If you live in the northern part of the U.S. and experience a colder winter, you’ll want to protect both your plants and your pots when the temperatures drop. Here are the best steps to take:
If the plants in your pots can’t stand cold temperatures, bring them inside and keep them in a cool room in your home. For plants that will stay outside during the winter, wrap them in layers of horticultural fleece and secure with twine. Then, protect them from harsh cold winds by moving them to a dry, sheltered area. You can also put a layer of mulch or straw on top of the soil to help insulate it.
For woody plants that can stay outside, wait until their leaves drop and then loosely tie their branches together to prevent them from snapping off in high winds. Also, brush off any snow or ice accumulation to prevent their branches from breaking.
Clay and terracotta pots don’t provide much insulation for plants, so line them with bubble wrap and a layer of fresh soil. Since the roots of potted plants are much nearer to the outside temperatures (instead of those planted in the ground), this will help keep them warm. You can also dig up an area and place the whole pot in the ground to absorb the earth’s warmth.
If your potted plants are currently placed on cement or asphalt that receives sunlight, move them to an area of soil. The sun heats up the cement or asphalt during the day, but then gets cold at night – this fluctuation can damage the roots of your plants.
To prevent your porous pots (like clay, terracotta, or glazed) from taking on moisture, wrap them in a few layers of plastic bubble wrap or burlap lined with plastic wrap.
If you have any empty pots that you plan on storing over the winter, make sure that you empty them out and wash them thoroughly. Then, dry them well and place them upside-down in a dry, sheltered area.