Tips for creating an outdoor winter planter

Spruce it up 2

Jayden Reiser and her grandmother Cheryl Reiser of Spencer trim their spruce tips as they begin filling their container.

‘Tis the season to deck the halls.

But that “decking” spirit can easily spill outdoors and can last all winter long.

Holiday lights are a staple for outdoor holiday decor, but another way to add some interest and color to our white world for the holidays and beyond is to create an outdoor spruce tips planter.

They can add some natural, lush green alive-ness to an outdoor space. It’s an easy thing to buy these planters, but you can also get creative and DIY-it. We went to Del’s Garden Center in Spencer, where they offer classes and expert advice on creating your own spruce tips containers.

Here are some of the tips that they shared with us about creating a spruce tips planter that is pleasing to the eye and warms the heart all winter long.

Plan ahead.

Whenever you are going forward with a project, it’s always a good idea to do some research and have — at least — some rough ideas of what you would like your spruce tips container to look like. Then it’s time to gather your materials. You’ll need a pot or container, obviously and you will also need soil, spruce tips, other greenery and whatever decorations you want to add to your pot like Christmas signs, balls or snowflakes. One of the upsides, if you take a class like the ones they offer at Del’s Garden Center, is that they have all of these items right there for you.

Start with your spruce tips.

These will be the main body of your design. They are also the cheapest material so use it to fill out your pot. Fill up your pot about three-quarters of the way with soil and then prepare your spruce tips by removing the parts of the branches toward the bottom of the bough. Save these to use for filler. When filling your container, work from the back to the front and from the tallest to the smallest. After you’ve placed your large branches and other large items (like the birch tree sections I used) then fill in with all the smaller branches of spruce that you removed and really fill in your container.


Now it’s time to add the color and the sparkle. This is where you can let your creativity go wild. You can use all kinds of decorations either of the artificial variety or other plant materials. We added some more color and dimension to my container with the addition of birch tree sections, seeded eucalyptus, yellow and green cedar and red ruskus. When decorating, keep in mind these two rules: you want things in odd numbers and you also want things to be a little asymmetrical.

Prepare for winter.

Once your spruce tip container is exactly how you want it, then simply water it until it freezes. The experts at Del’s say that you want it to freeze so that the pieces in your display stay in place throughout the winter.


Whether you do it yourself from scratch or take a class from the experts, creating an outdoor container garden for the holidays is something to be enjoyed all winter long. I certainly did.