Winterizing Roses

Freezing-cold winters are a real threat to flowers. Accurate winterizing roses will help your plants to survive.


Winter protection for roses starts in late summer early fall. About six weeks ahead of the first frost date in your region, you have to stop encouraging your roses to grow. Otherwise, the new tender, soft shoots are caught by the frost and will easily be killed.

To slow down growth in late summer, you can do that in two ways:

  • Stop feeding your roses six weeks before the first frost date
  • Stop deadheading the roses and let hips develop

These actions slow growth and encourage dormancy. The plants will start to prepare for hibernation.

Winter Care For Roses

When temperatures reach 10°F or less, most of the roses need some kind of winter protection. The harsher your winters, the more you have to think about it.

Choosing and planting roses in a proper way will protect your flowers upfront.

  • Selecting winter hardy roses will reduce frost damage even in very cold regions
  • Planting roses with bud unions 2 inches beneath the soil level will protect the roots and the bud union
  • Securing roses against cold and wet winds will protect them against rocking loose
  • Mounding soil, mulch or other insulating materials over the base of the plants will protect them from freezing

Sometimes a pruning for winter would be necessary too.

In areas with dependable snow-cover, less winter-protection can be used than in areas with less snowfall.  Snow is a superb insulator.

Winter Protection For Roses

Mounding soil may be too much work for some gardeners, that’s why we should talk about some other methods of winterizing roses.

Winter rose collar: One of the best winter-protection for roses is to use a winter rose collar. It eliminates die back by drying out of the canes, is easy to install and can be used season after season.

Landscaping blankets, frost covers: Frost covers are installed in seconds and stow easily. They come with several different sizes and are perfect to protect tender shrubs and hybrid teas.

Other methods to protect your plants would be to apply sawdust, pinewood-spray or Styrofoam cones on the base of the plants. Personally, I prefer the easy rose gardening way and use a winter rose collar or frost covers.

Dormant oil spray: I recommend spraying the rose canes with an organic dormant oil spray. This will kill pests and diseases. Otherwise they will overwinter with your roses and bother your plants in spring again.


› Winterizing Roses

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