How to Cold Prep for Outdoor Containers

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Cold prep for outdoor containers may involve relocating them indoors, covering them or employing crumpled newspaper for insulation. Protect your outdoor plants with the help of this free video on winter garden care.

Part of the Video Series: Winter Garden Care
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Marci Degman, the aspiring gardener. And today, we're going to talk about cold prep for outdoor containers. Now, the first thing you have to think about is placement. You have to be aware of wind, for one thing. Wind is going to bring the zone down on any of your plants. They're exposed when they're in containers, so they're out above the ground. So, the first thing you want to do is think about whether you can find a better place to put that container during the winter. If you have overhangs on your house, if you have a porch, if you have any kind of cover, that would be the first thing to do is bring it in out of the weather. And then, you're only dealing with the air temperature, not ice, and not so much the wind. You can always kind of prepare a little outdoor protective area if you have to, with stakes and plastic, bamboo works really well for that. You can kind of build a bit of a tent if you have to. But, if you have a sheltered spot, start by bringing all your containers to that spot, and we're talking about the ones that remain outdoors, that have hardy plants in them, not ones that should be brought inside. So, if you have a plant that's pretty hardy, but you're worried about it because containers can expose the roots to more cold, that's the ones you want to talk about. Now, just for an example, I have some small containers. Generally, our outdoor containers are going to be larger, so this is just for the sake of demonstration. But, one thing that you can do, providing you're out of the rain, and you're not dealing with ice and direct weather, is that you can create a bit of an insulation for your pot. So, if I have a smaller pot, and I have a plant in it, what I can do is find a pot that it'll fit down inside like this one, and I can insulate between the two pots. That will give me this protection, plus what's inside. Now, I like to use newspaper, because I can mold it however I want to. And, if you kind of crumple it up, it'll hold a lot of air space. It's kind of like insulating your house. You have walls, and you have the outside of the house, and you insulate in between. That's kind of what we're doing. So, you want to go all the way around the pot, and you could use whatever's available to you. This happens to be my favorite, because I have it. If you try to use things that won't stay, it just gets kind of awkward. So, I've kind of made a little well, and now I slip that pot down inside of it. Now, you can go ahead if you want, and fill up around the top, because what you have to have is, even in the middle of winter, plants need to have air, and they need water. So, you can't completely cover it, but you can help it from the side. That kind of brings your plant back to another zone, maybe one zone up. Because, anything that you have in a container is going to be one zone more vulnerable than it would be in the ground. So, that's what you should always remember. I've had years where I've lost plants that were hardy, just because they were up off of the ground. So, after that, you just want to treat it like you would any other plant. Bring it, you know, up on your porch like I said, or anywhere out of the weather. Keep it watered, take care of it. That'll just give it that little bit more protection. And, that's how you protect a container plant in winter.

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