on Instagram.
Allison Warta of Growing Blooms KC in Kansas created a lush masterpiece reminiscent of the forest in winter. Keeping the color palette simple accomplishes a more serene, sophisticated aesthetic. Her creation features shades of green with highlights of white and purple for a subtle touch of color. Allison then added fresh-cut Arborvitae greens, a sugar pine cone, and birch sticks for a festive flourish.
You can follow Growing Blooms KC @growingbloomskc on Instagram
Snow in Texas
Yvette Ruiz of Eden Rose Botanicals in Texas wanted to embody the vibrancy of the holidays with her container design while taking advantage of how warm Texas winters can be by using flowering plants. Her local garden center had a beautiful Flame® Pro White Garden Phlox so she paired it with her Tiny Tower® Dwarf Alberta Spruce. Yvette also created her own Monrovia-style plant palette (see it on her Instagram)!
Follow Eden Rose Botanicals @edenrosebotanicals on Instagram.
Brianna Lovett of Lovett Planters in Minnesota had a tree that was a bit crooked, so she got creative and maximized the vertical space with greenery. She added faux berries and pine cones as classic "ornaments". All of the greenery used for this container creation are perennial greens foraged from her own backyard. They are all common greens she likes to use in her Minnesota holiday containers.
You can follow Lovett Planters @lovettplanters on Instagram.
Container Ingredients: Tiny Tower® Dwarf Alberta Spruce, foraged perennial greens, pine cones, faux berries
The 2022 Winter Style-It Container Challenge
Monrovia sent 11 Digging In members a 2-gallon Goshiki Osmanthus to be used in a holiday-themed “Style It Container Challenge.” This beautiful holly-like evergreen is a wonderful selection for containers and in-ground gardens. Goshiki translates from Japanese as "five colors." True to its name, the new leaves emerge red and quickly turn green, highlighted by splashes of creamy white, gray-green, and chartreuse. Recipients used the plant to create a holiday-themed winter container, highlighting their unique style, creativity and regional climate.
Vibrant Winter Window Box
This gorgeous, welcoming winter window box was designed and planted by Steph Green of Contained Creations in Richmond, VA. Steph says "I had a blast creating a wintry window box. I love non-traditional colors in my holiday planters and this time was no exception.”
Follow Steph at @contained_creations on Instagram.
Get the Look With These Plants
The star of all of these beautiful winter containers! Goshiki translates from Japanese as "five colors." Its new leaves emerge red and quickly turn green. The green leaves are daubed with spots of creamy white, gray-green, and yellow-green. Partial to full sun. Up to 5' tall, 4' wide in 10 years. Zones 6-9.
This upright-branching conifer has distinctive two-toned foliage that contrasts beautifully with other plants in cut or container arrangements. Chartreuse new growth fringes the bright lemon-yellow inner foliage. Fragrant foliage is reminiscent of citrus. Full sun. Up to 30' tall, 8' wide. Zones 7-10.
Delectable and frilly, lime-colored foliage is a sure way to brighten containers. Super vigorous, with a good-sized mounding habit that makes a statement in the landscape. Evergreen in mild winter areas; an herbaceous perennial in colder regions. Partial shade to partial sun. Up to 10" tall, 24" wide. Zones 4-9.
This unique "dark meets light" holiday container was designed by Howard Nemeroff of Plant Parenting in Chicago, IL. Howard says, "I have a lot of clients who don’t want to see red for the holiday, and this is a design I think will make them very happy.”
You can follow Howard on Instagram @plant_parenting.
Plant Parenting's Holiday Container Ingredients: Goshiki Osmanthus, Dwarf Alberta Spruce, Purple Heuchera, Trailing Juniper, and artificial burgundy berries to pick up purple tips of the Osmanthus (do the same thing with Symphony™ Snowberry, Cranberry Cotoneaster, FloralBerry® St. John's Wort, or Holly).
New England Christmas Classic
Love the classic Christmas red-and-green combo? Then you'll love this container designed by Susan Nock of Thistle Containers in Boston, Massachusetts. Susan says this about the Goshiki Osmanthus, “its variegated foliage is just lovely. Here it’s really the star of the container.” She also selected other evergreens and berries for height variation, pops of color including chartreuse and red, and texture.
You can follow Susan @thistlecontainers on Instagram.
Thistle Containers' Classic Christmas Container Ingredients: Umbrella Pine (Blue Shag Eastern White Pine is a great alternative), a chartreuse-colored cedar, Winterberry, Sea of Gold® Juniper, cranberry plant (Cranberry Cotoneaster is a perfect sub), false cypress, and Danica Arborvitae.
Funky Fresh Greens
Designer Leanne James of Urban Oasis Container Gardens of Wheaton, IL had fun creating this hip combo, which features the local abundance of Osage oranges (aka hedge apples) nestled in as bright, natural ornaments. Leanne says "I decided to play off that chartreuse color, and add some cut greens in here because this is the Midwest and that’s what we do for the holidays!"
Follow Leanne @urbanoasiscontainers on Instagram.
Urban Oasis Container Gardens' Winter Container Ingredients: Goshiki Osmanthus, false cypress, Blue Star Juniper, wintergreen, ajuga, and Osage oranges (or use seed pods or other elements gathered from your garden).
More Plant-Inspired Ideas for the Holidays
- Sign up for the Grow Beautifully newsletter to get holiday decor inspiration, gift ideas, and more.
- Grow Décor: Best plants for home-grown holiday greenery
- Gift Dilemmas, Solved! Top picks for the hard to please
- Christmas Tree Alternatives Perfect for Small Spaces
- Plants as Holiday Gifts
- Winter Windowboxes
- Winter Decorating with Evergreen Clippings
- The Nature of Welcome
- The Nature of Giving