Proper winter storage will prevent damage and extend the useful life of your containers.

Containers are great for housing and displaying flowers and other plants throughout the summer. During the winter, however, they need to be stored properly to avoid damage.

After cleaning containers of dead vegetation and spent soil, they should be cleaned thoroughly using warm, soapy water with 10% bleach. This will prevent any pests or diseases that might be residing in the containers from surviving over the winter. Then, once the containers are dry, they’ll be ready for storage.

Plastic Containers

As long as they’re empty, plastic containers can be stored outside over the winter. The winter sun can fade their color unevenly though, so it’s a good idea to cover them up with a tarp or plastic bags.

Clay and Terracotta Containers

Since they’re porous, clay and terracotta containers retain moisture that will freeze and thaw as temperatures fluctuate over the winter. Repeated freeze-thaw cycles make these containers prone to cracking, so they shouldn’t be stored outside. They should be kept indoors where temperatures won’t fall below freezing. Covering them with newspaper can help to prevent chipping.

Ceramic Containers

Though their protective coating should keep moisture out, any chips or cracks in ceramic containers may let some water in. therefore, ceramic containers should be stored inside and covered like clay and terracotta containers.