How to Take Care of Outdoor Potted Plants Over Winter


Outdoor potted plants bring enjoyment from spring through early fall. However, as cold temperatures draw nearer, homeowners often are confused about how to care for outdoor potted plants during the winter. Although maintenance tasks are greatly reduced during the winter, you cannot simply ignore the plants until the weather warms back up. When potted plants are given the proper winter care, they will regrow lush foliage and flowers the following spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Leaves
  • Lawn mower
  • Shovel
  • Remove all plants that are in clay, terra-cotta or stone pots and place them, along with the soil, into a plastic pot. Stone and clay pots crack in cold weather, so store them inside for the winter.

  • Walk around the yard and locate a clear area of ground on the north side of a house or building. If possible, find an area that receives direct winter sun.

  • Move the potted plants to the chosen area, setting them all in a cluster as close together as possible. The top rims of the plant pots should touch each other and the back row of pots should touch the wall.

  • Rake up the leaves from your yard or ask a neighbor if you can have their discarded leaves. Pour the leaves on the ground and chop them up by running a lawn mower over them three to four times.

  • Scoop up the chopped leaves with a shovel and pile them on top of the area where the potted plants are located. Continue adding leaves until you can no longer see the pots and there is 12 inches of leaves on top of the pots.

  • Water the area with a garden hose once a week if no rainfall or snow occurs.

Tips & Warnings

  • Store two to three extra bags of leaves so that you can added them on top of the potted plants if needed during the winter.
  • You can remove the leaves from the potted plants as soon as the last frost has passed.

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  • Photo Credit potted plant image by Ritu Jethani from
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