The Q&A Archives: Winter Care

Question: I purchased a Flower Carpet Groundcover Rose. It was trimmed to about 3-4 feet tall to give the appearance of a little tree with roses. It is beutiful and I love it but now that winter is coming I need to know how to preserve it through the winter months so I may enjoy it come spring. The trunk has is wrapped with a steak to keep it straight. Can you tell me how to preserve it?

Joyce Krivak

Answer: Although the Flower Carpet rose itself is quite winter hardy, this plant has been high grafted to create a patio tree rose form. The exposed graft is not able to endure the cold winter temperatures in your area, so you will have to protect it each winter. You can either bring it inside to a cool place in late fall or bury it in a trench outside in late fall.

If you bring it indoors, store it in a location that is dark and cool such as an unheated basement or garage. It should be about 35 to 40 degrees. Keep the soil slightly damp (not bone dry) and do not fertilize it. Bring it inside in late fall and take it back outside in early spring so it can wake up naturally with the season. This works better if you grow it year round in a large container.

To bury it, dig a deep trench and set the container and all in it. Refill and cover with a deep layer of insulating mulch. Do this in late fall and then dig it up in early spring. If it is planted in the ground, you will have to cut the roots on one side so it will bend over.

With either method, you can trim the rose back by about half (just the branches, do not damage the graft) in the late fall prior to storage. Then in the spring trim it a bit more to tidy it up. Resume normal fertilizing and watering in the spring. Also, check that the ties are not cutting into the "trunk" and loosen them as needed.

Good luck with your tree rose!

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