Cleaning Your Summer Pots

Published July 20, 2012

As the summer winds down, it’s always a good idea to empty out your summer garden pots completely. If you choose to leave the old soil in the pot for next year, you run the risk of the soil being compacted too tightly to allow the necessary pore space for air. The soil may also harbor harmful leftover contaminants from last year’s fertilizers.

Porous pots, such as terra cotta must also be properly cared for over the winter months.  It is recommended to empty them and clean any left over residue from the plant and soil.

The best way to clean your summer terra cotta pots is to first soak them in a large sink or tub with one part bleach and 10 parts water. After an hour or two, remove the pots and scrub the insides out with a small brush ensuring all debris is removed. Let dry. Wipe the outside of the pot with a clean, dry cloth. Over the winter months, store your pots in a dry and protected area. In this way, any moisture caught in the pores of the pot will dry out and not freeze. If the moisture is allowed to freeze, the pot may crack and chip over time.

There are other more natural alternatives to clean your pots as well. Hydrogen peroxide works well as does the new environmentally friendly cleaners.

Which ever method you choose, if you take the time to properly empty and clean your pots for the winter, you will be glad you did next spring- and your plants will thank you