Christmas Container Planting Recipe

Christmas container recipeCreate this festive Christmas container planting for winter using holly, poinsettia, English ivy and some fern fronds to fill in extra spaces. The best holly to use is English holly, especially Ilex aquifolium 'Gold Coast', which is often used around Christmas time and is available with white in the foliage.


The white in the holly and the red poinsettia plant leaves make this display pop, especially when using a large, pruned holly plant. The holly bush can be grown and trimmed to resemble a Christmas tree. The display in the photo is rather large, so if you have a smaller holly specimen, you can complete this planting recipe on a smaller scale.

Sun: The fern, poinsettia and English ivy do not need full sun, but the holly does. The holly will shade the lower portions of the planter so the other plants won’t receive too much light.

Container: Purchase a large holly specimen from your local garden shop and plant it in a container that it will stay in long-term. While other plants may transplant well, holly doesn’t.

Soil: In the plant container, provide slightly acidic loamy soil that drains well. Provide enough water and either other plantings or mulch to protect the plant roots from freezing.

Pruning: This plant display also grows very large, so plan for a large container and plan to prune this bush. When pruning to keep the bush’s Christmas tree shape (or whatever geometric shape you choose), do not cut too much. If you prune before the holidays, bring plant cuttings inside to decorate the house.

Pests and Diseases: Watch out for black spot, blight and mold. Some pest insects might find your holly plant, such as holly leaf miners, bud moths and leaf mites.

It may take several years for your holly bush to bloom and produce berries, but when it does, wild birds will visit your Christmas planter display and feed on the berries. Berries help birds produce their beautiful plumage, and they are a wonderful Christmas treat during winter for hungry wild birds in your area. Because holly has male and female plants, if you only have one specimen, you will most likely not be able have fertile flowers that will eventually turn into berries. Only a male and female plant can produce berries. Even if you can’t produce berries, this container garden display will bring some cheer to the Christmas season!

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