Roses are lush, colorful plants and are popular in both home and garden. These are warm-weather summertime plants that act quite different during winter, and require different care and protection during that time. Successful rose gardeners understand how to amend their care between the summer rose garden and the winter rose garden.
In most areas, roses begin to sprout and bloom in mid-May and continue through to September and October. During this growing and blooming season, they need full sun, plenty of water and regular feedings. At the end of the season, they grow dormant and must be prepared for the winter temperatures.
Preparation for Winter
According to The Rose Gardening Guru, gardeners should allow two to three hard frosts to pass before they prepare the rose garden for winter. Preparations include cutting back spent blooms and dead foliage, cutting long canes to 2 to 4 feet in length, and mounding mulch or soil around the base of the plants to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.
During winter, when rose bushes are dormant, they don't require any special care or fertilizing. They should still receive full sun and an inch of water a week, but should not receive fertilizer. In areas that don't drop below 20 degrees F, roses need no other protection.
Many roses are not hardy in extreme cold during the winter, and they grow best in areas that get mild winter temperatures. In cooler areas like Hardiness Zone 6 and lower, roses require additional protection like extra mulch and wrapping during the winter. In some areas, it's a good idea to bring roses inside during the winter.
The Rose Gardening Guru states that a good attempt at pruning is better than no pruning at all when it comes to roses, and that early spring is the best time for pruning. Cut back roses in February or March to encourage spring and summer blooms. Cut off any dead wood and branches that rub or pass through the center of the bush according to the shape of growth you want.