Sometimes it takes us longer to select a container than the plants that go in them. Pot selection is important, especially when we are talking about large patio pots that will adorn our space for years to come. It’s vital that we treat them right over the winter to keep them looking their best.
Smaller pots that are easy to handle should be stored in a garage or indoors when possible but what about the big guys? It’s important to note that glazed ceramic pots need to be treated a little different than untreated terracotta clay pots.
The biggest mistake we make is placing our pots on a hard surface such as concrete and not raising the pot up to allow water to escape from the bottom. While this isn’t a huge problem in the summer, it can be tragic in the winter. If we are talking about glazed pots, when the wet soil in the pot repeatedly freezes and thaws the pot becomes stressed. The expansion and contraction of the soil puts pressure on the sides of the pot until it finally cracks. You can prevent this by raising the pot about an inch off the ground before you fill it with soil in the spring. You can use bricks, small wood blocks or traditional pot feet.
If we are discussing unglazed clay terracotta, the issue becomes absorption. Clay absorbs water. If the pot is
wet, whether it contains soil or not, and temperatures drop to freezing, the clay itself expands and contracts until it finally weakens and breaks. For this reason, untreated clay pots should always be brought in during the winter. If the pot is too large to move, raise it up as you would a ceramic pot and place a trash bag or large piece of plastic over the entire pot to keep it from getting wet.
Treating your pots right will keep them beautiful and strong for years to come!