Winterizing Outdoor Containers – Avoid Damage From Freeze/Thaw Conditions

The Temperatures are Dropping to Freezing for Many of Us – Get Your Terra Cotta Containers Protected

Since so many of us live in parts of the USA and elsewhere in the world where the temperatures are really starting to dip low, I thought I’d provide some important winterizing tips for terra cotta (also called clay) pots.

Broken terra cotta pot from winter freeze.Here’s a real example showing exactly what kind of damage repeated freeze/thaw conditions can do. This photo was taken in the springtime in my very own garden a couple years ago. This cracked mess was one of my cheaper pots, which I left partially sunk into the soil, and I’d let it sit out all winter. I assumed that it would survive … but it didn’t.

Freezing and then thawing numerous times throughout the winter months is the culprit of the damage you see. Terra cotta and clay act as a wick – meaning water is absorbed into the clay from the soil, or rain, or snow – which causes cracking most times when the temps drop down below freezing. Then … temps rise enough to allow the frozen water to thaw, and this starts to cause stress to the terra cotta/clay material. And if this keeps happening throughout the winter, which it likely will, come springtime you just might find a cracked, or crumbled mess.

That is unless you’ve spent big bucks on high-high quality freeze-resistant Italian terra cotta pottery from vendors such as Seibert & Rice. But chances are you’re probably more like me, meaning you have some very nice quality clay pots, but you also purchase pots at discount stores. And as is said … we do get what we pay for! And in the case of most of the terra cotta and clay pots available on the market, that means they are not meant to be left out during the winter months.

To learn more about winterizing your containers and pots, please read my informative article Winter Container Garden tips.

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