How to Overwinter Potted Plants


As winter creeps up, you may find yourself looking wistfully at the remains of what was once a brilliant garden, dreading the springtime work that will be involved in starting all over again. Keep your perennials alive and well throughout the winter by providing them with protection from the dangerous cold. Potted plants often will freeze and die if left alone over the winter, but a little care can keep them coming back year after year.

Step 1

Dig a small trench in the yard or garden, just big enough to accommodate the potted plants.

Step 2

Replant into heavy plastic containers those plants that are in terra cotta or ceramic containers.

Step 3

Clean out the terra cotta and ceramic pots and store them in a warm place for the winter, as some will crack in the cold temperatures even when they are not filled.

Step 4

Cluster the potted plants and place them in the trench. Keep them in their pots to make removal much quicker and easier come spring.

Step 5

Cover the potted plants with soil or mulch to keep them insulated and protected from the winter weather. Cluster them against the house if there is no room to dig a trench. Pile mulch, compost or shredded leaves at least 1 foot deep around the pots.

Step 6

Water the plants before more inclement weather sets in so that the soil is moist. Water the plants about once a week until the soil is thoroughly moist, when there is no snow cover and the outdoor temperature is greater than 40 degrees F.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Plastic flower pots
  • Soil or mulch


  • Gardens Alive: Protecting Potted Plants from Perishing Over Winter
  • The Casual Gardener: How to Over-Winter Potted Plants
  • Colorado State University: Fall and Winter Watering
Keywords: overwintering plants, winter plant care, potted plants

About this Author

Mandi Rogier is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about a wide range of topics. She works regularly on web content, writing for Demand Studios as well as Associated Content. She previously worked at Walt Disney World and enjoys writing travel content that makes use of her extensive knowledge of Orlando theme parks.