Winter Greenery Arrangements

Winter Greenery Arrangement (Photo provided by Gardens on Spring Creek)

by Selena Kunze, Horticulturist, Gardens on Spring Creek


After the annual flowers have long been composted, the leaves have fallen and once the rich oranges, creams, and blues of pumpkins and squash have been removed from porch steps, one must turn to evergreens and greenery to fill the void. Many garden centers sell fresh evergreen trimmings and greenery and often carry fresh-made wreaths and centerpieces, but you can also make your own relatively easily. Evergreen branches (such as pine, cedar, spruce and juniper) can be combined with other greenery (like rosemary, eucalyptus, holly, magnolia, bay and boxwood) and accented with twigs, cattails, pinecones, berries, and seed heads to create beautiful winter displays for inside or outside your home. 

The first step in creating your own winter greenery arrangement is collecting the materials – the fresher, the better. Save trimmings from your fresh-cut tree, gently prune the evergreens in your yard, ask neighbors for permission to collect twigs and seed heads, or purchase greenery from your local garden center…just be sure your trimmings are aromatic and plump, not dry and brittle. Potted plants can also be used, and as long as they are watered and maintained, they can be replanted in the spring or kept as houseplants all year. 

You will also need a vessel for your display. Containers filled with soil work great, but you can also use sand, decorative pebbles, or foam to hold the branches. Be sure to add weight to containers filled only with foam, or they will be top-heavy and prone to tipping. Indoor displays can also be made in vases or other containers that can hold water and should last longer if stems are kept submerged.

It is helpful to fully hydrate those greenery trimmings before using them in an arrangement. Make a fresh, diagonal cut on each stem with sharp pruners and soak them in room temperature water for a few hours. Once the foliage air dries, spraying trimmings with an antidesiccant spray will help seal pores and retain moisture. 

Creating a greenery arrangement is similar to planting an annual container—you need thrillers, fillers, and spillers. Thrillers are tall branches that give your container height, fillers are the bushy trimmings in the middle and spillers drape over the edges. Starting with either the thrillers or fillers, stick branches in a random pattern in your container, leaving them tall enough to act as a backdrop for the shorter accents you plan to add later. If planting matching containers, work on both simultaneously. Use spillers on the edges and front of the container, varying the color and texture of the greenery. Colorful additions like berries, ribbon, or painted sprigs can be worked in sparingly, along with accents of different colors or textures. Repeating colors throughout your display gives it a harmonious look. For example, you can use cattails, pinecones, and yucca seed heads to add brown tones to a predominantly green backdrop. For a little more height, add twigs from shrubs like red twig dogwood or curly willow.

Fresh greenery arrangements should last up to two weeks inside and longer outside in the cold. It is best to keep displays out of the direct sun and away from heat sources. If adding lighting, use LED lights to avoid additional heat. Mist your greenery arrangement daily, and enjoy the fragrance and texture of your creation. 

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