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The Helpful Gardeners Podcast | Ep40: DIY Winter Planters

‘Tis the season for Winter Decorating, and living planters work for pretty much every climate, especially the colder ones. Learn how to gather materials, plant one up, and how to care for it throughout the season. Plus, we’re dreaming up our dreamiest plant goals for a hypothetical Black Friday sale.



  • Indoor: Popular table décor, host gift, etc. Smaller scale with greens inserted into floral foam and kept moist.
  • Outdoor planters: Popular entryway décor. Utilize space by creating arrangements for window boxes or hanging baskets. 



  • Pot (New or Repurposed) | Plastic or Fibreglass works best in colder weather​
  • Potting Soil (New or Repruposed) | Type doesn’t matter, so cheapest is best. ​
  • Oasis / Floral Foam | Helps planter retain moisture and offers stability ​
  • Live Christmas Greens | SHOP NOW
    • Traditional: Cedar, Silver Fir, Pine
    • Unique: Magnolia, Juniper, OregoniaEucalyptus, Hemlock, etc.
  • Embelishments (Optional)
    • Pinecones (Real or Artificial)
    • Artificial Floral like contrasting berries
    • Birch Sticks, Dogwood, etc
    • Ribbon / Bow
    • Themed Ornaments
    • Lantern
    • Fairy Lights (Timers are great)
  • Tools
    • Floral Wire for Décor Pieces
    • Pruners



  1. Fill pot halfway with soil and tamp it down. 
  2. In a single layer, place oasis/floral foam on top of the soil. Break apart as needed. 
  3. Fill the rest of the pot with soil and tamp down. 
  4. Consider how you’ll be viewing your planter and work in sections:
    1. Thriller – Your focal objects. This will be things like fir, birch sticks, etc. These will be in the back of your planter or in the middle if you’re viewing 360 degrees.
    2. Filler – This will fill the middle space. This will be things like pine and magnolia. 
    3. Spiller – This will often spill down the side of the pot. This is commonly cedar, eucalyptus and Juniper. Layer in the front with some at. 45° angle and some laying flatter to spill down the side.
  5. Water it in! The cold weather and oasis should preserve it, but keep an eye on the weather and consider giving it a drink during long periods of warmer weather. 


  1. Set It & Forget It | Make your planter where it will live to avoid carrying a heavy finished planter around the yard. 
  2. Viewpoint | Decide how your planter will be viewed as that will impact how you build it. 
  3. Diversify Greens | Select greens that are diverse, have lots of rich colour, and have lots of length to work with. 
  4. Odd Numbers | Think in odd numbers. Nothing in nature is perfectly even. Grab three sticks or 5 pinecones, or three varieties of greens, etc.
  5. Mix n Match | Feel free to mix live elements with artificial ones. For example, use living greens and artificial embellishments. Mix living and artificial greens to keep things looking fresh. ​​

Hypothetical Question of the Week 

“If “Plants’R’Us had the biggest Black Friday Sale ever, what plant or garden/patio item would be the top of your wishlist to finally buy?



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