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Quick Tips for Winterizing Container Gardens

While potting soil and garden soil are quite different, the winterizing techniques we might use to get ready for cooler weather are fairly similar. If your garden pots will spend the winter outdoors, it’s a good idea to protect the soil and any plants within.

Similar to an in-ground garden, you can use organic practices such as mulching and cover crops to protect your container’s potting soil through the winter. A simple mulch such as straw, leaf litter, or finished compost is easy on the eyes while protecting potting soil for future use. Flowering cover crops like crimson clover or phacelia are fast growing and showy.

You can also utilize a mulch around the base of your containers, to help insulate the soil during very cold weather. You can pile leaves, straw, or even burlap bags around the base of the container and a few inches up. This will help to keep the water in the soil from freezing and potentially damaging any plant roots.

Drainage is key to the container garden, and an important thing to keep an eye on during our rainy season. Excess water in a pot can create an anaerobic (lacking oxygen) environment that kills off plant roots and jeopardizes plant health. Check the drainage holes, especially where trees or shrubs are planted, to make sure that nothing is obstructing the natural flow of water.