Winter Care for Roses

Some rose varieties are hardier than others. They can brave through winter without needing too much attention. However, if it gets freezing in your region, then you need to consider taking adequate care of your rose plants in winter. Otherwise, you may have a lot of replacing to do once winter ends, especially if you are growing a rose variety that is particularly vulnerable to this season. The cold, harsh winds coupled with heaps of snow can be unforgiving for your rose plants. Learn how to care for them before it is too late! You do not want your hard work on these precious plants going to waste. Here are our tips and techniques for winter care for roses.

Best Selling Rose Bushes

How to Prune Roses for Winter:

Pruning prepares your rose plant to bear winter. Plus, it gives them a neatly trimmed and well-kept look.  Winter is the perfect time to tidy up your rose plants and spruce up your garden. Dying Rose Flowers When the cold hard frost hits, your roses will begin transitioning into their dormant stage for the year. Once they go dormant, you need to begin pruning them so that they are prepared to resume growing once winter ends. To prune your rose bush, get rid of dead and decaying flowers. Perform deadheading by removing any fading flowers that stand little chance of getting through winter. Next, inspect your rose plant’s branches and stems. Cut off stems at least 6 inches deep into healthy wood if they appear to be diseased. Finally, extract suckers that are growing too close to healthy stems. However, avoid pruning fresh new roses or new growth! Note: The ideal time to prune your roses is after January but before May.

Hilling Loose Soil to Protect Your Roses in Winter

As most of us know temperatures fluctuate in the winter, which can trick your rose plants into thinking that it is warm enough to begin growing again. If they begin growing before winter is over, they might be hit with a freezing spell of frost which can effectively kill your plant. In order to protect your rose plant from this, you will need to ‘hill’ or ‘mound’ loose soil around the roots of your plant.

How to Hill or Mound Rose Plants?

Use your hands to feel the soil near the roots of your plant and ‘hill’ heaps of soil around the base of your plant. When adding soil, do not take soil from your plant’s growing space. Instead, you can bring fresh soil and use it to cover the center of your rose. Make mounds or hills which stand at least 12 inches tall and 10 inches wide. Once you have mounded your rose plant’s base, you may cover them with a mounding medium of your choice. Rose collars filled with mulch, straw, fir boughs, and branches are all popular choices as a mounding medium.  Your roses are now ready to brave through winter to keep the graft and bush held tightly!

Watering Your Rose Bushes in Winter

You might think you do not need to worry about your rose plant’s watering schedule in winter, but you could not be more wrong! With winter around, dry spells will be cast every now and then, which means that moisture content will get vaporized quicker. Use your hands to feel the topsoil of your winter roses to check if they need a drink. If it appears dry and thirsty, you need to water your plants. If you are new to gardening and taking care of plants, you can use a moisture meter to determine whether your plants need to be watered. Just remember not to leave them soaking wet! A light sprinkle or shower is more than enough.

How Often Should You Water Plants in Winter with Snow

Roses with Frost If it snows where you live, then you will notice ice caps being formed as the snow collects, melts, and freezes. You may think that your roses are getting enough water because of the snow melting, but that is not the case. Snow locks in water as ice and traps the roots of your rose plant from accessing water. Prolonged thirst can dry them out and begin damaging your rose bush. Fortunately, this obstacle is easy to overcome. Use Epsom salts to form holes in ice caps to make them melt faster. You can follow this act by a light shower.


Caring for rose plants in winter is not challenging, but it is time-consuming. You need to take out a few minutes from your daily schedule to tend to the needs of your precious rose plant so that they can do well in winter. Check out our other blogs on Winter Plant Protection & How to Winterize Trees. Roses should be cut back in late winter while they’re dormant.