Finding the best winter planters for cold weather requires specific considerations. However, depending on the plant, you might need to find a planter that works well in both hot and cold weather.
Luckily, this isn’t too difficult. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about winter outdoor planters. By the end, you should be able to make an informed decision about what’ll work best for you.
Winter planters could have a couple of different meanings. The first is planters that match seasonal décor or plants, particularly ones that embrace fall or Christmas colors.
The second is planters that offer protection from the winter elements. This could involve specific materials, better insulation, or anything else that caters to the season. We’ll cover both types of winter outdoor planters in this article.
As with any product, there are a few things you should consider before making your purchase. The following are the most important points:
How could we discuss winter planters without mentioning the weather? Conditions will vary depending on where you live, but it’s fair to assume the winter will be colder than the summer.
This’ll only be a problem if temperatures drop below freezing. Most plants will go dormant in the winter, although not all can tolerate frozen ground. Also, you’ll have to make sure your planters have proper drainage if you’re expecting more rain in the colder months.
Some planter materials provide more natural insulation than others. For example, stone and terracotta are porous, whereas wood and plastic will help keep the roots at a more stable temperature. If temperatures drop really low, consider getting some pot covers.
You’ve also got to think about what you’re actually putting in the planters. As mentioned, some plants are happy to have frozen roots, but this could kill plenty of plants.
It should be fairly obvious what climate your plants will tolerate based on their USDA Hardiness Zones. Plants meant for warmer climates should probably be brought inside if your weather turns cold, as no winter planter will protect them enough.
Finally, consider whether your winter planters will be used year-round. This might be the case for things like decorative trees or bushes but less so for seasonal plants like snowdrops.
It won’t make a massive difference, but could influence planter material and color. For example, a dark planter will be better in winter because it’ll absorb heat, whereas this is the last thing you want in summer.
Selecting the best winter planters for your outdoor space depends on the factors mentioned above. However, planter material is a big factor, so here are some points to consider when choosing the correct type.
Terracotta is one of the most classic materials for planters. It’s naturally porous, making it a great choice for plants that don’t like to stay too wet. But this can also work in the winter, as you’ll basically not need to water your plants!
But, by extension, it does mean plants will get pretty cold. Terracotta pots (like these) are fine to use outside, providing temperatures don’t get too cold. If they do, you’ll want to bring the plants indoors.
- Classic planter look
- Naturally porous – ideal for most plants
- Fine as winter planters
- Provides no natural insulation
Wood winter outdoor planters (such as these) are fairly decent insulators. As such, they’re usually fine to leave outdoors year-round with the right type of plant in them. They work well with decorative trees or bushes, such as dogwood.
The main downside with wood planters is that you’ll need to treat them so they remain weatherproof. A terracotta or stone pot can last indefinitely, whereas a wood planter will always have a limited lifespan. Either paint it with outdoor paint or use teak oil to keep it looking fresh.
- One of the better thermal insulators
- Suitable for year-round use
- More decorative than other options
- You’ll need to treat the wood to keep it weatherproof
Plastic winter planters could have a whole buyer’s guide to themselves. Most plastic pots are made from polyethylene or resin, but you might find other materials out there. There’s very little difference in thermal insulation – the main differences come down to UV resistance and durability.
You’ll find terracotta-style pots (like these), resin and stone combos (like these), or just plain old plastic (like these). Plastic planters are usually the cheapest ones on the market, so are ideal if you’re buying a lot.
They’re generally fine for winter use, although you might need to add your own insulation. No plastic pots are porous, but thinner ones won’t do loads in terms of keeping the roots warm.
- Least expensive pots
- Almost unlimited sizes and styles
- Ideal for year-round use
- Thinner pots won’t add much insulation
DIY winter planters are less about making your own planter, and more about how you can upcycle a normal planter to suit the season. Here are some suggestions for making a standard planter – terracotta or plastic – more winter-friendly.
- Paint it winter colors (i.e., red, gold, or green). Any spray paint will be fine, although you might want to coat terracotta in a layer of thinned craft glue first.
- Wrap the pot in burlap fabric. It creates a boho vibe and helps insulate the roots.
- Line the inside of the pot with coco coir fabric before you plant anything. It’ll offer insulation in the winter and summer.
- Do away with the live plants altogether. Decorate winter outdoor planters with twigs, pinecones, holly, and other seasonal bits you can forage. It saves you from having to worry about whether your plants are too cold!
When picking out winter planters, your main deciding factor is whether they’re seasonal or for year-round use. If it’s the latter, you’ll need to be more careful with your decision.
Either way, the information above should help you pick out the best outdoor planters for your needs. Happy planting!