Ask a Question forum: how to keep a ceramic pot from cracking

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PA (Zone 6a)
Nov 16, 2014 4:55 PM CST
I have a ceramic pot that is about 2 feet wide and a foot high. It has a drainage hole and it's glazed on the outside but not on the inside. It is planted with sedums. I really don't have the room in my unheated garage to store it, and I don't have a shed. Is there ANY way to keep it outside without having it crack over the winter???? I'm in zone 6, so there's usually lot of thawing and freezing going on. I'd love to preserve the pot AND the sedum! Thank you for your help!!
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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Nov 16, 2014 5:21 PM CST
I read this in a Q&A on the web from a person wanting to buy pots and wanted to know which to buy that may not crack in winter:

Failing spending lots of money, you could always place your plants inside large plastic pots & put them into your ceramic pots. If you allow room between the two & perhaps place foam peanuts in the space (cover the top of the peanuts with moss to hide them), the ceramic pots won't crack. It's when the clay is saturated with moisture & then freezes, the frozen water expands & since it has no where to expand into, cracks. I'd make sure any water given to the plants can drain freely out the bottom of both plastic & ceramic pots so it won't accumulate in the expensive ones.

My experience one winter after moving to zone 5b in WA was to line a ceramic pot with black garbage bag from top to bottom (with holes for drainage). This was to help prevent moisture from sitting on the sides of the pot and help prevent cracking. Also since it was winter, my watering was minimal (as the pot contained succulents) so soil was never soaked.

You could experiment pinkruffles.
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
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Nov 16, 2014 5:34 PM CST
I would tuck it in next to the foundation of the house, tip it on it's side so no water gets into it. When it warms in the spring pull it out, the sedum don't like much water anyway. It's the swell of the wet soil that cracks them and not great for sedum either.
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Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
Nov 16, 2014 5:37 PM CST
Some glazed ceramic pots are really resistant to cracking, but nothing is guaranteed and quality varies. Best bet is to keep the soil in the pot relatively dry. During the winter, the sedums shouldn't require much, if any, additional water. Soil can feel pretty dry and still contain some moisture and that may well be enough for the sedums. Even helpful to them surviving during winter dormancy. If the pot is exposed to precipitation, you might even consider covering it to prevent it catching moisture. Staying well on the dry side will alleviate a lot of the freeze thaw effects - good for the pot and the plants.
Name: Tom Cagle
SE-OH (Zone 6a)
Old, fat, and gardening in OH
Nov 16, 2014 5:44 PM CST
I had little luck with ceramic pots with soil in them in zone 5-A, in my unheated cold house. I ended up swaping out my bonsai into mica pots.
free for them in need:
Name: Annie
Waynesboro, PA (Zone 6a)
Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry
Nov 16, 2014 6:19 PM CST
I actually have an identical situation here and I'm in Zone 6b (PA). Those pots can be expensive. What I would do is tip out the sedum and put the plants somewhere for the winter outside, then turn the empty pot upside down, near a foundation wall or under some sort of cover (I usually roll mine into the unheated garage). I just wouldn't want to take a chance leaving it full of soil/plants outside. Once that freeze/thaw cycle starts (I hear you!) not only could the pot split but it could also start to flake apart. (I had both things happen to me.)
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Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Sempervivums Container Gardener Foliage Fan Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Nov 16, 2014 6:48 PM CST
Good Idea way to keep integrity of pot and still have sedum growing outside until next Spring.
Name: aud/odd
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
Nov 16, 2014 10:24 PM CST
I have several large ceramic pots that I cannot bring in because they are to heavy to drag in.

I get plastic drop cloths from the dollar store. Set the pot in the middle of the plastic, pull it up and tie it on the side of the pot. You want your knot to hand down on the side.. Then another one is drapped over the pots. I put a rock so the top plastic does not blow away. The draped plastic keeps the rain and snow from getting under the pot and I push them close to the house.

Dry is what is needed. They cannot get wet. I have Spring Bulbs in the pots and in the summer I plant my tropicals and annuals in the pots.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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Nov 18, 2014 9:37 AM CST
I saw this article online using bubble wrap :
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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Nov 18, 2014 12:12 PM CST
This thread is full of great ways to handle winter care of our containers.

Cinta, I love your idea of having bulbs in the containers, just waiting for spring.
Many of the above ideas would work for bulbs in the containers.

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