The Q&A Archives: Container Roses

Question: I have a climbing Red Blaze on my roof deck. I have seen a lot of information about winterizing roses in the ground, but was wondering what steps I should take to protect my container rose. The container is a slated wooden "box" lined with black plastic and straw, about 24" long and 20" wide -- probably about 24" deep as well.

Answer: Overwintering container grown plants can be difficult. The problem is to insulate the roots from the cold, since often roots are less hardy than the tops. Blaze is a good hardy rose, and would winter just fine in your area without special protection if planted in the ground. So your main concern will be protecting the roots. The best thing to do would be to sink the root ball into the ground for the winter. Alternatively, the larger container is a good first step, and you will want to try to insulate it further by placing it in a location that is protected from the wind. Next, consider heaping soil or mulch all around the box, or wrapping it in burlap stuffed with a thick layer of fallen leaves, or any other method you can think of to keep that soil temperature as even as possible. Also mulch the soil surface and base of the plant itself and, last but not least, check to make surethe soil stays slightly moist but not sopping wet all winter. Good luck with your rose!

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