Ahhh, winter. How you bring us close, make us dream, and see things in a different perspective. With a tease of early snow and steadily cooler temps, it’s time to winterize outdoor containers. Glazed, cast iron, wrought iron, terracotta, concrete, wood, tin, composite/faux and plastic are all materials used in outdoor container gardening. Learn how to care for your planters and still use them over the winter months as a warm welcome to your home and office.

Winter Container Gardening

Porch Pots are made to drop into your existing outdoor containers and stay fresh-looking through the winter months. All you need to do is take out the old plants along with the top 8”-10” of soil so what is left in the pot does not freeze and expand. You now have room to add winter décor!

Our talented staff take 13-inch and 16-inch pots of fresh soil and turn them into works of art using fresh greens, red twig dogwood stems, curly willow, berry branches, and holiday décor. The greens expand way past the edge of the pot to fill yours at home. Porch pots are ready-made to pick up and go!

Pick out your porch pots, wreaths, Christmas trees, indoor and outdoor holiday décor, and fresh DIY winter greens with accents in our Naperville and Aurora Holiday Shops, now open Monday-Saturday: 9am-5pm and Sunday 11am-5pm. Our Design team also makes custom designs. For custom orders, call 630.355.4000 to get on our schedule before the rush.


Which Containers Need to Be Brought in from the Cold?

Terracotta, plastic, wood, and thin-walled ceramic containers crack and break when exposed to fluctuations in temperature. Terracotta pots are often unglazed and not Chicagoland winter-worthy. For safety’s sake, plan to bring most glazed ceramics, plastic, composite and terracotta pots into a garage or basement when temperatures consistently dip below freezing.

Many containers with lips, curves, or depressions collect water which can freeze and cause cracks or chips. Dry them thoroughly, flip them over so water runs off and make sure they are protected from the winter weather, like under eaves, in the garage or on the porch. If leaving ornamental pots outdoors, consider placing on top of pot feet, bricks or pallets and covering with a tarp.


How Do I Prep Containers Left Outside?

Concrete and cast iron containers are often the largest and heaviest containers but luckily, they are the ones that do just fine staying put for the winter. A good wire brush and high-quality spray paint will freshen up cast iron pots that patina and rust. Big containers and urns may be cleared annually of soil that blocks the drainage hole and left upright outdoors.

Take out old plants and half of the soil from high-fired glazed containers to allow for water drain during the freeze/thaw cycles. Elevate pots left outdoors using pot feet or bricks so they are not sitting directly on the ground. Drained water can pool, freeze pot to the ground and cause wear and tear on planters.