Caring For Your Container Gardens in the Winter


Yes, container gardening is very popular. Yes, container gardening can be done year round here in Central Virginia. Yes, each or our four seasons gives our container gardens their own challenges.

These past couple of weeks I have had numerous customers ask about what they need to do with their container gardens now that winter if officially here. I have written blogs on this topic in the past but I feel it needs repeating. Typically, here in Virginia, our winters are very fickle in that we can have some abnormally warms days along with some very frigid days— sometimes all in the same week. It is just the way our winters can be in Virginia.

Some of you are trying container gardening for the first time. Here are some thoughts and tips to share with you to give you the best possible chance of being a successful container gardener through the winter.

Winter Container Gardening Tips

Bottom line, the roots of our plants are more susceptible to cold damage than any other part of the plant. Interesting enough, many of the elements of gardening most critical to our plants survival during the growing season—soil and water—play just as pivotal a role for our plants in the winter.

Some of you may think about bringing inside your outdoor container gardens. DON’T! Though theoretically possible, you have a slim chance of success. Our hardy evergreen plants, such as spruce, cypress, juniper, and others, rely on a period of cool winter to go dormant and stay dormant. Indoors is far too warm for these hardy evergreens.

Yes, your containers can be vulnerable to being damaged and crack in the winter. Personally, I use these thick, glazed containers around my gardens at home. I do stay away from clay.  I find that clay can damage easily in the winter. Where I have my containers is where they stay year round. Some customers like to move their container gardens to a more sheltered area. This is fine to do for the winter.

Never let plants go dry—even in the winter. You need to keep container gardens watered periodically. Also, no need to fertilize plants in these containers. The plants are not trying to grow.

So, enjoy being a container gardener. I certainly enjoy seeing all of my containers.


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