How to Protect Roses in Winter

Plants & Flowers
Roses In Winter

To care for your roses properly, you need to understand what kind of temperatures and conditions they need. Generally speaking, cold winds can do much more damage to roses than cold temperatures. This is one of the first things you need to keep in mind when deciding where to place your roses. Another thing to consider is how to properly prepare your roses for winter. It's best to start thinking about it well in advance, before the cold months or even before autumn comes. This way, you will be prepared to winterize your roses in the best possible way.

How to Protect Roses Against Cold

It is important that your roses are kept in safe, warm temperatures. It is also important to make adequate protection for them against winds. This will prepare them for cold months and make them go through winter with little to no harm.

Many gardeners choose to protect their roses by building separate protective structures to protect them from winds. Some plant growers choose to install elaborate cages for roses or use special rose cones. This covers roses completely and protects them during winter.

However, this is not the only solution and it's definitely not the most elegant one. These installations may be difficult to make and install. In some cases they are even expensive. It takes a lot of work and time to properly cover roses in winter and then to uncover them in spring. For these reasons, these solutions, while effective, may not be the best ones.

Effective Alternative Solution

There is a very effective and easier solution to protect your roses during winter. Another advantage to this technique is that it involves adding organic matter and compost to the soil, which makes roses healthy and strong.

A good thing about this method is that you don't have to do it well in advance. You should wait until the ground is frozen, which typically happens early or late in winter.

This method of winter protection involves several steps:

  1. When the ground is frozen, carefully rake away last year's mulch from your roses.
  2. Create a ring around each rose that is about 2 inches in diameter. The size will depend on how large the rose is. If you're making a mounded mulch ring around a group of roses, treat them as a single plant and create one ring around them.
  3. Each of these rings will form a "well" you can use to include various helpful ingredients. Shovel about 10 to 12 inches of compost into it and carefully form a mound around the base of the rose. This will completely cover the base of the rose, which is the main goal. This will keep the base protected during winter and it will keep your rose from being harmed by winter winds and cold.
  4. In case you have young roses or those that are very tender they will need a bit of extra protection. This is when it's good to use rose cages. It's best to use simple cages made of plastic fencing. You can easily cut strips about 12 inches in height. Make sure that the each one is long enough to wrap around the mulch ring. Keep them in place with a bamboo stake. In case the winter winds and cold get particularly strong fill the cages with leaves for added protection and insulation.

That's it! This is all you need to do to successfully protect your roses. The best of all, it's very easy to remove protection in the spring. Simply spread out the mulch, old leaves and compost. For a bit of continuous protection, cover the roses with fresh mulch. This will keep them strong and healthy in spring.

This approach is great because it effectively protects the most important part of a rose: its base. Leaves and compost will keep it protected and will also add much-needed nutrients to the soil in spring.

Photo credit: Nelly

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