The Q&A Archives: Climbing roses in containers

Question: When is the best time to transplant roses in containers? What can I do to protect the roses from freezing temps? When is the best time to prune them?

Answer: In my experience early fall or very early spring are the best times to transplant roses and other shrubs. You can plant your rose now and water it in well. In a few weeks, when frost is predicted, protect the bud union (graft) on the main stem by mounding soil over it. I usually place a wire cylinder over my rose bushes, pile in soil until the graft is covered, then add dried leaves or straw to fill the cylinder. This protection will help your rose bush make it through the winter months. In the spring, remove the cylinder and rake the material onto the top of the bed to act as a mulch. In March, when the buds swell, prune your roses by reducing the height of the canes to 18-24" above ground level, then remove all but the strongest 3-5 canes. New growth will emerge from these canes and will produce lots of foliage and lovely flowers. Enjoy!

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