Protecting flower pots during the winter months

Protecting flower pots during the winter months

Now well into the fall season, many homeowners and businesses are getting their landscapes ready for the winter months ahead.

Much of their energy is now spent gathering and disposing of fallen leaves, trimming back perennials to the ground level and removing dead annuals all together.

But many rarely consider their flower pots during this time of year and how they’ll withstand the winter weather ahead.

Flower pots (plastic, ceramic, terra cotta) are not inexpensive. Therefore, you should be taking steps to ensure that they’ll be viable for another planting season come the spring. Here are a few simple tips for homeowners and businesses to protect their flower pots.


While diseases typically inhabit the plant during the growing season, the soil below is often contaminated as well. If you know your potted plants experienced an insect or disease issue during the season, it’s best to dispose of the soil now. Do not utilize this soil in areas of your yard at the risk of spreading the disease come the spring. While it might seem like a waste, you’ll be doing yourself a favor later on to protect the new plants your planting. Using fresh soil come the spring is never a bad idea for optimal plant health.


Before storing any flower pot, it’s a good idea to wash them. Use warm, soapy water that is 10% bleach. This will help kill any problems like bugs, disease and fungus that might be clinging to the inside of the container. Do this on a sunny day to allow the container to completely dry.

Plastic Pots

These pots are often incredibly durable and can withstand the harsh conditions of winter if left outdoors. However, if you choose to keep soil in these pots, remember that temperature fluctuations could expand and contract the moisture still in the soil. This could lead to possible breakage, which is another reason why we recommended discarding the soil at the end of the season. Once the pots are emptied and cleaned, you can stack then together and cover with a plastic bag or tarp to help reduce color fade from the winter sun.

Terra Cotta, Clay and Ceramic Pots

It’s not a good idea to store these pots outdoors over the winter. As they are porous, they are prone to cracking with the fluctuation in temperatures. To prevent chipping when storing them in garages, on shelves or in sheds, it’s recommended to wrap each pot in newspaper or old towels to provide some insulation.

Caring for your flower pots at the end of the season will guarantee they’ll be ready for planting (and disease free) come the spring.

For more information on preparing your landscape for winter, visit SavATree today.