ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Prepare Roses For Winter

Updated on May 18, 2009

Putting Your Roses To Bed:

This is always a melancholy time of year. -- Your roses have produced their bountiful bouquets all summer into late fall and now it's time to put them to bed. Literally.

In climate zones 6 or below, roses, even though quite hardy, need to be winterized in order to ensure they repeat their magnificent display year after year.

When I first began my hands-on education in roses over 10 years ago, I was somewhat ignorant on how to make these flowering wonders thrive. -- Most of what I've picked up along the way has been the result of trial and error.

Yes. I've allowed (unwillingly) a few roses to expire. -- After all, they are a tad high-maintenance. But for the most part, every hybrid tea in our garden has held a healthy residence the better part of nine years.

In short, I've learned what works and what doesn't when it comes to tending to roses in my neck of the woods.

The focus of this hub will discuss the few, short steps needed to prepare your roses for their long winter nap.

A Common Misconception:

The belief many people hold, that extreme cold kills roses, is somewhat false. It's true that if you allow your roses to experience long periods of below-freezing temperatures, they will die...

However, the single-largest danger to roses this time of year is the cycle of freezing and thawing, freezing and thawing, etc.... SO...

Primary Rose Winterizing Tip:

Once overnight temperatures are consistently below freezing, REGARDLESS of what daytime temps are, your roses need to be protected.

Yes. Winterizing roses is very important to keep them healthy. This hub will hopefully explain everything you need to know.

The three stages are: Pruning, Mounding, and Final Covering & Caging.


A well-bedded rose bush ready for its long winter nap.
A well-bedded rose bush ready for its long winter nap.


Pruning your rose bushes is the first step toward winterizing. A well-pruned rose bush in winter allows it to bounce back gangbusters in the spring.

Winter pruning, however, is not the same as spring pruning; where the objective is to stimulate growth. The goal of winter pruning is to prepare the plant for spring by getting rid of all dead, dying and unnecessary growth.

Roses healthfully sleeping are simply preparing for next year.

I suggest a heavy winter pruning and immediately covering up the plant, AKA winterizing.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Hybrid tea rose prior to pruning.Ready to be pruned after many blooms.Past its blooming season & ready to sleep.
Hybrid tea rose prior to pruning.
Hybrid tea rose prior to pruning.
Ready to be pruned after many blooms.
Ready to be pruned after many blooms.
Past its blooming season & ready to sleep.
Past its blooming season & ready to sleep.


  • Prune each rose bush to within 12" or less to the ground; making sure to expose healthy pith at the end of each cut.
  • Seal the end of each cut with a school glue or other water-based sealant.
  • Remove all canes less than the width of a regular-sized pencil.
  • Remove all canes growing toward the center of the bush.
  • Prune all deadwood and dying-wood canes.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Well-pruned and ready to cover.Ditto...
Well-pruned and ready to cover.
Well-pruned and ready to cover.


  • Mound existing dirt and mulch, or other organic material over the bud union of each bush.
  • Extend the mound of organic material as high as needed to cover most of the freshly-pruned canes. (It's OK to leave some cane tips exposed. Those will be taken care of during spring pruning).
  • Continue to mound additional organic material and push toward center of bush to create a cone-like appearance.

Examples of Mounded Bushes:

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bush with bud union and majority of canes covered.Another example...... and another.
Bush with bud union and majority of canes covered.
Bush with bud union and majority of canes covered.
Another example...
Another example...
... and another.
... and another.


Mounding, bedding, or covering rose bushes is the second step in rose winterizing.

The concept is pretty basic. Simply cover up the bud union (the point where the primary canes meet the main rootstock of the plant) with heavy organic material and continue to build up as much material as possible.

If possible, try to use as much soil near the base of the plant since it tends to maintain a more consistent temperature when insulated.


The finishing step in winterizing roses is what I call the final covering, or caging.

Basically, it's providing a "cage" around each bush (which can consist of any rigid, weatherable material) allowing for the final covering of organic material and top coat to remain in place.

I typically use wood since it holds up to the weather and can be re-used year after year.

NOTE: Material allowing for a lot of air infiltration has not worked as well for me in the past. Just an FYI.


  • Stake the bush to allow the "caging" material to remain in place.
  • Place caging barriers in place.
  • Cover the bush with light-weight organic material, i.e. leaves, chopped leaves, straw, etc. and work down into all voids around bush.
  • Top cover with a layer of heavier organic material, i.e. mulch or heavy straw.
  • Wait until spring to come :)

Images of "Caged" bushes:

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Rose bush just after putting up "cage"The same bush after first covering of organic material.The same bush after the final covering of heavier organic material.
Rose bush just after putting up "cage"
Rose bush just after putting up "cage"
The same bush after first covering of organic material.
The same bush after first covering of organic material.
The same bush after the final covering of heavier organic material.
The same bush after the final covering of heavier organic material.


These how to winterize rose tips are designed to give your roses their best chance to survive the bitterness of winter. At least they have in our garden.

Prepare yours for next year's buckets of blooms. ~


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great instructions, I am heading out to do this work on a beautiful sunny fall day.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I learned a lot today about roses. Amazing. :-) Thanks for putting this together.

    • Barbie-Perkins profile image


      9 years ago from Cincinnati, OH


      Great Hub! Very informative. I didn't realize there were so many steps to preparing rose bushes for winter. Thanks for sharing.

      Barbie Perkins

    • johnr54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 

      9 years ago from Texas

      Fortunately, in Texas we don't have to do quite as much, but when we lived in Chicago it was always part of the late fall ritual to prep the roses for the cold. Nice tips.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)