How to Grow Shrub Roses in Minnesota


Minnesota's chilly winters challenge a gardener looking to grow healthy flowers, but some types of shrub roses do well in that state if given the proper care and a good planting site. They are among the best roses for Minnesota since they survive the cold winters, notes the University of Minnesota Extension, and come in an array of colors. Some shrub roses are fragrant, while others are not; most bloom throughout the summer. Gardeners looking to establish a new shrub rose should purchase a healthy specimen from a local nursery in the spring.

Step 1

Select a site that offers your shrub rose room to grow and full sun in April. The sooner you put roses into the ground, the more settled the plants will be for winter, notes the University of Minnesota.

Step 2

Spread a 2 to 4 inch layer of compost or manure over the soil where you intend to plant the shrub rose bush. Turn the compost or manure over into the top 6 inches of the soil to disperse the nutrients.

Step 3

Dig a hole for the shrub rose that's twice the size of the rose plant's root ball. Remove rocks and roots from the hole before planting.

Step 4

Remove the rose bush from its container. Massage the root ball between your fingers to break it apart then trim the ends of broken roots before planting. Place the shrub rose into the prepared hole so it sits at the same depth in the soil as it did in the container.

Step 5

Fill in the hole with soil to finish planting the rose. Then water the newly planted shrub rose until the ground becomes saturated with water.

Step 6

Offer the shrub rose 1 inch of water per week unless you receive adequate rainfall that week.

Step 7

Deadhead spent roses so the plant puts its energy into developing new flowers. Use your fingers to pick off the spent blossom.

Step 8

Do not brush winter snow off shrub roses, since this serves as natural insulation against the cold, notes the University of Minnesota. If you've chosen the right type of rose for your area it may die back to the snow line--so parts that weren't covered with snow will die--but be fine underneath and regenerate in spring.

Step 9

Prune shrub roses lightly late in winter or early in spring, while the rose is dormant. Remove dead and diseased rose bush canes, which are gray to tan in color, not green. They may be discolored, bent or broken. Canes that died from winter chill will also be brown and can be removed.

Step 10

Fertilize shrub roses each spring when the plant gets new leaves, using a slow release rose fertilizer. Reapply fertilizer every time the shrub rose bears new blooms. Use the manufacturer's recommended dose range, based on the size of your shrub rose.

Tips and Warnings

  • The University of Minnesota notes that all gardeners should expect some amount of cold injury to roses in Minnesota, but that snow provides sufficient natural protection to prevent the entire shrub rose from dying.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Manure
  • Shovel
  • Shrub rose
  • Water
  • Pruning shears
  • Rose fertilizer


  • University of Minnesota: Selecting Hardy Roses for Northern Climates
  • Clemson University: Growing Roses
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension Service: Growing Roses
  • Growit: Minnesota Hardiness Zone
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Cold Hardiness

Who Can Help

  • University of Minnesota Extension: Selecting Hardy Roses for Northern Climates
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Yard & Garden News - Calendar
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Rose Cultivation Tips
Keywords: Minnesota rose plant, shrub rose Minnesota, grow rose bush

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.