Here are some tips on protecting ceramic pots over the colder months.
November is the month when we’re most likely to start experiencing hard frosts. Therefore, gardeners are advised to bring in, dig up and protect tender plants that have been growing in the garden throughout the summer and early autumn.
However, it’s not just plants that need protection. Although ceramic and terracotta pots may look robust, many are made in countries with warmer climates. As a result, they are often not fired to temperatures high enough to withstand prolonged exposure to the worst of our winter weather.
Frost proof or frost resistant
When buying ceramic or terracotta pots it’s important to read the label carefully, as ‘frost resistant’ means that the pot could crack or flake in hard frosts. On the other hand, ‘frost proof’ means the pot should be able to withstand hard frosts.
If you’re unsure whether your pots are frost proof, it’s best to take precautions to protect them now as they’re expensive to replace.
Empty ceramic pots
If you’ve emptied your pots for the year then you can ideally store them in a frost free garage or other storage space.
Bear in mind that if the space isn’t frost free, then try to make sure the pots are stored off the ground. This is to take account of the fact that cold air falls.
They can be placed against the shelter of a house wall, if there’s not a lot of indoor space to spare.
Again, it’s best to keep them lifted off the ground, and wrapped in either bubble wrap or horticultural fleece.
Pots with soil and plants
One of the most important things is to avoid the pot becoming waterlogged. Not only could waterlogged soil kill the plant, but it could also result in the pot cracking. This happens because the water will expand when frozen, putting extra pressure on the sides of the pot.
If you haven’t already done so, lift the pots so that they aren’t resting on the ground.
Terracotta ‘feet’ can be bought from most garden centres. Alternatively, bricks or anything else with a solid, level surface can also be used.
As bricks are quite deep, they could be tricky to manoeuvre in place under a pot full of soil.
Raising pots off the ground can be done fairly easily with two people. One person pulls the pot backwards, raising one side, whilst the other person places the support under one side.
Then, repeat the process on the other side of the pot; ideally adding a third support to obtain the best form of stability. Lastly, do consider wrapping them with bubble wrap or horticultural fleece as an added form of protection.
Rather than leaving your ceramic pots out for winter and risking them being damaged by frost, take precaution to ensure they are set for winter. Use these tips for protecting ceramic pots and containers to last longer to keep your planting schemes looking their best.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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