I know terra cotta will split over the winter if left out but how about cement? I have cement urn on a pedestal and not sure if I can leave it out or bring it in? Thanks, Richie
If it is one that you like, I'd advise bringing it in, or at least putting where it will stay dry, such as in a garage. I've had plastic pots split when the drainage holes became blocked by wet soil that then froze and then the water-logged soil above froze, expanded, and split the pot. If something as flexible as a mid-weight plastic pot can split, I would anticipate that cement could crack as well.
think about concrete birdbaths... they can crack when water expands and freezes.
I have a trick to avoid a birdbath cracking, but I don't know how to equate it to a soil-filled pot. I put a piece of styrofoam about 1" thick and about 5"x5" and place a rock on top of it in the bird bath. Somehow the concrete does not crack in the winter. I don't know the science behind it, but I've been doing it for many years. My concrete birdbath does not have a separate top and bottom and it is crazy heavy to move, so I use the styrofoam method.
My concrete birdbaths have not cracked after many years outside all year. My theory is that they are shallow and ice sort of slides up the sides and out--ice can't exert enough pressure on the shallow sides to crack the birdbaths. Your results may vary.
But I have a very large, deep concrete pot that has a big crack from staying outside. :( I can fortunately hide the crack as the pot sits against a stone wall and the pot still functions. It's too heavy to get inside.
What I should have done is empty all the soil out of it and covered the top. Too little, too late.
I also have a perfectly beautiful covered urn on a pedestal that I bought many years ago at Weston Nurseries. It stays outside all year and has never cracked as it has no soil in it and water can't get in it.
So the answer to your question is...it depends.
Assuming that the planter has decent drainage, you probably don't need to remove the soil - you can just cover the top and leave it out over the winter. As long as the soil can't get too wet, it should not expand much when temperatures dip - not enough to crack the pot.
A friend of mine used to have some very heavy concrete pots. There were two near the garage door, and those we kind of "walked" into the garage - you know, tip it over a little and move it an inch, tip it over the other way and move it another inch. Slow going but luckily we didn't have too far to go.
She had another one farther away from the garage, and this one we would just tip over all the way and lay on it's side. It was near a wall - I don't know if this added any protection or not.
If it is a really nice urn (and I think it is if it's the one in the picture I saw) and you want to make sure nothing happens, it might be worth the work to bring it in.
Thanks everyone, I am going to bring it in, it's right near the garage.