Avoid terracotta pots ‘cracking’ in cold weather using household item

Mark Lane details how to make plant pots out of household items

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Terracotta pots may look fine come spring but minor cracks caused by cold weather can cause pots to fall apart. It’s best not to keep terracotta pots outdoors in the winter months but for those who don’t have indoor space, Monty Don has shared his simple solution.

Monty, 67, is the lead host of Gardeners’ World and often shares gardening advice each month on his blog.

The gardening expert said November is the month to protect your best terracotta pots ready for the cooler weather ahead.

Monty explained that terracotta absorbs water which means when there’s a hard frost the pot can crack.

He wrote: “I am not suggesting that you have any bad terracotta pots – heaven forfend – but some are undoubtedly more weather-proof and expensive than others.

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“The problem to beware is that terracotta is porous so absorbs water.

“Thus if it is filled with wet soil hard frost will expand that moisture and crack the pot.

“Even if it is empty fine terracotta can crack or flake in hard frosts.

“The answer is either to bring them in under cover where they can be kept dry or to wrap them in hessian or bubblewrap to provide a degree of insulation.

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“This will be enough to protect a favourite pot and avoid a very pricey replacement in spring.”

Bubble wrap can be found in most supermarkets and online stores.

Wilko XL Bubble Wrap Roll 10m x 40cm costs £4. Pukka Bubble Wrap Roll 5m x 300mm costs £1 from TheWorks.co.uk.

Sainsbury’s Home Large Bubble Wrap Roll costs £4 for eight metres.

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There are other ways to prevent pots from cracking in winter. Gardeners should aim to eliminate the possibility of water being absorbed and frozen as this is what causes cracking.

One thing gardeners can do is lift the pot off the ground by placing it on pot feet, wooden blocks or stones.

This allows air to circulate underneath the pot and allows water to exit through the holes in the bottom of the pot and drain away.

Another alternative is to remove plants and soil from the pot and temporarily repot them in a plastic container or elsewhere.

The soil absorbs water, freezes and expands which then causes the pot to crack.

The best method is to move the pot indoors either into a greenhouse, shed or conservatory.

The best quality terracotta pots can be expensive, fetching £20 to £100 online.

Cracked terracotta pots can be fixed using waterproof silicone caulk or by wiring the cracked edges together.

The pot should be durable once fixed but it takes patience to fix.

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