Protecting Garden Pots During Winter

Tender plants will die if their roots are locked in cold, wet soil in winter, but you can protect them during fall.

Bring Tender Plants Inside

Bring plants that need a frost-free minimum winter temperature into a mildly heated greenhouse or conservatory, or cool room in your home, before bad weather sets in. Water occasionally.

Winter Storage for Tender Plants

Winter Storage for Tender Plants

Bring plants that need a frost-free winter into a mildly heated greenhouse or conservatory, or a cool room in your home, before bad weather sets in. Water occasionally.

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios, 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Wrap Up Delicate Pots

Many pots, especially ornamental containers that aren’t designed to stand outside in freezing temperatures, need winter protection. Wrap them up in burlap (possibly double layers), and secure tightly at the top and bottom with strong garden string.

Wrap Delicate Pots

Wrap Delicate Pots

Many pots, especially ornamental containers not designed to stand outside in freezing temperatures, need winter protection. Wrap them in burlap (possibly double layers), and secure tightly at the top and bottom with strong garden string.

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios, 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Keep Tender Plants Warm

Wrap potted plants that need protection in low temperatures in layers of horticultural fleece before freezing weather strikes. Move the pot to a sheltered spot, such as a shed, away from flaying winds. Remove the fleece when the weather improves.

Protect Plants With Fleece Wrap

Protect Plants With Fleece Wrap

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios, 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Line Clay Pots

Insert bubble wrap inside clay pots in spring to minimize moisture evaporation, and to help keep the roots snug in winter when the temperatures dive—the roots are just a fraction of an inch away from the icy cold, unlike those deep down in the soil.

Using Bubble Wrap to Line Pots Protects Roots

Using Bubble Wrap to Line Pots Protects Roots

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios, 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Plants to Protect

As a general guide, exotic plants from warm climates need winter protection. Some may survive the cold but, because they come from areas with dry winters, they will die in sopping wet soil. In free-draining soil and a sheltered position, though, they may survive. Others need to be wrapped up and brought inside, but the degree of protection varies.

Plants needing winter protection:

  • trailing abutilon
  • Aeonium
  • aloe
  • Beaucarnea recurvata
  • begonia
  • bougainvillea
  • brugmansia (image 1)
  • cactus
  • citrus
  • echeveria
  • fuchsia 'Thalia'
  • licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare)
  • heliotrope
  • winter jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum)
  • lantana (image 2)
  • Chinese fan palm
  • Musa
  • oleander
  • geranium (image 3)
  • princess flower (Tibouchina)
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