Can Roses Survive Winter in Pots? Here’s What to Do and When

If you have roses in pots in your yard, you might ask … can roses survive winter in pots? That’s what I’m going through today so you can avoid coming out of winter to ruined pots of roses!

Here’s the quick answer, then we’ll get into more details…

To help your roses can survive winter in pots, after the initial frost, roses in pots kept outside should have pots wrapped in plastic, you could also bring the pots indoors, or bury the pots in the ground. You could pile straw, leaves, or mulch around and over the pots to cover them.

Can roses survive winter in pots?

So it is possible to keep roses in pots over winter, and there are some steps you can take to help your roses survive the chilly months.

Below are some methods, along with top tips for overwintering roses and storing them over winter.

Before I dive in, a quick important note from me is to not add any nutrients to your roses from late summer. You do not want to encourage new growth as you head into the winter season.

Also, just to mention, remove most of your rose hips if any have developed. But as my other article points out, you may want to leave some on the bush before wintering them.

should you cut off rose hips

Before winter

1. Prune your rose bushes before cold weather sets in. Pruning helps manage the size of the plant, giving it a better chance of withstanding the cold.

Prune off damaged or dead branches, and reduce the size of other stems by up to one-third.

2. Protect your plants from the coldest air temperatures. Once frost arrives in your area, wrapping your pots in plastic can help retain some heat.

3. Moving your roses indoors can provide complete protection. Put the roses in a bright, cool spot, and make sure to water them when needed.

If you need to move your potted roses outdoors during the day, bring them back in during freezing temperatures. Ideal for up to Zones 1 and 2.

3. Add insulation material around the pot. This will help protect against cold winter winds and frosts.

If leaving your roses in pots outside, try completely covering the pots in a light mulch such as straw or shredded leaves, which will help keep the roots warm and provide insulation. Ideal for zones 3 to 5.

4. Use frost cloth or containers to keep roses warm. If burying and/or mulching are not options you can consider frost cloth, or wrapping the pots in containers such as cardboard boxes or plastic tubs to keep your roses warm.

5. Bury the pots in the ground. If you have a sheltered area in your garden that is unlikely to get snowed in, burying the pots up to their rims can be a good winter protection solution.

You should then also add mulch over the top of the soil in the pot. This will help protect the roots from fluctuating temperatures and provide insulation from cold winds. Ideal for zones 6-9.

This hardiness zone map may help. Now I’ll move on to what to do during winter…

World Hardiness Zones
World Hardiness Zones

During winter

6. Make sure to water your roses regularly during winter. This is important if they’re located in a warmer spot. If the soil is too dry, it can damage roots and stunt growth.

7. Monitor the roses. Do this to ensure they are not receiving too much exposure to cold, that they have sufficient watering, and are still getting some sunlight.

can roses survive winter in pots
rose in winter

As you can see from the images, some roses are hardy in winter. Click the link further down to check out which roses you can grow that will survive reasonable winter conditions.

After winter

8. Put the rose back in its pre-winter position. Unwrap any plastic that has been used around the roses, and remove any mulch or frost cloth. Or remove the pots from the ground.

9. Feed your potted roses in early spring. This will help them recover from winter. Use a high-potassium fertilizer and make sure not to overfeed them.

10. Prune them lightly. The roses may need light pruning in the spring to keep their shape and encourage growth.


In case you’re wondering, in my area I put my roses under a cold frame which works well. It’s definitely warm enough in there to keep them safe from potential frost.

Cold frames are cheap enough on Amazon and work well. So it’s worth considering one. Here’s the kind of cold frame that should be suitable on Amazon.

So I hope my list has provided some helpful advice on overwintering roses in pots. Now

Now I’ll offer some hints and tips, some of which are included in the above methods, but you may find a couple of my nuggets in this list too.

potted rose bush

Can roses survive winter in pots? – Hints and Tips:

  • If you live in an area with harsh winters and move your potted roses indoors for the season. Try to place them near a window where they will still get plenty of sunlight. This will save you from moving them outside to get the light.
  • In areas with milder winters, be sure to check your roses regularly for signs of damage from frost. If you see this occurring, then rethink your rose overwintering strategy.
  • Covering the pots with mulch or a frost cloth can help protect them from harsh weather conditions. I do find this, is an ideal solution for many areas.
  • When overwintering roses, make sure to keep the soil moist but not too wet.
  • In early spring, give your potted roses a high-phosphorus fertilizer to stimulate blooming.
  • You can also prune your roses to reduce the number of stems and leaves, which will help
  • Finally, check your potted roses regularly for pests or diseases during the winter months to make sure they are healthy and ready to bloom when warmer weather arrives.

I’ll just now cover a few related questions covering the question can roses survive winter in pots…

Can mini roses survive winter in pots?

Yes, mini roses can survive the winter in pots. It is important to provide them with proper care and protection to ensure successful overwintering.

Much the same as rose bushes in pots, make sure that you give your potted mini roses enough nutrients, water, and sunlight throughout the winter months.

Additionally, be sure to insulate the pot of soil with mulch or straw where required. Mini roses are usually easier to bring indoors.

mini rose in window

The rest of the time, here’s my post on where to put miniature roses.

What temperature will kill roses?

Some roses are winter hardy, but extreme cold or frost can damage or even kill them. Ideally, roses should be protected from temperatures below 32°F (0°C).

In very cold areas, mulching or covering the rose bush with plastic sheeting and burlap is recommended to protect against frost.

Look at my article below for rose options to grow in cold climates.

When to cover roses for winter

Protection should be applied to the rose bush as soon as temperatures start dropping below 32°F (0°C). It is important to remember that a covering of snow is not sufficient protection from frost and cold.

Once temperatures have dropped, cover the entire plant with mulch or straw. If you wish, you can also cover the rose bush with plastic sheeting and burlap.

Watering roses in winter

It is important to water the rose bush regularly during the winter months, as dry soil can cause damage or even kill a potted rose.

During this time of year, it is best to water from underneath the plant using a saucer.

This will ensure that the water is evenly distributed throughout the soil, and will prevent any damage to the roots.

Fertilizing your roses in winter

It is not necessary to fertilize potted roses during the winter months. Instead, wait until spring before you begin fertilizing again. This will encourage new growth at the right time.

can roses survive winter in pots

Can roses survive winter in pots? – Round Up 🌹

By following these steps, you can ensure that your rose bushes will survive the cold winter months and live to bloom again when temperatures start to warm up!

With the right care and attention, your potted roses will make a welcome return to your garden in the spring.

michael - rosehow

Hi, I’m Michael. My passion for roses was sparked a few years ago after visiting a dedicated community rose garden. So represents my take, my learnings, and my help for anyone looking to grow, be proud of, and harvest roses.