How to Deal with Your Container Plantings in November

How to Deal with Your Container Plantings in November


We have finally had a hard killing frost in CT. Still hanging in there in my container plantings are fragrant Nicotiana and Digiplexis, both of which seem immune to the cold. Of course, my winter pansies are happy as can be. It’s time to redo the pots on my deck and by my front door for the holiday season that is right around the corner. Naturally I will plant the pansies into my garden for next spring.


The ceramic pots above have been emptied. Large plastic grower’s pots filled with soil have been inserted. An evergreen was planted in one, cut greens and branches were studded into the other.

I divide containers into two types. The first category includes ceramic and concrete pots. These must be emptied of soil or they will freeze and crack. Use the soil to hill up your roses (if you haven’t already done so) or add it to your raised beds. If you want to keep these containers on display, make sure the drainage hole is open and clear of any obstructions. You can then place a plastic pot inside the container and plant it with mixed evergreens or stud it with cut greens, cones, and berries.


The second type of container is made of wood, metal, fiberglass, wicker, or plastic. These can tolerate the alternate freezing and thawing of the soil without damage. On my deck I have a lot of clay-like plastic pots. I simply leave the soil in the pots and then stud the pots with boughs and berries or plant them with hardy winter evergreens.

A word of advice from someone who has procrastinated too long: Do this BEFORE it gets too cold and the soil freezes!