A few simple steps in preparing for winter can save your containers, pots, miniature gardens or fairy gardens, during an unexpected freeze.
A few simple steps in preparing for winter can save your containers, pots, miniature gardens or fairy gardens, during an unexpected freeze.

Winterizing Your Miniature Gardens and Containers

With this wacky weather we’ve been having, there is no telling what kind of weather we’ll get this winter here in Seattle. It’s either a La Nina or El Nino – I can never keep track. The Pacific Northwest winter means cold, wet and snow for a couple of days or a week. A cakewalk compared to some areas.

So here are some winterizing tips for the miniature garden but it’s good advice for any kind of garden container if you’ve chosen the “right plant for the right place” that is, and are over-wintering them.

How Containers are Different

When a plant is in a container, the roots only have the walls of the pot to protect them. When a plant is planted in-ground, it has Mother Earth to help insulate and protect its roots.

It’s this difference that we forget about, and often lose our marginally hardy plants to the winter weather when they live in a container. But if you’ve chosen plants that are hardy to your Zone 5 or -20F, for example, there should be no worries about the plants making it through the winter.

For Overwintering In-Ground Miniature Gardens, see this blog here.

Overwintering Tips, in No Particular Order

  • Keep an eye on the weather reports and stockpile what you need ahead of time so you can react quickly, without hassle.
  • Plant in the biggest pot you can. Big pots don’t freeze as fast and the extra soil insulates the roots. This may be late news, but keep it in mind for future reference.
  • To help insulate the pot, plant the whole pot right in the ground for the winter, with the foliage above the earth of course, and let Mother Earth help.

Wrap It, Move It or Cover It But Do Water It!

  • Wrap the whole pot in bubble wrap with a thick layer of fallen leaves between the plastic and the pot. The leaves will insulate it and the plastic will keep the leaves intact for the season. Cover this with wrapping of burlap to hide it and that can work as a another layer of insulation as well. Have fun decorating this big ball o’burlap with eyeballs and arms for Halloween, leaf garland for Thanksgiving, and twinkly lights for the winter holidays. Use the leaves as compost in your veggie bed when you take it apart in the springtime.
  • Move the pot beside the house or under a covered porch. This can be a temporary fix to get through a cold spell OR if you want to keep it here for the winter season, make sure the light requirements are close to what the plant needs. (Full sun plants will get leggy in the shade, shade plants will burn when that sun decides to come out.) Make sure it gets enough water throughout the winter too. There is a dry-zone next to the house so it’ll need regular watering.
  • Cover the whole container garden with evergreen boughs – it’s nature’s insulation. Wait until the weather is cold enough though, you don’t want it to rot, only to protect. And be sure to take them off promptly after the dip in temp or, if you’re covering it for the entire winter, in the spring for the same reason: to avoid any rotting.

For Overwintering In-Ground Miniature Gardens, see this blog here.

Snowy Miniature Garden
Click the Pic to see what’s in Stock! Our inventory changes all the time as all plants are not available all the time.

Terra Cotta is for Summer

  • Choose the high-fired pots instead of the terra cotta pots. The pots from Vietnam or China are high fired, fairly freeze proof, and don’t absorb the moisture as much as the terra cotta ones do. It’s the moisture in the walls of the pot that freezes, expands and breaks the pot. Leave your terra cotta for your annuals, empty them out now, and put them away in a dry for the winter, preferable indoors (the terra cotta clay absorb humidity and may crack if it freezes.)
  • Keep watering that pot! Even if it is freezing outside the contained environment will need moisture and the frigid temps will dry it out just like your freezer does. This also applies for your in-ground evergreens too, check them during the dry spells to make sure the soil stays at least damp. You want the roots to stay frozen, not freeze-dried.

A lot of this information came from my twin brother, Joel Cross, he works at a professional landscaping company just outside of Toronto, Ontario, Canada – the land where your nose hairs freeze! (Which is why I’m in Seattle. ;o)

But, if all else fails and you do loose some plants, there is an upside: you get to try a new plant next spring!

Got insight or info to contribute? Leave a comment below or email us through our website here.

Here’s a post about winterizing your in-ground miniature gardens, click here.

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