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Give your containers a pre-winter once-over

Lisa Garden on 14-11-2014

Give your containers a pre-winter once-over to make sure they survive the cold weather in the best possible condition and perform for you again next season.

Excess winter rain is the worst enemy, flooding containers and drowning roots beyond recovery. Pot feet, available from your garden centre, are easily slipped under the bottom of containers to raise them up off the ground just enough to allow excess water to drain out. Moving them into the shelter of an overhanging roof or shed wall also helps get them out of the full force of winter rain.

If the contents of containers freeze, the soil expands - the most common cause of frost damage in terracotta pots. If this has happened to you before, you can buy new pots here. If you can't tip out the compost, wrap the whole container in layers of newspaper, followed by hessian and a final layer of bubblewrap so they're completely safe and protected from frost.

Reduce watering to an absolute minimum - most winter containers won't need much at all except in sunny spells - and cut out feeding altogether as it'll just encourage sappy growth which is very vulnerable to frost damage. And deadhead winter flowers, like pansies, at least once a week to keep the display at full throttle through till spring.