Each year our creative staff makes hundreds of porch pots by hand, many one-of-a-kind pairs for custom designs to decorate homes for the holidays. We’re sharing our recipe for success so you can make your own! The supplies below cover the basics. Embellish as you like, add additional elements if you wish, and bring your personality and decor style out in your design.
13” pot with soil
1 spruce top
Mix of 5 different greens
1 winterberry branch
2 or 3 accent branches
Start with the Thriller
Spruce tops are a classic thriller for a winter porch pot. You may need to cut some branches off the bottom to create more of a trunk to push firmly into the soil. You can place it in the center or towards the back if the pot will only be seen from the front. If you are using birch poles, place those in the pot in a triangular pattern before the spruce top is centered. Once you have the spruce top in place, stick any branches you cut from it into the soil to add volume.
Add Fillers and Spillers
When cutting all fresh greens, snip as close to branch intersections as possible. This will help you get the most out of your greens.
Fraser Fir can be used upright as filler or angled to the side to create a wide base for your spiller. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look full yet.
Port Orford or Variegated Cedar can also be used as a filler and a spiller. Again, make sure you are making efficient cuts to get the most out of your greens. One large branch can be cut into two usable pieces. If you make your cuts on an angle, you can turn the angled sides inward to hide them. Experiment by moving branches around to see their best placement and hide the cuts.
Boxwood is another great filler. One large stem can make 2-4 pieces, depending on the size and how it is branched. This evergreen offers a leafy texture against the needles of other winter greens.
White pine adds a soft filler texture. Again, cut larger pieces down as needed. White pine tends to curl when it dries, so if you use the larger branches whole, make sure they are supported underneath by some of the other greens.
Incense Cedar is a great accent spiller and filler. A larger chunk of Incense Cedar used upright can create a focal point in the front of the pot.
Be sure to keep turning the pot as you fill it with greens so the overall look is even all the way around. If you haven’t used up all of your greens at this point, look at all the sides and see where you might need to add the remaining greens to fill in holes.
Add the Accents
Gently turn the Winterberry stem to show its best side, and add the pinecones. Try to create a visual triangle between the accent elements. To vary pinecone heights, trim the bottom of the sticks a little bit at a time so they are not too short to work within your design.
Now add your decorative branches. You can leave them all in one piece or cut them at the intersections if you want a different arrangement. Glitter branches tend to be a little more clumped. If you leave them in one large piece, they can start to look like antlers.
The last step is the bow. Cut a leftover stem from your accent or greens branches to at least 8” long. To help keep the bow in place on the stem, first wrap one side of the bow’s wire all the way around in one direction and then the other side of the wire all the way around in the other direction.
Winter Care of Your Porch Pot
Store your greens in a cool, dark place like an unheated garage until you are ready to create your porch pot. You can mist the greens with water once or twice to help keep them fresh. Wilt-Pruf can be used on fresh-cut greens to lock in the moisture with a wax-like coating once they are planted in your pot. When outside temps freeze the soil in your porch pot, you no longer have to water. Enjoy the evergreens all winter!
See our Winter Greens Guide blog post for more inspiration.