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They certainly don't make pots like they used to. I have pots which have been handed down through the family, terracotta, they don't seem to mind the cold. Maybe they are just made too thin now to cope with frost. I must admit to putting bubble wrap around them in winter though. Maybe this insulates the pot.
Sorry about your pots. Does the shape make a difference? If they are wide in the middle and narrow at the top I find the moisture in the soil freezes and expands sideways and cracks them. It's just a theory - I have cracked pots of all shapes and sizes !
Isn't it a pain? I've had more break this winter than at any other time, with big flakes falling off the sides. The painted and glazed ones all survived.
Surely marketing something as 'frost-proof' when it's clearly not is false advertising. Shouldn't people be taking these broken pots back and getting a refund?
My two worst pots were glazed-whole chunks fell off the sides.I lost terracotta ones as well. I have found new ones with a 10 year guarantee at the garden centre and will be carefully keeping all receipts. This years cold snap will have cost me about £70 in replacement pots alone.


There are pots made from fibreclay that seem to be really frost-proof. They look like terracotta put have added ingredients to strenthen them. I've had one for a few years now and it's still fine, although I haven't had any other pots damaged by the recent weather, so maybe my garden isn't the best place to test it, but we did have a foot of snow a few weeks ago. I've seen the pots in several garden centres so they shouldn't be hard to find.
I bought 2 opt from my locla garden centere last year, so when i went out into my garden to check on them i was devistated to find a big crack running all the way down side if it! I supose i will hav to by some new ones as replacements, but I have to admit I am not very happy! I just wish I would have kept the reciept like pdblake was refering to.
Hi I am a very keen gardener and also a potter. I understand your comment and agree. the problem is that for a clay pot to be frost proof it must be fired to a stage where it is no longer porous ( it will allow water to enter the body of the pot) A porous pot will soak up water into the body of the clay, this freezes and thaws making hairline cracks which eventually grow with each freeze thaw action causing the pot to break. Also the clay used to give the pot some strength need to have a certain amount of grit or grog in it to give it more strength or body. Having said that frost and ice are extremely powerful, and just in the same way you put items in your freezer in a sensible shape container allowing for a margin for the frozen liquid to expand in volume, Your pots fill up with water and expand thus breaking them. To AVOID damage to porous pots in hard frosts either carry them all into a frost free area ( difficult if you have a lot) or while the weather is wet lean them over and lie the pots and plants on their side to drain out excess water ( the less water the less expansion from frost) if you have a pot that curves in at the top then loosen the soil to take away the pressure of freezing ice. THE BEST WAY OF AVOIDING FROST DAMAGE is to buy the right pots to begin with !!! Choose vitreous ( non porous )stoneware made in a country where they get hard frosts ie Britain & the Chinese ones are very good while in my experience Spanish and Portugese made Terracotta pots just fall apart. I suggest that you find a potter who makes garden ware near you and go and see them see what they have growing in them. Hand made stoneware garden pots may initially seem expensive but they last much longer than the cheaper imports. I live in the Yorkshire Dales National park and we get lots of rain and frost I hope this helps . liz
How to tell if a pot is porous or not. If you dab a little liquid on a dry porous terracotta pot the liquid will be soaked up immediately make the colour of the pot darker. a porous pot will not hold water unless it has a glaze on it ( the shiny coloured part) terracotta pots are usually glazed on the outside only allowing liquid to be soaked into the pot, so test the inside. A Vitreous or stoneware pot when properly fired will not absorb any liquid at all, your water test will stand on the surface whether it is glazed or not. liz
Stone ware pots are the toughest I have had some for 35 years with no problems, no matter the quality of the terracotta and I have some very thick oblong pots, they evenually break, sometimes hairline cracks sometimes great lumps of pot breaking from the top where there is no soil to expand, so what ever you buy to be safe bring them in or cover them.
Hiya, Just dropped by - I wanted to mention that I've managed to repair some of my cracked pots with industrial adhesive - not terribly pretty but at least I'll get a few more years out of them...
I have a number of Whichford pots some over twenty years old and they are as good as the day they were purchased. They are a lot more expensive though. The best advice is to use pot feet to get your pots out of the wet during the winter and then use saucers in the summer to keep your plants moist.
It was greta to hear all your comments and ideas, and an especial thanks to Liz for her potters feedback and comments, funny I was talking to a potter that I know just the other day....the thing is what infuriates me is not just that they crack....BUT that we are basically misinformed by those selling them !!!
I have pots cracked by frost, my answer is to drill small holes either side of the crack and stitch across with plastic coated wire, certainly gives a few extra seasons of use,
I have pots cracked by frost, my answer is to drill small holes either side of the crack and stitch across with plastic coated wire, certainly gives a few extra seasons of use.


I also have lots of cracked pots this year, but all the ones my grandad gave me are fine, they are very old but seem to have coped with the frost better.
Just as a tip:- make sure your pots have good drainage ensuring the drainage hole does not block and to allow excess moisture to escape. I have lined the inside of my pots since 2 years ago clearly making sure i have plenty of holes for drainage, doing this using my thick plastic compost bags, it sounds tacky but protects your pots from direct moisture and the plastic has a better use than land-fill, the foliage from the plants cover the plastic, allways make a point in late august of raising your pots from dirrect contact with the ground, even on concrete they can crack. best of luck mike
Aaah well, the sun is shining now, though snow again a couple of days ago, so perhaps the season for cracking pots is finally at an end....and at least I know I'm far from alone on this one !!
I found this link when I googled weather proof pots. Having just returned from living in Kenya for the past 6 years I have bought back some lovely terracotta pots which I would love to keep for the long term. Does anyone have any ideas on products that I can paint them with to help them in the cold British weather?
to help a pot survive the frost, some suggest painting the inside with a 10:1 diluted water: PVA glue mixture, or even varnish. both of these would stop the pot absorbing water (this expands and causes the cracks).