Roses in the snow

Preparing Your Roses For Winter

Welcome to the winter world of roses, and yes, they are EDIBLE!

Roses are one of the most common flowering bushes that are planted around the world. Most of Agriscapings clientele are currently in the desert Southwest. We are often asked how to prepare roses for the cold winter season. Now, winter here is nothing like what other gardeners experience back East! We are usually in Zones 9-10 here in Arizona, where roses might see a handful of frost days and very rarely, hard freeze days. In Zone 11 roses dont need any protection and will not go dormant, but need a good pruning to engage more blooms.

In early fall, around October and November, stop cutting roses and allow your roses to form their rose hips. This is how the plant naturally prepares for winter by setting its seed pods. {Side note: Oh, and rose hips are edible and make a great jam.} Add fresh compost to the base of the plant and water it in deeply. In colder climates, cover the base of the rose bush up to the first bud union, or about two feet. You can do light pruning before the first frost by removing long canes or crossing canes if needed. Major pruning occurs in early spring, this pruning is just for preventative maintenance. Dont feed your roses when you are wanting them to take a much needed break or they will continue to grow!

Depending on the micro-climate your roses are in, (learn more about Micro Climates) after the first hard freeze make sure to add mulch, preferably dry, shredded leaves. You can also add a commercial mulch to the base of the plant. In the spring, you will want to remove this mulch and add it to your compost pile.

Learn about Micro-Climates
If you live in a warmer climate and there is a hard freeze warning, wrap your roses in burlap or a cotton sheet. Make sure to remove it though in the morning so the sun can heat up the plant. On nights when you are expecting a frost, water the plant in the afternoon so it can expend heat as it processes the water. This will keep your favorite rose plant from getting too cold internally, even when it is a bit nippy externally.

Learn more about frost protection and just about everything edible by taking our DIY Home Grower course!



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