How to Cover Rose Bushes for Winter


Roses are delicate flowers, and during the winter months their skeletons need protection from wind, frost and heavy rains or snow. Rose plants, according to Iowa State University, usually become dormant in late October to early November and need special care from this point forward. Covering roses for the winter protects the plant from cold weather, but there are several preparatory measures to perform to keep the canes from breaking under the pressure of snow before covering.

Step 1

Prune the canes gently to remove any dead or broken branches, and to reduce the height before covering, notes the University of Illinois Extension. Cut roses back to a uniform height, between 12 and 24 inches, at nodes.

Step 2

Tie the rose canes together with twine to keep winds from breaking them during the winter months.

Step 3

Pile a loose, well draining compost mix over the rose bush to a height of 10 to 12 inches to cover most of the canes.

Step 4

Cover the soil mound once it has frozen with another 10 to 12 inches of straw or leaves to keep the pile isolated and frozen throughout the winter, protecting the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Twine
  • Pruning shears
  • Potting soil mix
  • Straw or leaves


  • Iowa State University: Winter Preparations
  • University of Illinois Extension: Winter Protection
  • Ohio State University Extension: Fertilizing, Pruning and Winterizing Roses
Keywords: winterizing roses, winter protection roses, rose care

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.