How to Store Outdoor Pots

How to Store Outdoor Pots

Use these six easy tips to maintain your outdoor clay pots this winter.


Clay pots must be protected from the elements or they’ll crack as they expand and contract with temperature and moisture changes. But with proper care and treatment, they can be reused.

Clay pots provide the ideal environment for plants to breathe and grow, as the clay removes excess moisture from the roots. Protect them this winter so you don’t have buy them again next gardening season.

1. Remove Dead Plants and Dirt
Add used dirt to a compost pile, and use it in your garden and pots again next season. This will save money and add beneficial organic matter and nutrients to your garden.

2. Clean and Dry Each Pot
Store your pots only once they’re completely dry to avoid risk of mildew growth or cracking.

  • Rinse the pots with a hose or in a utility sink with a little dish soap
  • Scrub tough to clean spots with a diluted bleach solution
  • Let the pots air dry in the sun for a few days until they are completely dry

3. Use Barriers When Stacking Pots
Clay will expand and contract with temperature and humidity.

  • Give pots wiggle room by placing a layer of newspaper, tissue paper or bubble wrap between each pot
  • Place the largest pots at the bottom and nestle the smaller pots inside
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Tip: Alternatively, organize pots by size so they’re ready when you want them. Keep small pots with craft supplies and large pots in the garden shed.

4. Store Pots in a Dry Place
A garage, garden shed or closet will provide the best protection for pots.

5. If Pots Must be Kept Outside, Turn Them Upside Down
This prevents water and snow from collecting in the bottoms.

  • Keep outdoor pots sheltered as much as possible, preferably under an overhang
  • Being propped up off the ground preserves outdoor potted plants during winter months
  • Place a few pieces of wood or clay pot feet under pots to elevate them
  • Rainwater will be able to run underneath the pots instead of saturating the bottoms, and the extra space provides airflow

6. Bring Some Pots Inside
Repurpose pots and store them on your kitchen windowsill.

  • Decorate pots with craft paint or small mosaic tiles
  • Replant with succulents and bring them indoors (Succulents are easy to grow inside and add a bright pop of life to any décor scheme.)
  • Grow fresh herbs that serve as beautiful and delicious indoor décor
  • Cover with chalkboard paint, label with family members’ names and use the pots to organize

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