Here Are A Few Tricks That Will Help You Keep Ceramic Pots from Cracking in the Winter.
Ice is great when it’s holding up polar bears or chilling our drinks. However, ice is not so great when it gets trapped in the soil in your planters. Water expands when it freezes. This is why water bottles explode in the freezer. ScienceFacts.net has detailed illustrations on how and why this anomaly occurs.
During the winter, your pots are similar to water bottles in a freezer. The soil in your pottery traps excess water before a freeze. The freezing water then expands outwards, potentially applying enough force to crack your garden pots. Fortunately, it is easy to have weatherproofed ceramics that you can set out year-round in almost any climate.
What Steps Can I Take to Frost Proof My Ceramics?
Frost proofing your ceramics involves taking care of the soil, using accessories, and choosing the right pot. Here are a few simple tricks for frost proofing your ceramic pots:
- Keep excess moisture out of your soil.
Use lava rocks to drain excess water away from your soil. You can pick them up at your local hardware store. Make sure to properly rinse your lava rocks before use. They often contain dye that can run onto your patio or floor, causing a mess. Once you have your cleaned lava rocks, place them into the bottom of your pots. Fill about one-fifth of your pot with these rocks to control moisture.
- Place your planters on pot feet.
Water can get trapped underneath your pots or just around the drainage holes. Lifting your pots off the ground will reduce this issue. This will also help reduce potential overwatering. If your planter is on a saucer, place wedges in between the base of the pot and saucer.
- Prepare for water to expand with a plastic jug.
In theory, you want to make sure that the soil can trap as little moisture as possible. Nonetheless, it will trap some water that may freeze. The best way to account for freezing water is to create negative space. Placing a milk or water jug on top of your lava rocks is the oldest trick in the book. Make sure the jug is empty, of course. Poke a few holes in your empty milk jug to allow it to collapse if need be. When the water in your soil freezes it will push against the water jug and not your pots. This will safeguard your pottery from a deep freeze.
- Move your pots closer to your house.
If you have a large tree planted in a large planter, you most likely won’t be bringing it indoors. Even so, the plant and planter will be warmer next to your home or business. This trick is only a final measure. You should still follow the steps listed above if you want to protect your pots from frost.
- Choose quality pottery that is frost resistant.
The shape and quality of a pot can determine how frost proof the planter is. A cone-shaped pot or tapered pot will allow the water to expand upwards during a freeze. Pottery with small openings can freeze from the top down. In this case, the ice on top of the soil will create a seal that forces pressure towards the walls of your pottery. Pots without a wide opening are less prone to creating an icy seal.
Certain planters may not need any frost-proofing, depending on the planter’s location, style, and size. Material and manufacturing processes also come into play when finding frost proof pottery. In general, handmade, ceramic, glazed planters are the strongest. Next to fiberglass and plastic planters of course. If you do plan on putting your plants in ceramic planters, make sure they are glazed. Terra cotta pots aren’t great at insulating. In addition to this, a glazed pot is stronger than an unglazed pot. In short, a handmade glazed pot is a frost proof glazed garden pot.
What are some types of frost proof glazed garden pots?
Now you know how to protect pots from frost. But what about choosing frost resistant pottery? Here are a three of our favorite weather resistant planters:
- Antibes Square Pot – Add a French feel to your garden or home with this rustic style planter. Features a flor-de-lis type design and conjures feelings of royalty. The thick walls and heavy glaze help insulate the roots of your plants and make for a strong pot.
- Medium Wedge Planter – This glazed piece of premium pottery is perfect for any plant or space. Features a square and wedge design that adds beauty to any space, indoor or outdoor. The large opening at the top and square structure makes for a great frost resistant pot.
- Cone Bowl – This low cone bowl has a simple design, yet is elegant at the same time. Perfect for your flower decorations and succulents, this pot is durable, lasting up to decades.
The concept here is to have the opening on the top of the pot wider than the base. Stray away from pottery with a lip or collar if you’re concerned about frost.
How Do You Winterproof Plants?
We’ve talked about frost proof glazed garden pots, but what about the plants themselves? Ultimately, some plants are better than others at surviving a freeze. If you want your plants to survive a freeze you’ll want to plant hardy perennials or frost resistant plants. In addition, bring plants inside if they are susceptible to freezing. Plants that can’t be brought inside need help retaining moisture.
Plants recede into a dormant state in the winter. This means they produce less energy and soak up less water. You want to make sure our plants don’t dry out in the winter. Therefore, to trap moisture you can wrap your plants in the winter. Wrapping them in burlap won’t get the job done. The sun won’t be able to reach your plants either. To frost proof plants, you’ll want to use bubble wrap or plastic wrap. These allow for sunlight to reach the plant and trap moisture. Even so, bubble wrap and plastic wrap can create a greenhouse effect. A drastic temperature change will harm most plants. To avoid this, after wrapping your plants, fill the wrapping with some newspaper. Make sure excess heat can escape the wrapping as well. This is by no means a sure-fire way to save your plants from frost. Even so, it will help them retain water and not dry out in the harsh winter winds.
Where Can You Buy Frost Resistant Pottery?
Are you tired of buying poorly crafted pottery from department stores? Want some pottery that will make your garden pop? Vietnamese pottery is respected in the ceramics community for being long-lasting and weather resistant. Your garden, business, or home will stand out year-round with the help of beautiful, handcrafted pottery.
At Ten Thousand Pots, we have a large selection of handmade pottery imported directly from Vietnam. All of our pottery is handmade and glazed to perfection. The clay used in the process creates a strong and durable weather-resistant planter. Shop our online store for some of the best frost resistant planters on the market. Give us a call at (512) 584-8889 if you have any questions concerning our products.