How do I prepare a mall potted cedar for overwintering on my balcony?
Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.
Over wintering on balconies in Toronto sometimes works and sometimes not; depends on the winter.
There are two key issues that can make the difference.
- Cedar needles continue photosynthesizing through the winter even when the pot is frozen. This means you need to make sure the plant is well hydrated before the soil freezes. This will allow the plant to continue working as it has water available to it for the process. Continue watering until it freezes. Make sure the pot is not one that will crack with the temperature and moisture changes through the winter.
- The main risk to the plant is temperature changes. If the pot freezes and thaws regularily you are more likely to have plant damage. It is far easier on the plant if it remains frozen. Try to shelter the plant and put in a spot with consistant temperatures and minimal drying winds. Out of the sun would be preferable as the sun will heat the pot up during the day. Keeping it in the shade also will minimize photosynthesis and help avoid dehydration.
There are many ways to insulate with styrofoam, bubble wrap etc. I have included links below to our library which has many articles that discuss insulation and over wintering. within each article are further links to more information.