19.11.2023 - 03:17 / gardeningknowhow.com
Terracotta is such a classic choice for garden pots. It has been used in pottery for millennia, and today there are designs available to suit all styles and budgets.
The pots’ warm, earthen color palette is due to the type of clay used to make them. Though terracotta looks great when new, it gets even better with age. Over time, pots develop a mellow patina that adds character to the garden, and perfectly complements foliage and flowers.
The word terracotta literally means ‘baked earth’ in Italian. Originally pots were baked in the sun or an open fire, and today the manufacturing process is still very simple. This makes it low energy and sustainable.
However, while using terracotta plant pots has many benefits, the material also has a reputation for cracking in frosty weather. This eventually results in them breaking.
Terracotta is by its nature a porous material, which means pots absorb water from the soil within. While this quality can be beneficial for certain plants during the summer months, it is less desirable in winter.
When the pot is filled with wet soil and temperatures plummet, the soil can freeze along with the water stored in the terracotta. This causes the moisture to expand, which can crack the pot.
Practice good winter container care by looking after both your plants and your pots.
Traditionally, the advice has been to either move terracotta pots to a sunny spot indoors – which can be impractical as they are heavy when planted – or to insulate them with bubblewrap, which looks unattractive.
However, gardening expert and writer Leigh Clapp has this clever trick: ‘When planting your containers, simply place a plastic pot inside the terracotta pot,’ she says.
‘This avoids it cracking in winter because it retains
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