Cold-Proof Containers

There is no sadder sight than an empty pot, but with such extreme conditions here in Chicagoland, what can you do with them? Here are a few ideas on how to fill the void and hold you over throughout the cold winter months, until spring returns and you can plant in your pots once again.

Let’s start by debunking the myths.  While ivy can take some cold temperatures, it cannot survive below freezing. So if you have ivy topiaries or just ivy trailing in your pots, it is best to replant them and bring them inside. To prevent any spider mites once brought indoors, mist the leaves once a week.

While poinsettias are the Christmas flower, they are a tropical flower. They need to be kept indoors, and should never be left outdoors. Putting these in your outdoor containers is definitely not recommended and will leave you with some very sad looking poinsettias.

The simplest way to fill your pots is to use a shrub that is in a container that can slide into your pot. Dwarf Alberta Spruce, Blue Spruce, Boxwood and Holly bushes can give you an instant filler that will stay green throughout the winter. The catch is to be sure to begin watering them in March, or when it warms up, to keep them alive for the remainder of the year.

These can also be jazzed up for the holidays with bows, lights and ornaments that can withstand the outdoors.

Another way to improve on this first idea is to use a wreath with the spruce tree.  By placing a wreath down on top of the container, then placing a dwarf spruce in the center, you get a very full look for a lot less work. (See photo) Using a wreath at the base can also work for using statuary or a ceramic garden ball in the center as well.

You can also fill your pots for the season by using a fresh greens arrangement.  This can be done in a variety of ways using all sorts of greens by you or designers at Goers.  By using a variety of greens, you create lots of texture, color and an overall beautiful container. 

The fresh greens arrangements can be spruced up in all sorts of ways. Adding a festive bow is an easy way to incorporate the holiday, but that can be removed quickly and easily for the rest of the winter. Also, stores, like Target, are selling LED light sticks like those pictured, that can be incorporated into the arrangements for a final touch. 

Whether going with a natural look with pinecones, berries and sticks like dogwood or curly willow, or going for something to coordinate with all your decorations, with gold glittered sticks and stars, the possibilities are endless. We carry a variety of decorations that can be found and purchased individually in the East greenhouse (the plastic greenhouse by the outdoor checkout area).

To keep these greens arrangements looking fresh, we encourage you to water them until the soil freezes for the winter. With warm weeks like we have had this fall, making sure they have enough moisture will keep them from browning too early.  

If you don't have time to make an arrangement , feel free to drop your pots off and place an order with our designers. They can create a beautiful greens arrangement to adorn your home throughout the winter months.