Here’s what happens when you leave terra cotta outside all winter in cold climates. This one actually lasted quite a few years, so it was well made. But moisture inevitably penetrates unglazed clay and sooner or later freezing and thawing will cause it to disintegrate. The solution is pretty simple — just take clay pots to a shed or garage where they’ll stay dry for the winter. I kept this one outside all winter because we liked to put Christmas decorations in it, figuring this would happen sooner or later. Hard-fired, glazed pots fare better through harsh weather, I’m told. Ironically, I make sure to protect these pots by bringing them inside for the winter, because they cost so much more!