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Winter Container gardens



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Winter Container Choices

Anything living that is potted in above-ground containers in our zone 5A winter  has a 50% chance of survival, therefore is not guaranteed. 

Plants in containers suffer “frost heave” when temperatures rise and fall, causing soil to alternately freeze, then thaw, tearing tender plant roots.

After the soil in your container freezes, wrap the outside of the pots with insulation (pink roofing or water heater).  Cover the insulation with a burlap wrap to simulate a “balled and burlap” plant.  The insulation will help keep the soil frozen eliminating some of the freeze/thaw that causes plant death.  Put 3” of mulch on the top. Tie a seasonal bow around the pot and you’re all set!

Whenever  the weather warms and the soil begins to thaw, be sure to water the plants to keep them hydrated.

Recommended Plants

Plants that hold up well in containers that are properly prepared are:


Colorful Arborvitae – i.e. Sunkist or Rheingold

Emerald Green Arborvitae

Boxwood         Ornamental Grass

Juniper             Cotoneaster                    

Any Yews        Dwarf Alberta Spruce


Evergreen Arrangement     

A good alternative to plants in your winter containers is an arrangement of fresh greens and berries. 

Pack your containers with a heavy soil mix and wet the soil well.  When holiday greens are available in late November, select an assortment and design an “evergreen arrangement” in the containers by pushing the stems down into the soil.  These arrangements will often last until the first Spring thaw.