Overwintering pots of roses

What is the best method that you have found to overwinter potted roses? I want to be able to think ahead on this one. Hopefully I can improve on what I am doing already.

until the last winter I overwintered my potted ladies into the garage. As the garage is some meters apart the house, it will depend on the winter. Some of them survived!

good luck!


I bury them in the vegetable garden. You have to protect the root ball from fluctuations in temperature and severe freezing until your last frost date in spring. I learned this the hard way some years ago when we had an Easter freeze after I’d already pulled some pots out of the ground :frowning: I’m in zone 4, though–if you are in a warmer zone you may be able to get away with less spade work.

For me, the garage was always a death sentence for potted roses over winter. Same with my greenhouse. I am in zone 6 and the temps in the garage and greenhouse were too warm for dormancy and too cold for growth and just perfect for mold.

Buying the pots is the best way for me. It is worth the time for those really hopeful seedlings. In the least, put the pots in an area protected from the wind.


I don’t know what zone you are in. Presently I live in Richmond, VA. I had had a lot of trees cut down and had the tree cutter save me the woodchip piles (3). I had a lot of roses in pots , bought and from cuttings, since we were thinking about moving so everything got potted up (I had had the experience of digging up roses and flying them across the country [my baggage, lol, forget clothes, etc.] and then having to quickly dig them into the earth. I didn’t want to go through that again.) The pots were all above ground. As winter approached, I had a dilemna.

I leveled each pile of wood chips with a rake and then easily “planted” my potted roses in the wood chips. They did very well and actually thrived. When it rained, the wood chips absorbed the water and yet was well aerated. In time the roots grew into the surrounding woodchips. They were healthy and grew vigorously. I would say this is ok for a max of 3 years.

I am moving back to Long Island, NY also zone 7a though a colder one in the near future. Many of my potted roses I dug up and moved them pots and all to NY. Since they had been so long in the wood chip berms, I had to root prune quite a bit and prune the tops as well(had to fit in the car). Most I planted in the ground. I had also had two raised beds made with 6 or 8" boards. In these I placed subsequent pots right on the ground( a layer of carboard first to discourage weeds) and then filled around each pot with wood chips. Some of them have been in this situation two winters and are doing well.

So, if your zone is not too much colder, I would suggest you get a big pile of wood chips (often free for the asking from a tree cutter) and then level them with a rake and “plant” the pots in the chips up to their rims. Fresh chips are easy to dig into and I didn’t find the freshness of the chips adversely affecting the plants. Hope this helps.


PS-One of the Garden Web members discussed this problem at some length and I believe the conclusion was that the roots were more sensitive to the cold weather than the canes, hence the roots would be better buried. Also, a study was done in an old ARS manual where roses in a bed protected from the wind did much better than an adjacent duplicate bed where the canes were exposed. Some sort of fencing around the bed would reduce the wind damage also.