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How to Grow Shrub Roses in Minnesota

By Elton Dunn ; Updated September 21, 2017
Shrub roses do well in Minnesota.
roses rose, rose.. image by Christophe Hamerlik from Fotolia.com

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.


Things You Will Need

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


  • Choose a shrub rose cultivar from the recommended list of hardy roses for Minnesota gardeners, since they will survive the state's climate of hardiness zones 3 and 4.


  • 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.

About the Author


A successful website writer since 1998, Elton Dunn has demonstrated experience with technology, information retrieval, usability and user experience, social media, cloud computing, and small business needs. Dunn holds a degree from UCSF and formerly worked as professional chef. Dunn has ghostwritten thousands of blog posts, newsletter articles, website copy, press releases and product descriptions. He specializes in developing informational articles on topics including food, nutrition, fitness, health and pets.