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Winterizing Roses in Zone 8

With cool weather rapidly approaching, and our first frost likely within the next month, I thought I would take some time to address winter care for your roses.


In ground is probably the easiest. All you need to do is mulch your beds, either with compost, mulch, or both. As frosts happen, and we start to experience cooler weather and more precipitation, you’ll notice more blackspot, as well as the yellowing of leaves. Leaves will start to drop off your rose, and this is perfectly fine and natural. A dormant period for the roses is good, and for us, it doesn’t last too long. Be sure to pick up the rose leaves. These are NOT something you want to compost down, as they can harbor disease and insect eggs. Pick up the dropped rose leaves, and dispose of them in the trash.

Ideally, don’t prune at this time. Pruning typically should wait until around Valentine’s Day, or about 1 month prior to your average last frost. If you have pruned, don’t fret, your rose will still be just fine. Pruning may encourage tender new growth, so just be aware that if this growth hasn’t hardened off by the time we get a hard frost, this growth may burn off. This is nothing to worry about, and your rose will leaf out just fine come spring.


The important thing to realize with pots is they will experience ~20°F colder than what the temperature is outside. If we have a night that is 30°, they will be experiencing 10°. Generally for our area, we usually don’t need to worry about this. As long as your roses are potted in a container at least the size of a 5 gallon bucket or larger, there is plenty of soil around the roots for your rose to be insulated enough. Most roses are hardy down all the way to -20°F! They are super tough plants. Do be mindful that some older roses and tea roses are a little more tender so make sure you take your roses hardiness into consideration. Here are some tips to help keep your pots on the warmer side.

Mulch the top of the pot with compost or mulch. Before a hard frost, give your pots a good watering. As water evaporates, it releases heat. Cluster your pots together, and preferably close to a wall (south or west facing is ideal). Avoid north walls, as these get little to no sun during the winter months. If we have really cold temperatures in the forecast (say, under 20°F), you can additionally wrap your pots in burlap or something similar to give some extra insulation. Frost cloth can also help protect the top portion of your plants.

Here in North Texas, we DO NOT bring roses into the garage or shed to overwinter (the exception being if we have another Snowmageddon where we get down to 0°). Roses are just fine to be left outside, and the dormant period is great for them. I hope this helps, and if there’s any questions that did not get answered, please comment below and ask. We are more than happy to help!

And yes, this is still the perfect time to plant perennials, roses, shrubs, and trees! Even winter annuals like pansies, violas, snapdragons, cabbages, and kale. If you have veggie gardens, leafy greens, onions, garlic, etc are great to be planted right now. Don’t let the cold weather fool you, for us here in North Texas, winter is a great time to plant. 😊❤️

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This was helpful, thank you! Its my first year growing roses and I was wondering if the leaves yellowing and spotting was normal. Appreciate your help!


Thank you for this post! 🌹

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