How to Overwinter Perennials in Containers

Dan Nursery Crops, This Land of Ours


Cathy Isom has some important tips for you about how to overwinter perennials growing in containers. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

How to Overwinter Perennials in Containers

You can overwinter your perennial plants in containers or transplant them in your garden beds for the winter. Some methods to get your beloved perennials through the winter undamaged, include:

Picking the right container. You want something that won’t break from the freezing and thawing cycle. Stay away from clay, glazed, or porcelain. Instead, choose containers that are meant for the outdoors, such as plastic, composite, metal, and wood pots.

Next store your perennials indoors. In an unheated garage, shed, or basement that has temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees. Since the plants are in dormancy, they don’t need light for photosynthesis, but you do need to check to make sure the soil doesn’t become too dry. At the same time, avoid over-watering because it can cause plants to rot or break dormancy.


If inside space is an issue, dig a large hole big enough to hold the entire container. Place the perennials in the hole until they’re the same level as the rest of the ground. Or, instead of buying the entire pot, you can remove the plant from its container and replant perennials into garden beds.

If you overwinter plants inside, use pruning shears to cut back to four to six inches above the crown.  Don’t fertilize dormant plants. Monitor moisture level and water if it feels dry. Keep the container where it can drain freely. And, the more soil in the pot, the better insulated the roots will be from the weather.

Not all perennials grow well in containers, and not all handle overwintering in containers. Make sure to plant the right plants that will.

I’m Cathy Isom…