December 27, 2017 3 min read

If you live in a cold climate, you might think you have to give up container gardening once the temperatures start cooling off. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to maintain your container gardens and planters year 'round.

During the winter and colder months of the years, maintaining your garden and outdoor plants can get tricky as many pots will crack or break if they freeze.  

DO NOT FEAR! Concrete containers and planters can actually hold up to even the most frigid temps and provide a reliable insulation to protect the plant's roots even during times of large temperature changes.

Concrete planters and containers are also a fantastic way to bring life and color to your landscape, and their portability means you can move them around to get the best light and warmth that winter has to offer.

Read on to learn some of our tips and best advice for keeping your container and planter gardens growing all winter long.

Choose Hardy Plants

There are two groups of plants that fare well in winter container gardening: hardy perennials and hardy annuals.

Hardy perennials include ivy, lamb's ear, spruce, and juniper. Perennials may stay evergreen all through the winter.

Hardy annuals will probably die eventually, but can last well into the autumn, and include kale, cabbage, sage, and pansies.

Choose Containers That Tolerate the Cold

Container gardening in cold weather also requires, of course, containers or planters. Just like plants, not all containers can survive the cold. Ceramics, terracottas, and thin plastics probably will not survive repeated freezing and thawing.

Instead, try containers made of the following materials:

  • Concrete
  • Metal or Iron
  • Stone
  • Hollow logs

Choosing a container that’s bigger than your plant needs will make for more insulating soil and a better chance of survival.

Ensure Good Drainage

Ensure that the drainage holes of your containers are clear and consider using pot feet to elevate them so they won't freeze to the ground, which can break even the toughest pot.

Plan Where To Place Your Plants

Since sunlight is weaker and winds are drier in the winter, it is wise to place your containers and planters in the sunniest possible location, away from strong winds that can dry plants out or blow pots over. To understand what “freezing” really feels like to plants, we turn to the "Farmers' Almanac" for an official explanation:

  • A light freeze between 29°F to 32°F will kill tender plants, while other vegetation is not dramatically affected.
  • A moderate freeze between 25°F and 28°F creates heavy damage to tender and semi-hardy plants.
  • A severe freeze below 25°F only hardy plants can withstand this temperature.

With this information, it's your duty to locate your containers and planters wisely. You can also help protect your containers from harsh weather by grouping them together near a sheltering wall or fence.

Replant Your Hardy Plants (If Required)

If you have a delicate container filled with hardy, long-lived perennial plants, carefully dig the plants out and put them into a garden bed before the soil freezes.

Or, depending on the plant, you may be able to turn it into a houseplant. Some plants that go dormant will survive in an unheated basement or shed. Just do some research on your plant to see what it's best chance for survival is.

Don’t Overfeed

Plants absorb fewer nutrients during cold weather, so overfeeding and overwatering doesn’t help. Use rich soil, and a slow release, balanced organic fertilizer at planting time to give a steady (but light) supply of nutrients all winter long.

Remember To Water Regularly

Desiccation, or drying out, is the biggest cause of winter damage to plants. Water your containers when they’re dry, and be sure to water before a hard freeze. The best time to water is in the morning when the soil is warming up for the day.

Listen To Your Instinct

Even when a plant is hardy, and should withstand freezing temperatures, if it doesn't look great, it might be time to say “goodbye.” Add it to your compost so it can become food for some other plant down the line.

We hope these tips help you maintain and care for your plants during the colder winter months so that they thrive well into the summer. 

Looking for a reliable yet stylish container or planter for your plants, succulents, and air-plants? Check out our assortment of cool concrete planters, perfect for your indoor or outdoor plants during any season.

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