Over wintering in containers

I am thinking of putting some of my perennials in containers for the spring through fall season, What do I have to do to ensure they return next year? I have put some in containers before and they did not return. I did leave them in the yard without protection from the cold, do I need to move them inside the garage to ensure survival of the winter? or wrap them in something to protect them if the container is too large to move?
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

Hi,

Thanks for writing. Typically, if you're growing plants that are reliably hardy in your area, they should overwinter in containers that are 3-3.5 feet or more in diameter. The bigger the container, the better the plants will overwinter.

I've also heard of gardeners in cold-winter areas "planting" their containers in the ground for the winter --- just dig a hole, drop the container in, and fill in with soil or mulch. Being in the ground usually adds enough insulation to help the plants make it through.

The third option for most people is to move the containers to a protected spot such as a garage or storage shed.

Also: Grow the hardiest perennials you can find. If you're in Zone 6, for example, you'll have better luck with Zone 3 or Zone 4 perennials in pots than you will Zone 6 varieties.

---Justin, Senior Garden Editor, BHG.com


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