The “magic plant” of the convertible rose is justifiably popular because such a miraculous change in the color of the flowers, such as the one that goes through it, is always fascinating. It also brings life to the garden and patio by attracting birds and butterflies. By the way, here you will find everything you need to know about caring for the convertible rose from spring to autumn.

Winter possibilities

If you want to know how a plant wants to be overwintered, it is advisable to take a look at the origins of these plants. First of all, it depends on the original home of the convertible roses:

  • The lantana camara on the large verbena family has spread across the world from Central America and southern North America.
  • It has now developed into around 150 species, only a few of which are cultivated, but these in many varieties.
  • The Lantanas were able to record the greatest successes in spreading wherever it is really warm and preferably also moist and warm.
  • That is why the convertible florets are viewed as invasive plants in the tropics and subtropics, and people are skeptical about their proliferation.
  • In South Africa z. B. no convertible florets are planted in gardens because they spread too much.

We do not have these problems of spreading, convertible roses do not feel so comfortable in our climate that they feel the desire to start “campaigns of conquest” in the area. To be more precise: With us, a Lantana invasion would have to work its way from living room to living room, because even at slightly sub-zero temperatures, convertible florets die, which tells us a lot about the wintering possibilities of these beautiful plants.

The origin of the individual plant also determines the cold tolerance

  • If you found a green rose grown in your home climate, you might slowly get used to lower temperatures.
  • Then it would be possible under certain circumstances to have a certain frost tolerance in a few generations so that some buckets could hibernate in a protected manner.
  • But convertible roses will probably never be able to cope with a winter in the coldest regions of Germany.
  • And most of the green roses that are bought from us were grown in horticultural companies that supply German dealers from Tuscany or South Tyrol or from other locations where the weather is a lot friendlier than here.

As a result, it should be noted that you can either only cultivate your Lantana as an annual or have to overwinter frost-free. However, there are quite a few different options for doing this:

1. Hibernate convertible florets in the living room

In its warm home regions, the convertible rose does not take a break in winter, the normal evergreen tropical plant grows all year round. Because there is a point when a plant sheds its leaves: it is a protective measure for the plant to reduce the risk of drying out in times of shortage such as a frosty winter. If the climatic conditions are always largely constant, the plant is not dependent on such survival strategies, but can develop its leaves throughout the year. These leaves are also “disposed of” at some point, but they reach an age of at least one year and in some evergreen plants even 45 years, but a leaf life of more than five years is quite rare.

Because that is the case, you can easily overwinter your Lantana in a heated living room, for example in a flower window. The convertible rose will then continue to be watered and fertilized as normal, and it will probably also bloom during the winter months. However, such overwintering in our climate means a lot of stress for a green rose, which weakens it and is therefore susceptible to pest infestation, even in the next summer season.

2. The best for the Lantana: overwintering in a cold house

(Sub) tropical plants, which actually suffer from deficiencies in our climate anyway, because our light intensity and humidity at best approach their real needs, benefit from a break. You can give these plants such a break by artificially forcing them to rest.

To do this, put the convertible rose in a light and cool place before the first frost, where temperatures can be kept around 10 degrees permanently. This can be the classic cold house, i.e. an unheated greenhouse in which a temperature monitor ensures that the interior has (certain) positive temperatures. But that can also be a cool, bright staircase or a bright winter garden, in which these temperatures can be guaranteed. The temperature at the parking space of a Lantana can drop to 5 degrees for a short time, but better not for too long.

If the winter quarters are actually not really suitable as permanent quarters, because you z. B. would much rather heat your conservatory a little more in winter or because your convertible rose battery in the stairwell causes the neighbor to protest, you could resort to a trick: You consciously expose the convertible florets to temperatures between 5 and 8 degrees for a short time, that is This can still be done on the patio in late autumn and will usually cause them to shed their leaves quite quickly.

3. An alternative if necessary: ​​wintering in a dark cellar

When the green roses have separated from their leaves, you can now easily overwinter them in the dark, for example in a basement with a suitable temperature – without leaves they no longer need any light. If there is no other way, you can immediately place your convertible rose in the dark room, which will force it to shed the leaves pretty quickly.

4. Can convertible florets hibernate in the garden?

If you planted your convertible rose in the garden or on the balcony in the summer, it must have been good for it, because the light intensity outdoors is ten to a hundred times as high as that indoors. Don’t be fooled, however, if your convertible rose now looks ten to a hundred times stronger than it did when you bought it – it remains a tropical plant that cannot do anything with a slight minus temperature to overwinter a lantana in the garden , you would have to install a heater around the roots.

In any case, it is more effective if you take the Lantana out of the earth again with a sufficiently large root ball and put it in a bucket, which is now overwintered as just described.

Prune the convertible rose before the hibernation

It helps to enter the resting phase if you shorten the shoots by about a third before hibernation. Tying the remaining twigs together (carefully!) Also reduces the evaporation surface a little more and lets the rose flower “gently slumber” faster. In addition, both measures give the Lantana a beautifully compact shape, which can save a lot of space in winter quarters.

The care of the convertible rose in hibernation

When it has gone into hibernation, you should continue to water your rose flower moderately so that neither moisture builds up nor the roots dry out completely. The cooler a convertible rose is in winter quarters, the less you have to and are allowed to water. If you were to rest with too much water, you would really damage the convertible rose, so always check whether the surface of the potting soil feels really dry before you add more water.

The Lantana is not fertilized at all during hibernation, the first fertilizer is only needed when the new shoot has reached leaf size in the next year.

Caution: when resting, convertible florets are likely to be attacked by pests

As I said, the winter quarters for a convertible rose are not exactly the environment they have dreamed of, regardless of whether it is light or dark. And that can have consequences:

  • Staying in winter quarters weakens the plant, and with the growth, the immune system also decreases.
  • This is often noticeable in the fact that you no longer have to offer decisive resistance to whitefly and other pests.
  • You should therefore regularly check the plant for pest infestation when it is in winter quarters.
  • If you notice pests, you should counter them immediately (e.g. with a soap solution or white oils).
  • It is not uncommon for Lantanas to be attacked by a fungus in winter.
  • This often only becomes noticeable when a convertible rose develops black leaves when it sprouts.
  • Then you should cut back each infected shoot clearly to the healthy area.
  • As a rule, the convertible florets recover in spring if you carefully winterize them (put them in the shade in the first few days).
  • You should also not over-fertilize such plants and place them outdoors in a sunny and at the same time airy location.
  • Otherwise it can happen, even when wintering in a cold house in accordance with the regulations at almost exactly 10 degrees, that the convertible rose loses all of its leaves more or less quickly.
  • This is normal, the difference in temperature and light is usually just too great, even in a cold house.
  • Except for the fact that the Lantana looks really sad, that doesn’t matter, it’s actually even the point of winter rest.
  • Because next spring the plant will have an even greater interest in making up for all leaf losses through new shoots, and it will have enough energy reserves for this during the winter dormancy.

Preparing for summer 

The “poor convertible rose” suffers such a time of misery in the German winter and is only offered such a short time in summer when it feels really sunny and comfortable that it should be pampered a little in spring so that it can optimally prepared for the summer season. Here’s what you can do to ensure that your convertible rose has as much of the summer as possible:

  • As early as February you should put the convertible rose in a slightly warmer environment.
  • Immediately before you do that, trim down the existing shoots by another third.
  • If you haven’t pruned your Lantana in the fall, it can even be half.
  • This pruning decides whether the convertible rose will set abundant flowers on the new shoots.
  • Because over time, changing florets bloom less and less on the older shoots, the most beautiful flowers appear on the annual wood.
  • All shoots formed during the wintering are also allowed to go away, these “weaklings” are only a kind of self-defense.
  • Hold back with watering and fertilizing until the plant has developed reasonably strong new shoots.
  • When the ice saints are over in mid-May and there is definitely no risk of frost, the Lantana can go outside.
  • But please do not put it directly in the sun immediately, as this could quickly burn the leaves.
  • Rather, the changing rose gets a grace period of a few days in the shade or under a parasol.
  • So it can slowly get used to the direct sunlight and a little later enjoy the summer season to the fullest.


Once you have made friends with wintering, nothing stands in the way of purchasing a convertible rose. If you read the horror news about the toxicity of the lantana and have children around the house – yes, it is true that convertible florets contain toxins, especially in the (unripe) berries that look a little like blackberries. They should certainly not be placed in the play area by children who are still too small and incomprehensible to obey a warning about consuming the berries. On the other hand: Especially for children, watching the color change of a convertible rose is a small sensation, and that one should not put every plant in the mouth, children should urgently learn as soon as they are old enough – in addition, children would have to eat quite a lot of convertible florets to take,

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