Preparing and Protecting Your Container Roses for The Winter

*Please note, these instructions are for roses that have already been transplanted into a different container. When you first receive your rose, please do not keep it in the shipping container for longer than a month. If you are not planting the rose in the ground, then please transplant it into a larger container and then follow the instructions below on overwintering.

Roses grown in pots and other containers should be prepared and protected before your first frost. Pruning the canes back to 18”-24” and removing any damaged or diseased foliage will prepare your plants to go dormant for the winter and make storing them easier.

You can protect your roses from diseases during the dormant phase by spraying them with a liquid copper fungicide like Liqui-Cop.

Like other roses, we recommend mulching your potted roses with a 2-3 inch layer of Mint Compost, bark mulch, lawn clippings, hay or straw to help insulate and protect your rose.

Place the potted roses in an unheated garage, shed, barn, greenhouse, or other enclosed, protected space. A window is preferred but is not necessary for your rose to survive. Protecting the rose from direct frost sitting on the plant is important; however, do not bring the roses inside, as they will not thrive and may die.

Water the roses slightly before putting them in the unheated protected area and water them with a few cups of water every few weeks. Roses do not need much water or any fertilizer while they are dormant.

If your potted roses are too large to bring into an unheated, protected space or you do not have one, you can wrap the outside of the pot and the canes in burlap, leaving the top still open so that you can water it or it can get some rainwater. You can also make a temporary enclosed space with tarps.

After the last frost has passed in the spring, you can bring your potted roses back outside and prune a couple inches off of the canes to stimulate new growth. You should begin to see new growth within a few weeks and can resume fertilizing every 3-4 weeks as needed.