Here Are A Few Tricks That Will Help You Keep Ceramic Pots from Cracking in the Winter.
Colder weather means staying indoors and bundling up. Unfortunately, it also means worrying about your outdoor plants and whether or not your pots and planters can withstand the cold. However, finding that your favorite ceramics cracked during last night's cold snap doesn't have to spoil your winter.
Pots and planters crack in the cold because of the water in the soil. Water expands when it freezes, which is why water bottles explode when left in the freezer. ScienceFacts.net has detailed illustrations of how and why this anomaly occurs.
During the winter, you can think of your pots as water bottles in a freezer. The soil in your pottery traps excess water before a freeze. As a result, the freezing water expands outwards, applying force. Without frost-proofing, that force is much more likely to crack your garden pots. Fortunately, weatherproofed ceramics and simple tricks make it safe to set your pots 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 the right accessories, and choosing the right pot. Remember, even if your pots are resistant to the cold and ice, your plants may not be. Here are a few simple tricks for frost-proofing your ceramic pots:
Control the moisture 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 rinse your lava rocks properly before use. They often contain dye that can run onto your patio or floor, causing a mess or, worse, a stain. Once you have cleaned the lava rocks thoroughly, place them at 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 allow the water to drain more consistently. Pot feet also help reduce potential overwatering. If your planter or pot is on a saucer, place wedges between the pot's base and the saucer.
Prepare for water to expand with a plastic jug - In theory, you want to ensure 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 pushes against the water jug, not your pots. The softer plastic or paper of the jug will give long before the ceramic, safeguarding your pottery from cracking during a deep freeze.
Move your pots closer to your home - 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 the walls of your home or business. This trick is only an extra measure and not the most effective method of frost-proofing. You should still follow the above steps to adequately protect your pots from frost and freezing temperatures.
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 or tapered pot with a wide mouth will allow the water and soil to expand upwards during a freeze. Pottery with small openings can freeze from the top down, creating a seal that forces building pressure down and out, putting strain on the walls of your pot. Pots with a wide opening are less prone to developing an icy seal.
Depending on the planter's location, style, and size, some planters may not need frost-proofing to withstand the winter or an errant freeze. Material and manufacturing processes also come into play when finding frost-proof pottery. Handmade, ceramic, glazed planters are generally the strongest, next to fiberglass and plastic planters. If you do plan on putting your plants in ceramic planters, make sure they are glazed. An average terra cotta pot will provide little insulation. In addition, a thick glaze gives pots an extra layer of protection. It makes them more durable than their unglazed counterpart. A handmade glazed ceramic pot is an excellent choice for all-weather pottery for your garden or home.
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 three of our favorite freeze-resistant planters:
- Lucca Ceramic Urn Planter – Add a French feel to your garden or home with this ornate planter. It features a flor-de-Lis design and invokes feelings of royalty. The thick walls and heavy glaze help insulate the roots of your plants and make a hearty pot for cold winters.
- Medium Wedge Planter – This premium glazed pottery piece is perfect for almost any plant. It features a square and wedge design that adds beauty to any space, indoor or outdoor. The large opening at the top and tapered square structure are precisely what you are looking for when shopping for a frost-resistant pot.
- Cone Bowl – This low cone bowl has a simple and elegant design. Don't let its simplicity fool you. Perfect for your flower decorations and succulents, this durable pot can last decades. Its wide opening means the soil can expand upward as it freezes, reducing the pressure in the pot. This works because the opening on the top of the pot is 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 discussed frost-proof glazed garden pots, but what about the plants? Ultimately, some plants are better than others at surviving a freeze. Suppose you want your greenery to survive a drop below 30 degrees F. In that case, you'll want to plant hardy perennials or frost-resistant plants. Additionally, bring plants inside if they are susceptible to freezing.
An outdoor-only plant will undoubtedly need help retaining moisture. Plants recede into a dormant state in the winter, producing less energy and soaking up less water. You want to ensure our plants aren't overly dry in the winter. Therefore, to trap moisture, you can wrap or cover your plants when the weather gets too cold.
Wrapping plants in burlap, while a simple fix, isn't enough to get the job done. The fabric is much too thin, but the sun won't be able to reach your plants through it. To frost-proof plants, you'll want to use bubble wrap or plastic wrap. Sunlight can still reach the plant, and the impermeable plastic traps moisture. Be careful: bubble wrap and plastic wrap can create a greenhouse effect if not adequately ventilated, and the plastic should never directly touch the plant. To avoid this, protect the surface of your plants with some newspaper or other material and ensure excess heat can escape the wrapping with vents.
There is no surefire way to save your outdoor plants from a harsh frost, but these tricks will help them retain water and not dry out in the harsh winter winds.
Where Can You Buy Frost Resistant Pottery?
High-quality, frost-resistant pottery that helps protect your plants is easier to find than you think. Vietnamese pottery is a fantastic choice when looking for outdoor planters this winter. It is revered in the ceramics community for being long-lasting and weather resistant in almost any climate. Your garden, business, or home will stand out year-round with the help of beautiful, handcrafted Vietnamese 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. Call us at (512) 584-8889 if you have any questions about our products.