Holly and skimmia Christmas pot display

Do it:


Takes just:

one hour

At its best:

Jan, Feb, Dec

If you like rustic charm and relaxed, informal planting, this pot display is for you. With a traditional holly bush at the centre, and red berry lights for a little sparkle, you couldn't wish for a more festive container recipe. You should find all these plants at your local nursery and it's possible to plant the skimmias and stipas in the garden when they outgrow the display.

Put safety first: be sure to buy lights that are safe for outdoor use, which usually means they'll have a transformer between the plug the first light of the string. The transformer converts the electricity to a lower voltage suitable for use outside, and must be positioned indoors. The wire on the 'outdoor' side of the transformer will be thin enough to pass through a window or door for a limited period, while still allowing it to close. Don't plug into outdoor sockets if the transformer will be exposed.

You will need

  • 1 x holly, Ilex aquifolium
  • 3 x Stipa tenuissima 'Pony Tails'
  • 3 x Skimmia japonica
  • 30cm terracotta pot
  • Crocks or polystyrene for drainage
  • John Innes No.3 potting compost
  • 1 x controlled-release fertiliser tablet
  • Noma 120 red outdoor static berry lights


Add crocks to the pot, half fill with compost and pop in a slow-release fertiliser tablet.

Position the holly in the centre of the pot, making sure it is straight, and add more compost.

If the stipas are a little large make extra, smaller plants by dividing them with a sharp knife.

Plant the stipas around the edge of the container ensuring they are evenly spaced apart.

Add the skimmias between the stipas, backfill with more compost and water thoroughly.

Twine the lights through the holly and safely connect them to your power source.


Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith says...

If you don’t like the prickly nature of holly try osmanthus instead. It looks just like variegated holly, but without the severe prickles that can sometimes be painful. Wear gloves to protect your hands if needs be.

Discover more ideas and inspiration

Related content

Camellia pot display

Box and osteospermum pot display

Box and cyclamen Christmas pot display

Related offers

SAVE 10%

Save 10%, plus free gift

Save 10 per cent across the entire gardening range at Primrose, including water features, sail shades, containers, plants and more. Plus you'll also receive a set of three wooden bird feeders with your order. Simply enter the discount code at checkout.

Use code: GWORLD17

Order now


Save £10, plus free p&p

Save £10 when you buy both the border and patio dahlia collections from Woolmans, including 10 spectacular varieties. You'll also get free p&p when you enter offer code at checkout.

Use code: GWD17APR

Order now


Patio shrubs, plus free gift

Save £38 when you buy this collection of patio plants, including compact wisteria, philadelphus, and loropetalum, for just £21. You'll also receive 10 free giant freesia bulbs (worth £14.50) when you buy the collection.

Order now