As the weather gets colder, some plants need more protection than others, especially plants in containers. Here are our tips on protecting container plants from the cold this winter.
Plants in containers are more at risk in cold weather than other plants. Their roots are not as well insulated as they would be if they were planted in the ground, and wet compost can freeze during icy weather, killing plant roots. Since water expands when it freezes, frozen waterlogged compost can also damage or even break containers. So it’s important to give your container plants some protection when the temperature drops.
When protecting potted plants in winter, the aim is to provide extra insulation for the roots, stop the soil getting waterlogged, and give added protection for any frost-tender or tropical plants.
For a pot to be frost-proof, it needs to be water-resistant. Plastic and fibreglass pots are frost-proof, as are many glazed ceramic pots. Unglazed terracotta pots have a porous structure that allows the pot walls to absorb water. This works well in summer, as excess water can seep out and the soil can breathe. In a frost, however, water absorbed into the pot walls can freeze and expand, causing the pot to flake or even crack.
Always check the frost rating on a pot before you buy it. Pots marked as ‘frost-resistant’ are tougher than those with no rating, but may still crack or flake in a hard frost, whereas frost-proof pots should survive.
Of course, it’s always essential to choose pots with good drainage holes, as no matter how frost-proof your pot, it will still crack if it’s filled with waterlogged compost that freezes solid and expands.
We know how important your plants are to you, so visit our garden centre to find everything you need to protect your containers from the cold this winter.