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What to Do With Outdoor Pots in the Winter, So They Look Good for Many Seasons

by | Updated: Oct 2, 2021

What to do with outdoor pots in winter - simple tips

Your flowerpots looked gorgeous all summer, but the seasons are changing. You want to know what to do with your outdoor pots in the winter. (Good thinking!)

Before you start getting winter snow and freezing temps, it helps to:

1) Empty the dead flowers and dirt (or “soil” in garden lingo) from your outdoor pots.

2) Move your empty pots someplace dry. Ideally, you’d store them someplace that stays above freezing (like an attached garage). If that isn’t possible, you could put them on a covered porch or in a shed.

If your pots are too heavy to move…

3) Turn them upside down or cover them with a thick plastic tarp to help keep the moisture out.

Why does it help to protect your outdoor pots?

If you leave the soil in your containers and moisture gets in the soil, the soil can freeze and expand, damaging your pots.

Even resin (plastic) pots can get freeze damage and crack open.

I learned this the hard way when one of my resin flowerpots cracked down the side, like a man splitting his pants.

Some flowerpot surfaces can hold moisture too, like glazed ceramic and terracotta pots.

Here are examples of winter freeze damage on several of my neighbors’ flowerpots. 

Example of winter freeze damage on a glazed ceramic outdoor pot
Example of winter freeze damage on outdoor pots.

Do you have to do anything with your outdoor pots in the winter?

It’s a matter of your risk tolerance for your pots.

I used to leave my pots outside all winter with everything still in them. But after having several pots get ruined, I’m all for protecting my pots during the winter.

With that said, I have friends who don’t do anything with their outdoor pots in the winter. They’ve NEVER had issues with their pots breaking. And they have glazed ceramic pots that should be vulnerable.

It all depends on how much you want to risk it.

If you have pretty outdoor pots that you don’t want to lose, it’s a good idea to protect them from freezing winter conditions.

Related tips that may interest you:

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Ann from Go West Gardener with her flowerpots and garden

Hey there, I'm Ann

I’m a Certified Colorado Gardener, dog mama and Midwesterner-turned-Colorado girl. I help budding gardeners in the intermountain west get more confident with flower gardening, so you can create an outdoor space you love. More about Ann >>

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