How to Grow & Shape Rose Bushes in Canada


Heat-loving roses growing in cold-weather Canada thrive with extra care. The attention given to the roses in the spring, summer and fall will determine how the bush will weather the winter. Roses are heavy feeders and water lovers, so timed fertilizer applications and regular waterings are mandatory. Plant roses in a site that gets six hours of sun a day, is well-drained and away from tree roots and roof overhangs. Double dig the bed 12 inches deep three weeks before planting and add well-rotted manure, compost and peat moss.


Step 1

Prune repeat blooming roses such hybrid teas, floribundas and grandifloras when they are full of red leaf buds in spring. Cut canes ¼ of an inch above a bud on a slant to stimulate growth, encourage blooms and eliminate pests .

Step 2

Remove dead, damaged and discolored canes close to the base. Cut back or remove canes smaller than a pencil in the bush's center to create room for air circulation and light penetration. Prune all crossed or rubbing canes back to healthy growth, and cut suckers below the root graft.

Step 3

Prune back 2/3 of the bush as necessary to shape by removing all canes outside the desired form.

Step 4

Mulch with finely shredded peat moss or cedar chips around the base to a depth of 4 inches to reduce weeds, bacteria and retain moisture.


Step 1

Fertilize repeat blooming roses three to four weeks after pruning. Sprinkle rose food around the base of the plant, scratch lightly into the soil and water thoroughly with a drip system or soaker hose.

Step 2

Prune single-flowering roses lightly just after blooms fade so the bush has time to produce new canes for next year's flower crop.

Step 3

Remove all spent flowers by cutting 1/4 of an inch above a new bud at the first five leaf cluster. Deadhead continuously to keep the bush producing flowers.

Step 4

Feed bushes rose food in June just before the peak of bloom. Repeat in mid-July, then stop so the plant can harden off for winter. Follow the label instructions for dosage amount.

Step 5

Give each plant 2 gallons of water once a week; more during hot, dry spells. Water with a soaker hose in the early morning so foliage is dry by evening.

Fall and Winter

Step 1

Trim canes to 28 inches in zones 2 to 4 in fall. Clear debris from the beds. Place a newspaper collar around the base and fill with soil or peat moss 16 to 20 inches just before freeze up. Apply 2 gallons of water per plant and cover to a depth of 8 to 12 inches with straw, branches or wood chips, allowing it to stay frozen even during Chinook winds.

Step 2

Mound soil 8 to 12 inches around the base in zones 5 to 6. Cover with leaves or evergreen branches for additional protection when the ground freezes.

Step 3

Pile soil around the base up to 12 inches for tender cultivars in zones 7 to 9.

Step 4

Watch for cracks in the soil from frost heaves (extreme temperature changes). Fill with water or soil. Replace any winter covering that is blown away or damaged. Cover with snow and maintain an insulating layer of snow over the base all winter.

Tips and Warnings

  • Remove canes and foliage debris from rose beds to prevent fungal, bacterial and other diseases.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruners
  • Alcohol
  • Rose fertilizer
  • Bone Meal
  • Newspaper
  • Straw


  • Toronto Botanical Garden: Pruning Roses
  • Canadian Rose Society: Planting and Care
Keywords: roses in Canada, shaping rose bushes, growing Canadian roses

About this Author

TS Owen spent her career in journalism, winning the national Koop science writer award and penning articles in "Newsweek" and the "San Francisco Chronicle." She also served as an editor for a variety of publications in the San Francisco Bay Area and Banff, Alberta. Owen has a master's degree in English education.