I recently received the following message:
I thought you may like to know my method of preventing frost damage to terracotta plant pots.
In the autumn when I plant my bulbs, I put some empty beer cans into the earth, buried so you cannot see them. If the pot is shaped, I try to match the widest part of the pot to the middle of the can vertically. They are buried with the hole at the bottom. When the frost comes and expands the water contained in the earth, instead of the force splitting the plant pot outwards, it is transferred to the beer cans which are crushed because they are weaker than the terracotta. In spring I remove the cans and plant my bedding plants.
I can tell how bad the freeze was by how crushed the cans are. I use 3 to 4 cans for a very large pot, reducing the amount accordingly with the pot size.
I lived in Chesterfield, England, for 27 years and thought of this in my second year. By doing this I never lost a terracotta plant pot to the frost.
First, thank you, Frances, for sharing this suggestion.
I’ve always brought my terracotta plant containers indoors for the winter to prevent breakage. I wonder if any readers have tried this or a similar method and whether it is successful in colder climates than that of the East Midlands of the United Kingdom.
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