Frost Protection and Planting Advice

Our range of terracotta pots are frost resistant to -20° C with proper care.

The porosity of terracotta is what makes it such a good medium for container planting. Excess water is allowed to pass back through the pot away from the root system, preventing water logging. Air can also pass into the pot to cool the roots in Summer. However incorrect or poor planting of the pot could compromise this balance, causing frost damage to the pot in Winter, the plant within may also suffer. When outside all year a planted terracotta pot should be free draining, with airflow all around.

Prior to planting please consider:

Position – In part this will be dictated by the needs of the plant i.e.: sunny or shady position. But it is much easier to “agree position” when the pot is empty.

Compost – Use only good quality soil or compost  and ensure it meets the needs of your plant  e.g ericaceous for Azaleas.

Drainage – This is the key to avoiding damage to both the pot and plant, either through water logging the plant root system in Summer or frost damage to both in Winter.  Below are instructions for correct planting up to prevent this.

Position the pot and then raise it off the ground with pot feet. This helps keep the drain hole clear and allows airflow beneath the pot.

We advise the use of pot feet all year round. If the pot base is flat to the ground the drain hole can block which prevents free draining. This will water log the plant root system causing damage to the plant, and with Winter frost the water logged earth will freeze and expand which could crack the pot regardless of its quality and frost resistance.

Place crocks of broken pottery, in the base of the pot around the drain hole and add some pea gravel or similar cheap aggregate. This again is a drainage aid. The pot we are planting is a Conca Classica 70cm x 57cm high and we added crocks and gravel to a level of about 10cm (4 inches).

Now place permeable weed membrane on top of the crocks and up the sides of the pot to the rim.
This will stop earth being washed down to the drain hole during watering, which can block it. It also gives a little added protection to the plant roots in cold weather.

Place some compost in the pot and position your plant so the root ball is below the rim of the pot. Fill in around the plant roots firming all the time until the compost is level with the top of the root ball.

Cut the permeable weed membrane off level with the top of the compost and then add a layer of either mulch or decorative chipping’s. As well as being a decorative finish this slows down water evaporation in very hot weather.

You should end up with a gap between the topping and the pot top of about 5cm (2 inches) This prevents water spilling over the rim during watering.

Ongoing Care and Maintenance

Check the drain periodically and clear any blockages. This is much easier to do if you have placed the pot on feet or risers.

After snowfall always clear the snow out of the pot, off the pot and from around the base.

During extended periods of very cold and wet weather you can take the added precaution of wrapping the pot with Winter fleece or hessian.  This will also give extra protection to the plant roots.

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