Go for Gold in Holiday Containers

gold in containers

Yellow twig dogwood and faux berries add a subtle gold to the larger container. Piling gold ornaments on a bed of greenery is an easy, elegant front-door look.

Nothing says happy holidays like a big, festive container of piney greens on your front porch. Add some red berries or twigs and you’re good to go. Or, add a touch of gold in holiday containers for a more sophisticated look. Whether your style is natural or glamorous, there are many options for adding gold to your containers.


Go Natural

Evergreens with golden foliage are increasingly available at nurseries. If you have one of these in your yard, snip some of the branches to add a natural hint of gold to your containers. You could also buy a new shrub now, make it the focal point of your container, and plant it in spring. (Some varieties may need winter protection after the holidays.) Gold-hued shrubs include varieties such as ‘Gold Mop’ thread branch cypress, ‘Golden Hinoki’ or ‘Vintage Gold’ false cypress or ‘Carsten’s Wintergold’ mugo pine.

carstens wintergold mugo pine

While red-twig dogwood is classic, yellow-twig dogwood stems are a great way to put some gold in holiday containers. You can often find cut yellow-twig dogwood stems at garden centers or snip them from your own plants. The variety ‘Flaviramea’ has bright yellow/gold color on new stems and is hardy to USDA Zone 2. While curly willow is brown naturally, you could get out the spray paint and give it some extra shine for a dramatic focal point in your container.

Berries with gold tones are another natural addition to your containers. ‘Winter Gold’ winterberries are zone 3 hardy and produce abundant orange-gold berries that brighten any container. Another hardy winterberry with golden fruit is Berry Heavy® Gold winterberry. If the birds don’t grab them first, you can harvest some berries for your containers. Or, check out the options at local garden centers where golden bittersweet may be among the offerings.


winter container

Lush greenery is complemented by a few faux or painted gold elements in this standout container. Photo by June Spanier, June of All Trades

Add Faux Gold

All natural containers are wonderful, but adding a few faux elements is a great way to brighten up holiday containers—and you can use the elements for years to come. Consider the lovely pot that St. Cloud-based designer June Spanier of June of All Trades created for a client last year. (I found June on Instagram where she shares many of her creations.) The pot includes a base of several types of greenery (most guides say three to five types is best), curly willow for height, some red berries and several gold accents: faux gold foliage, gold ornaments and a red and gold bauble, plus pine cones, some of which are kept natural while others are spray-painted gold. It’s a perfect balance of natural and shiny.

Not feeling super creative? We love the idea of using a low container with a base of greenery (the one pictured has incense cedar and two kinds of pine), then piling on some shiny holiday ornaments. Be sure to choose shatterproof ornaments suitable for outdoors.

Or, run a large gold ribbon through your greenery and other elements for a classic holiday touch.

One final way to add a golden glow to your containers is by draping warm lights over the display of greenery. You can purchase gold or yellow lights that really do give a golden sparkle to your decorations.


More Ideas

For more on creating holiday containers from your garden, check out these older blog posts.

Holiday Container Basics

10 Tips for Holiday Décor

Ideas for Easy Holiday Containers

More Ideas for Easy Holiday Containers


Mary Lahr Schier is a freelance garden writer and speaker and recently retired as editor of Northern Gardener® magazine. Follow Mary on Instagram at @mynortherngarden_mary.

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  1. Linda Butwinick. on November 22, 2022 at 4:11 am

    Wonderful read, perfectly timed.

    • MSHS on November 22, 2022 at 2:34 pm

      We love to hear that, Linda! Hope you can put some of Mary’s tips to good use this season.

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