container gardens
Day-by-Day Care for Container Plants

   In sections where soil does not freeze, watering is no problem in winter. Unless rains are frequent, water with the hose, sprinkler, or watering can. Depending on climate, sweet bay, oleander, orange and lemon trees will need the winter protection of a cool greenhouse, a well-lighted shed or unheated room where above-freezing temperatures can be maintained. During this resting period, give just enough water to prevent soil from drying out.

Winter Preparation for Spring

   The winter, too, is the time to clean and prepare containers for the next season. Bring indoors-into cellar, shed, tool house, garage, attic, or spare room-easily moved containers, as this will help preserve them. Especially is this true of materials that deteriorate, among them several kinds of wood. Clay or glazed pots will break if not emptied of soil, which freezes and thaws, creating pressure against the sides. Valuable glazed or porcelain containers should never be left outdoors, with or without soil.

   Empty soil from clay pots before bringing them in and then clean them with a stiff brush and hot water plus a detergent. Empty the soil from wooden tubs and boxes as well and scrub surfaces with soap and water. Paint or stain them later when they are thoroughly dry. Plant stands, wall brackets, baskets, wooden hanging baskets, small window boxes and other containers should be cleaned late in fall and made ready for the coming season well before planting time in spring.

   Large planters, boxes, and window boxes, which are not easy to move, must be left outdoors. However, their condition should be carefully checked before winter sets in to see whether they need bracing or a coat of paint.