Tips on Overwintering a Container Garden

Here are some tips on how to overwinter your container garden.

Credit: Brand X Pictures/Home and Garden/Alison Miksch

The overwintering needs of your container planting will be determined by the hardiness of the plant(s), the climate and the size of the container.

Growing a plant in a container exposes it to about two additional zones of cold (e.g., if you live in zone 7, plants that are hardy to zone 5 are reliably hardy in containers in your area). The larger the container and the greater the distance between the roots and the edge of the pot, the lower the risk of frost damage to the roots. A top-dressing of mulch applied in the fall will also help insulate the roots from the cold.

Store your ceramic pots in a dry place during the winter to avoid frost damage or breakage.

Many container-grown plants that require winter protection can be brought into the house or placed in a cool, dry place during the coldest months. Keep the plant in low light and water it sparingly. When signs of new growth begin to show in spring, start watering the plant and slowly move it into the light where it can slowly acclimate before being moved outdoors.

Container plants that overwinter best outdoors can be removed from their pots and planted into the ground in the fall, or the pot can be buried into the compost pile until spring.