How to Care for Roses

Protecting Roses from Winter

In climates where temperatures rarely drop below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, winter protection is not necessary. Where temperatures drop below 10 degrees Fahrenheit but only rarely below zero, protection is optional, but soil-mounding is recommended. The further temperatures drop below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, the greater the protection needed.

Rose growers in the north often practice the "Minnesota tip" method for winter protection. Dig a trench the height of the rose, from the root zone outward. Tip or push the entire shrub into the trench and cover with soil. In spring, uncover the rose and set it upright for a new season of growth.

protecting roses from winter
A mound of soil is the first step to winter protection.

  1. Mound soil up around the plant to a depth of 12 inches. If necessary, surround the plant with a ring of wire mesh or a rose collar.

    protecting roses from winter
    Mulch prevents repeated freezing and thawing.

  2. Once the ground freezes, place a thick mulch of organic matter around the plant. This will help prevent the alternate freezing and thawing of the ground that does so much harm.

    protecting roses from winter
    A rose cone or basket is a good option for very cold climates.

  3. In very cold climates, instead of mulch cover the shrubs with a basket or commercial rose cone, pruning just enough so the covering can be put in place. If you use plastic foam rose cones, punch a few air holes to allow some air circulation.

    protecting roses from winter
    Remove protections on a cloudy day.

  4. All winter protections should be removed when the danger of severe frost is over. If possible, remove protections on a cloudy day so tender, new growing tips are not burned by sudden exposure to strong sun.
Keep reading to learn about protecting climbers and tree roses from winter.

Want more information about roses? Visit these links:

  • Rose Gardens: Learn all you need to know to plan, plant and care for your rose garden.
  • Gardening: We answer all of your general gardening questions in this section.