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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 cooler weather, you’ll notice more blackspot, and the yellowing of leaves. Leaves will also drop off your rose. This is perfectly fine and natural. Dormant periods 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. 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 fine and will live just fine. Pruning may encourage tender new growth, so just be aware that if this growth hasn’t hardened when we get our frost, this growth may burn off. This is nothing to worry about, and your rose will leaf out just fine in 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. Most roses are hardy down all the way to -20°F! They’re super tough. Some older roses and tea roses are a little more tender. Here’s 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 in the winter. 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 also can help protect the top portion of your plants.

Here, we DO NOT bring roses into garages 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 elements and 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 and kales. 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, winter is a great time to plant. 😊❤️

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