The Q&A Archives: Winterizing "flower Carpet" Groundcover Roses

Question: My husband and I just purchased a townhome in Zone 5, and for the first time got to do some planting this fall. Our "Flower Carpet" groundcover roses are doing well, but winter is upon us! Your booklet says to "protect from extreme cold over the first winter," but being entirely new to gardening, we don't know what material to use to protect them. Also, does "extreme cold" mean freezing? Any other helpful information regarding winter preparation for this type of rose would be especially helpful. Many thanks!

Answer: Extreme cold will mean the coldest lows of deep winter -- the below zero kind of cold, especially if there is no snow cover. A little frost will not hurt these plants at all. These plants are very winter hardy. You would want to mulch them well in late fall, meaning apply a generous layer of organic mulch such as shredded bark over the root zone. If they are in a windy location, you might want to provide them with a windbreak such as a section of snow fence or a wall of burlap to slow the wind down. Also, make sure they are well watered (the soil should be moist, not sopping wet) during the fall and up until the ground freezes. These are very low maintenance roses, and the little bit of extra care the first year while they are still becoming established should help them bounce back quickly in the spring. Enjoy your roses!

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