How to Winterize a Climbing Rose Plant


If you live in USDA cold hardiness zones 5 or lower and have roses that are not cold hardy to your zone, you will need to provide them protection against cold winter wind and ice. Grafted roses in particular will need to be protected, and most climbing roses are grafted. To tell if your climbing rose has been grafted, look at the trunk. A graft will show as a bulging area about 6 inches up from the ground.

Step 1

Discontinue applying fertilizer by mid-August. You should also discontinue deadheading in September. A climbing rose will commence hardening for winter starting in September as colder evenings occur.

Step 2

Remove the ties holding the cane to the fence, trellis or other structure before the end of October. If you want to mimic the same layout of the climbing rose, then reattach the ties at the same location as markers.

Step 3

Bend the cane to the ground gently. To keep it from moving, use stakes, landscape pins or a canvas tossed over the plant and held down at the perimeter with dirt or rocks.

Step 4

Apply a 6- to 8-inch layer of dirt on top of the rose plant followed by 4 inches of mulch or leaves. There should be at least 12 inches of thickness to provide sufficient protection.

Step 5

Wear thick gloves to protect your hands as you brush off the topping in early spring, and then reapply a single layer of mulch. This will help to gradually expose the climbing rose plant to cold, but not freezing temperatures. Examine the plant every few days; when you see buds forming, you can uncover the plant and re-secure it to the structure.

Things You'll Need

  • Wooden stakes
  • Mulch


  • Winter Protection for Roses
  • Kansas State University" Climbing Roses--Winter Protection
  • Applicable USDA cold hardiness zones
Keywords: climbing roses, winterize roses, rose care

About this Author

Barbara Raskauskas's favorite pursuits are home improvement, landscape design, organic gardening and blogging. Her Internet writing appears on SASS Magazine, AT&T and various other websites. Raskauskas is active in the small business she and her husband have owned since 2000 and is a former MS Office instructor.