Do you cover your containers over the winter?

alisande(Zone 4b)October 15, 2010

Some of my containers are plastic storage bins that came with covers. Do you suggest I put the covers on once the plants are finished, or leave the containers exposed to rain and snow? We have real winters here. :-)

Thanks!

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

If you plan to reuse the soil, keeping it dry will slow decomposition - not that the organisms in the soil will be very active in the winter, but it does help slow break-down and inhibit the work of anaerobic organisms that occupy saturated portions of the soil as well.

Al

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 2:40PM
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phebe_greenhouse

I leave them open, but last year I tipped them over so that there wouldn't be so much leaching. One big pot didn't drain (ice?? I don't know why) and it got real soggy and the soil structure destroyed. I thought there would be a problem about splitting and breaking with winter freezing, but I only had problems with that one.

You ask a good question, and it reminds me to tip over at least my more valuable big ceramic pots. The ones of composite probably don't need it.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 2:46PM
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glad2garden(5, Chicopee, Mass)

I have 3 nice ceramic pots that have hostas in them. Should I take out the hostas and put them in the ground and bring the pots inside? I don't want to lose the pots to cracking.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 3:05PM
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jamiedolan(4/5)

For the sake of the pots, bring the pots in.

Yes, put the hosta in the ground, water them until the ground is frozen. Put a generous amount of mulch on / around the Hosta.

Jamie

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 3:31PM
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jodik_gw

Or... since the Hostas will be dormant, you could leave them in the pots and just store the pots inside an unheated garage or storage shed. That's how I maintain my potted trees and perennials over winter. They don't need light... they're dormant.

I check them for moisture every once in a while, and if it snows outside, I throw a shovel of snow on top of the pots in the garage so that they have some moisture.

In spring, I take the pots back outside as the plants are breaking dormancy.

You certainly can plant the Hostas in the garden if you want to... and store the empty pots inside. I'd be careful of watering, though... you don't want the garden too wet as the ground freezes.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 4:06PM
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glad2garden(5, Chicopee, Mass)

Thank you for the help! What about a heuchera in a plastic pot? I don't care about the pot, but I love the heuchera. Would it survive you think?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 8:53AM
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jodik_gw

If you stored it in an unheated garage, yes. I've had young Heuchera plants, and other perennials, in 4" plastic pots survive the winter stored inside our garage. I use plastic baby pools to group all my stored plants... it makes adding moisture easier, and it keeps them off the concrete floor. I keep the garage closed all winter, opening the door as little as possible.

In early spring, as the weather gets nicer, I open the garage door for periods of time during the day. I close it again before nightfall. The plants slowly come out of dormancy, and once frost isn't an issue any longer, I move the plants back outdoors.

Or... you could plant the Heuchera in the garden before winter and protect it with a layer of mulch.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 12:02PM
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