Top 5 Tips To Winterize Your Roses

Growing up, my mother always had a few rose plants growing around our house.

It helps the yard around the house to look beautiful and also gave her some flowers she could bring into the house every once in a while.

But during the winter season, there are a few things you need to consider to help your roses survive until the next year.

The 5 tips to winterize your roses include: stop deadheading the bush after late autumn, hill the bush with soil, remove diseased branches, remove dead leaves and debris, and use winterizing structures.

Read on to get more details to find out what each of these means.

Why should I winterize my roses?

Roses are not necessarily hardy plants unless you get roses that are specifically labeled as “hardy”.

Otherwise, your roses will not last very long is a cold and breezy winter.

But you especially need to winterize your roses if any of the following conditions exist where you live.

  1. Your ground stays frozen solid during most, if not all, of the winter season.
  2. Temperatures stay below 20 degrees or are regularly below 10 degrees without heavy snow cover.
  3. You live in hardiness zone 5 or below according to the US Department of Agriculture.

You might not need to winterize your roses if the following conditions exist:

  1. Your roses are wild or natively grown. This means that they have probably acclimated to the temperature of your area and no extra steps are needed on your part.
  2. The temperature during the winter only occasionally drops 10 degrees or below.
  3. Your winters are wet and rainy.

The above lists should help you to determine whether or not should need to winterize your roses.

How to winterize

Now that you know you need to winterize your roses, there are a few tips or steps you need to take to accomplish this task.

Stop deadheading the bushes in late autumn

According to

Deadheading is the gardening term used for the removal of faded or dead flowers from plants. Deadheading is generally done both to maintain a plant’s appearance and to improve its overall performance.

Basically, when you are deadheading a plant you are removing the dying flowers from the plant.

Deadheading allows for new flowers and blooms to take the place of the ones you just removed.

Stop deadheading your rose bushes sometime around the beginning of September to allow the plant to shut down and prepare itself for the coming cold weather.

It also allows the rose bushes to set seeds for the winter.

If you deadhead your rose bush too late into the autumn season, that will open that particular branch, or the whole rose bush, to the harsh weather and could kill the branch, or even the rose bush.

Hill the bush with soil

One of the best things you can do for your rose bush is protect the base of the bush from the harsh winter that will almost certainly come.

So, just like how you would want to keep yourself warm during the winter months, you will want to do the same for your rose bush.

Hilling the bush with soil will do this for you.

The extra soil around the rose bush gives the rose bush another layer to protect it from the winter weather.

This would be like if you covered yourself up in another blanket to get warm.

Also, keep in mind that you should purchase soil to do this, instead of digging up soil around the rose bush to build it up.

If you dig up the soil around the rose bush, you will expose those areas to the harsh weather of the winter.

So make sure you purchase extra soil instead of digging it up.

With your extra soil, create a 1 foot wide and 1-foot deep mound around the base of the rose bush.

This will keep the base of the rose bush warm during the winter months.

You can also use mulch instead of soil on the hill around the rose bush, but mulch does not keep the rose bush as warm as the soil does.

Remove diseased branches

There are a few signs to know if the branches on your rose bush are diseased.

Black spots

Black spots are a common disease found on rose bushes.

According to

Infected leaves often drop from the plant. Infection continues throughout the summer months. The immature wood of first year canes develops raised, purple-red irregular blotches. Plants become stunted and produce fewer, paler flowers. By mid-summer severely infected plants may have lost all of their leaves.

Powdery mildew

Powdery mildew is a serious problem for rose buhes.

Infected leaves may be distorted, and some leaf drop may occur. Flower buds may fail to open, and those that do may produce poor-quality flowers. It can occur almost anytime during the growing season when temperatures are mild (70 to 80 °F), and the relative humidity is high at night and low during the day. It is most severe in shady areas and during cooler periods.

Try to get rid of rose bush branches with powdery mildew as soon as possible before it becomes a widespread problem in your yard.

These are just a few of the different diseases that can be found on your rose bushes.

You can continue to read more about possible diseases for your rose bushes at

For any diseases, it is important to destroy (burn) the diseased branches and leaves before it becomes a more widespread issue throughout your yard and garden.

Remove dead leaves and debris

Removing dead leaves, branches, and other debris will be healthy for your growing rose bush.

If dead or broken stems and branches are left in place, they could be ripped off during a harsh winter and damage other parts of the rose bush that were still in good health.

It is a good practice to cut the dead branches down at least 6 inches into the healthy wood so the branch will get a good start into the next season.

This can be a matter of preference, though, as shorter branches look better going into the colder season, while the longer branches will do you perfectly fine.

But it seems like the consensus is a good 6 inches into the healthy branch will do you good.

Once you have cut away the branches, gather up all the dead branches, leaves, and other debris, and burn them in a fire to avoid spreading any diseases that you may have missed.

Use winterizing structures

One of the last tips that can help winterize your rose bushes is creating a winterizing structure.

Basically, this is a structure that is built around your rose bush that keeps the whole rose bush protected during the winter months.

Find some plant stakes at your local hardware store.

Once you have found the stakes, install 3 or 4 of them around your rose bush, giving about a foot of space on each side of the rose bush.

When you have installed the plant stakes in the ground, wrap chicken wire around the stakes.

Next, fill in the structure around your rose bush with leaves, straw, or other loose-fitting, non-compacting material.

This will keep your rose bush warm during the winter season.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that this structure will also be very appealing to any rodents in the area.

If that is the case, you may find rodents within your structure, and they could eat away at your rose bush as well.

If you decide on creating a winterizing structure, check it regularly for rodents.

Instead of building your own winterizing structures, you can also purchase some foam cones at Amazon as well.


Rose bushes are some of the most beautiful plants out there.

They can give you flowers of all different colors.

If you take care of them during the winter months, then they will continue to give you beautiful flowers throughout the year.

Make sure to winterize them by deadheading them in late autumn, removing any diseased leaves or branches, remove any remaining debris, hill the base of the bush with soil, and create a winterizing structure for the rose bush.

Bill Lantz

Bill Lantz is a database analyst by day and a weekend warrior by... weekend. He's currently building up his own miniature homestead in Central Utah with his wife and six kids. Some of his interests include knowing random trivia about films, reading history books, and playing video games with the boys.

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