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What do you do with your containers until spring?

There are a total of 377 votes:

All my pots are emptied and stored for the winter
(135 votes, 35%)
Red dot

I remove the plants and and do something unusual (what?)
(8 votes, 2%)
Red dot

I replace the summer annuals with cold-hardy plants or bulbs (which ones?)
(31 votes, 8%)
Red dot

I can leave the same plants in year-round (where are you located?)
(117 votes, 31%)
Red dot

It's spring here, so my containers are full of warm-season plants
(3 votes, 0%)
Red dot

(83 votes, 22%)
Red dot

Previous Polls

Denville, NJ(Zone 6b)

wow first again..... I store some empty and some live in the containers all year round

Rutland , MA(Zone 5b)

i remove the plants and then i place a large thick tarp on my deck, put the containers in the middle of it and then fold it up and over them. i tie the tarp to the deck and leave it there for the winter. i usedto bring the containers down into the garage but it became a real chore to do it so i decided this was better. here's a picture of the finished product

Thumbnail by HERBIE43
Londerzeel, Belgium

Some are filled with Sarracenia purpurea and others contain winter violas, both should survive snow and frost...

Morganton, NC

This one was a bit hard cause i couldve said all the above. Some pots have pansies and mums, some i store, and alot of my pots have house plants which i bring indoors.

Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

I generally pull out the plants and about half of the soil (depending on the pot). Stack them in a dry area outdoors with the saucers as lids until spring. Smaller ones get scrubbed and bleached if the weather isn't too cold. I have a small shed they get stacked in for the winter unless I think I want them in really early spring in which case they are left in the porch because the shed is north of the house and I can't get in it when there is snow around it.

Central, LA(Zone 8b)

I live in Louisiana and we just leave most things in the pots. Tender plants I put under the carport. We have about 5 days of winter here.

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

generally, I spend ALL year wrestling my pots out of the jaws of Border Collies. The ones that I rescue spend the winter in the lean-to attached to the studio. The others are often found in strange and wonderful places when the snow thaws.

Saturday, I bought some new pots for the new Gerbera daisies that I bought for the house. No Border Collies will come near these pots, as they are strictly outdoor and in the barn dogs. Safe!

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Most are perennial plants or hardy annuals so I don't remove the plants; just trim them and move them in the shop. Some will live and thrive inside, others go dormant. But a lot of seed are dropped during the fall and will come up when spring weather hits. When we bring them out in the sun and nothing comes up in a week or so, then we will replant in those containers.
The main problem I have with them is remembering to water the ones that need it all winter!!

(Zone 1)

I can leave plants potted and outside year round. Guess I've been in Florida too long ... hadn't even thought that some folks have to store their pottery over winter! Gee ... that must be a chore! I can't imagine digging up bulbs or tubers or unpotting plants to store pottery. I guess I would be called a lazy gardener because if I lived up north and had all the chores of hauling stuff inside in winter and back out in spring, I wouldn't like it much!

But, then again ... down here we have to mow our lawns 9 months out of the year. ^_^

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Yeah, but we don't shovel snow like up north either!!

(Zone 1)

So true ... and I think I'd rather have to mow nine months of the year than shovel snow, any time!

Amelia Island, FL(Zone 9a)

I leave my plants outside all year. I'm as far North as one can be without living in Georgia. I cover the tender plants when we get a frost.

Paris, IL(Zone 6a)

I only have two small containers with Black Mondo grass in them. I'll be bringing them in and putting them upstairs in a spare room soon to be brought back out come spring.


I dump all of my tender plants and save the soil. The soil was organic mixed natural native soil, potting soil, coir, sand, and vermiculite. This is all dumpped onto a compost pile and mixed in to get refurbished over the winter. To this I add some fresh manure and the end of the seasons bottom of the barrel final aerobic tea brew. I dump some fresh fallen leaves over the pile and just let it rebuild itself over the winter. Come spring this plus some purchased organic potting soil will be my makings of the new potting soil for the new year. In my case this amounts to about three wheel barrow loads of reused refurbished potting soil. Everything including the new worms gets reused. The tops of the plants go on normal unfinished compost piles.

Tucson, AZ(Zone 11)

I have only containers, with Succulent and Cactus in them. They stay out all year long, as I'm in Tucson, AZ the SW desert. We do get about 5-12 days of frost, not all at once, then out come the newspaper, sheets, then blankets or comforters. Don't water if you know it's going to freeze, a certain way to kill succulents is watering at that time. I layer on the above, using objects taller than my tallest plant, so they don't take the weight of my protectors. I should look into something more appropriate but you use what you've got, right? I could use some tips, though; so bring them on, please and thanks

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

I've to haul all my tender perennials in door, with a makeshift gh. It's a chore! But is worth the effort. This way I get to enjoy my 'garden' all year round.

(Zone 1)

We occasionally get frost and even a hard freeze once in awhile here in this part of Florida. We cover our tropicals and tender plants with old blankets and sheets on cold nights and the plants are usually fine. When we do get frost or real cold temp's they only last for a few hours. Once the sun rises it warms up again. And, luckily we only have a few nights like that during the winter, usually in January/February. I know Home Depot and Lowes sell some sort of frost cloth during the winter but I've never tried it. It looks to be some sort of thin fabric type stuff that doesn't look like it would hold up very long to me, so we just use the old sheets/blankets which can be thrown in the wash and used over and over again for a long time.

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

Same plants year-round - zone 10!!!

PICKETT, WI(Zone 5a)

I clean, disinfect, and store some. The others I clean up and bring the plants in for the winter.

Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

I have a lot of tropicals in big pots, so many of them get migrated to the garage for the winter. Others that are tougher (Satsuma Mandarin orange tree, for example) go up on the patio where it's a little more protected. Really delicate ones are dragged inside to the sunroom, kicking and screaming all the way. (Cuban oregano seems to especially hate being brought in - I've never been able to overwinter them successfully indoors...but I keep trying.)

It's gotten a little ridiculous for me this year, as I've had to actually make a list of the containers that require some sort of action before the first freeze comes - that's how many I have. Not to mention the things I need to dig up and put into containers before storing for the winter.

*sigh* Plant addiction is a wonderfully awful affliction.

This message was edited Oct 20, 2008 12:08 PM

Baton Rouge, LA

We do get hard freezes, but it's so infrequent that we just protect the potted plants on those nights. Unfortunately, we do sometimes get unexpected cool weather without warning, such as the 49 degrees we had last night when we were wearing shorts during the day. Usually, though, it's pretty safe to rely on the weatherman to know when to kick into protection mode. We don't have basements here (because they would quickly become swimming pools in Louisiana!), so storage space is quite a premium. There's just not enough room at the inn for the potted plants too.


No. San Diego Co., CA(Zone 10b)

The plumeria go in our small greenhouse, since we do get occasional temps in the low 30s during winter months. Everything else stays out.

SW, WI(Zone 4b)

Other...a little of all of the above!

Many are lugged down to the basement to overwinter....some are already dead and just left until there's time to deal with them...some are emptied, turned upside down and kept in a (hopefully - I try!) neat stack and line, and some smaller annuals or simply 'dead' plants' pots are emptied and the pots thrown in the recylables, the soil added somewhere to the yard or garden areas.

Honomu, HI(Zone 11)

I live in Hawaii and can leave whatever plants I have in pots year around.

Thorne Bay, AK(Zone 6b)

Some of my pots are ready for spring,some have perennials in,some are waiting to get emptied.I'm kinda like Nan up above there.

This message was edited Oct 20, 2008 9:42 AM

Santa Fe, NM

I put other but "all of the above" applies, too. Some plants, I drag indoors. Some I dump in the compost pile. One horse trough container with perennial valerian stays out. Some go in the garage and get dragged out in the sun on warm days, like rosemary. This time of year I always wish I had fewer potted plants. Last summer I potted up some lambs ear, ribbon grass, tansy, and other perennials from the yard just to fill in around my "pond". Those I can plant or dump, whenever. I am currently in the process of cleaning pots and putting them in the shed. I'm afraid I am not scrubbing them with bleach but more like spraying them off with the hose and letting them dry! Drained the "pond" and cleaned gravel yesterday.

PICKETT, WI(Zone 5a)

Hey TexasTam: Plant addiction....Let's just say I live in a greenhouse. Nine hibiscus (one we call "Big Red" at 6' tall x 4' wide including the pot, with 2 almost as much), several jasmines, a gardenia, an orchid, fircracker plants, 40 geraniums, cannas (yes Cannas), 2 Mandevilla vines, 4 'Tiny Mice' cupheas, basil, cilantro, begonias, iris that I started late, 3 chrysanthemums, a 4 year old impatiens, a Kaffer lime tree, 2 olive trees....... Some Japanese Maples will go into the garage until we have below 0 temps. I have one inside already because it doesn't like it outside. Large floor to ceiling windows keep the electric company from getting too rich.

New Hampshire, NH(Zone 5b)

Where's the option for: "I haven't done any fall clean up yet - I hope it doesn't snow early this year" LOL

(Lynn) Omaha, NE(Zone 5a)

Black Mondo grass is hardy for me and I'm in 5a.

Choteau, MT

I bring in a few (geraniums, impatiens, begonias) to brighten my office through the winter. By February I always wonder why I am nursing these poor straggly plants along when I could just buy new ones next year...

The bigger pots get emptied and put away in the years when I am organized (i.e. when I am not overwhelmed with canning tomatoes, bagging potatoes, etc.). More often, they get forgotten until they are frozen too hard for me to deal with. Then they sit in place, dead plants dangling from them, looking sad and ugly until it warms up enough in the spring for me to start all over again.

This message was edited Oct 20, 2008 12:17 PM

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

Well aren't you all/ y'all the neat and tidy bunch. My containers are in various stages of disarray. Some have been dug up to pot up and move plants/tubers inside and they are now spewing soil kinda looking like lumpy volcanos. Others are looking dead as doornails but are actually reseeding. Some are looking dead as doornails and will remain that way as reminders that they were kissed by Jack before flowering (why do try these southern plants anyhoo???). I've left most pots in erroneous places so I'll be sure to trip over them at some point. "Emptying and stacking" is an interesting concept. Is there a thread on that where I can study up??

Boxford, MA(Zone 6a)

"Other". I bring in the containers that have houseplants in them. I dig any corms/tubers I may have had in them and bring them inside (to die over the winter!). I leave my huge containers where they are, soil and all. Sometimes I'll get a cracked container; it's one of my Spring chores to empty and repair pots- then replant 'em. I just don't have the room to empty and store every container!!! (I have dozens and dozens, big and small!) Also, I can't afford to replace all of the potting soil every year!!!

Houma, LA

I am in Houma, LA. I keep all my container plants in their containers.


Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

and we'll assume they are alive and beautiful Dorothy since alot of mine are in containers but goners ^_^ I'm greeeeen over the south during the time of the cold and the dark sigh.

Gilmer, TX(Zone 8b)

I'm currently rearranging pots and plants but only for my satisfaction. They can stay out year round here in East Texas since I rarely buy anything that won't take our just occasionally freezing winter temps.

Alexandria, IN(Zone 6a)

I have perenials in the containers and bring them inside. Some are still outside yet and some have just come inside.

Cordele, GA(Zone 8a)

I said other and ditto what dmdula says. Some of all the answers with the exception of the "spring time answer".

Taft, TX(Zone 9a)

Oh my gosh...........I have 3 giant containers from Walmart with all the 6" and bigger in them. They will never get cleaned until I need them I am sure!

Buffalo, NY(Zone 6a)

If it's not planted in the ground, it comes back into the greenhouse as they are all tropical. If they are empty, they get stored in the potting shed corner of the garage.

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