How to Overwinter Potted Rose Plants

Written by annita lawson
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How to Overwinter Potted Rose Plants
Potted rose plants must be overwintered carefully to prevent the roots from being damaged or killed. (rose with drops image by Vladimir Kirienko from

Potted rose plants make attractive additions to any porch or patio and are ideal for gardeners who lack the space to grow roses in the garden. Growing roses in containers is a bit more complex than planting them in the ground, especially when it comes to overwintering. The roots of a rosebush planted in the ground are offered much more protection than those grown in pots, so special care must be taken to ensure that container-grown roses are able to survive harsh winter weather.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Cement blocks
  • Mulch
  • Burlap
  • Pruning shears

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  1. 1

    Stop fertilising potted rose plants in early September. Gradually reduce the amount of water added each week until the first hard frost of the season occurs.

  2. 2

    Move the pot to a protected location that maintains temperatures of -3.89 to 10 degrees Celsius. Place the potted rose on cement blocks to give the roots added protection from the cold.

  3. 3

    Pile mulch over the entire pot, until it is no longer visible. Wrap a piece of burlap around the pot, which will help hold the mulch in place while allowing air to circulate.

  4. 4

    Uncover the pot enough to check the moisture level in the soil once every three weeks. Add water only if the top inch of soil is no longer moist, then replace the mulch and burlap.

  5. 5

    Remove the mulch and burlap and move the rose outdoors after all danger of hard frost has passed. Prune any damaged or dead canes, and water and fertilise regularly.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not prune potted rose plants in fall, because this could promote new growth.
  • The temperature in the chosen location must not dip below -3.89 degrees C or rise above 10 degrees Celsius, as this could either freeze the roots or encourage new growth.

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