The rose is considered the finest and most beautiful of all flowers, but it also makes very high demands on its gardener. Hardly any other beauty is as difficult to care for as it is. Aphids, powdery mildew or rose rust, yellow leaves or unopened flowers, the variety of diseases bring some owners to the verge of desperation. But those who know their needs and look after them properly will enjoy their roses a lot. A good preparation for the winter lets the rose get through the cold season unscathed. If it is then gently awakened from its hibernation, it will thank you with healthy growth and abundant flowers in summer.
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Preparations for the winter
As a rule, roses are planted in autumn. The time of year for this is ideal if you want healthy and strong roses in your garden the following summer, which are sprouting vigorously and blooming profusely. For roses that are already in the garden, the actual preparation for winter now begins. At the end of August, the rose has been setting accents in the garden with its velvety flowers for many months. Nevertheless, it is now time for her to slowly settle down. By itself, the rose does not really know a phase of rest. Rather, it is forced by the external circumstances, the weather conditions, to slow down its metabolism and thus to hibernate.
Watering and fertilizing
- Fertilization with nitrogenous substrates will be discontinued in August. Otherwise the shoots will not lignify enough and freeze to death in winter.
- In addition, a special potassium fertilizer can be given to strengthen the wood in September.
- From now on it is advisable to water the rose only a little, otherwise the infestation with pests or diseases is promoted.
- If possible, roses should not be poured over the leaves. Because if the water cannot evaporate quickly, they often get sick. It is more clever to carefully pour the water only on the bottom.
Before the first long autumn rain and cold nights, all flowers are removed. Regardless of whether they have already faded or are still in bud. The cut in autumn is by no means intended to guide the rose into the right shape or to encourage it to grow. It is a preventive measure for wintering.
Correct pruning makes the rose robust. If you don’t cut the rose at all in autumn, you have to remove the leaves that are still hanging on the stem or later on the ground at shorter intervals, otherwise it can rot. This leads to damage and infection.
When the first frost occurs, usually in October or November, the rose can then be pruned back a little. For pruning before winter, an overcast but free day is best. A slight pruning has the advantage that the rose no longer has to distribute its energy to the shoots, but can concentrate it on the roots. A strong root is the ideal prerequisite for the rose to overwinter. If you really want to cut hard, you can generally cut back to a maximum of around the fourth eye (leaf base). In each case, however, the nature and the specific growth of the rose must be addressed individually.
In the autumn months, as is well known, the leaves fall from the trees – and also from the rose. You should definitely remove these leaves at regular intervals. In any case, the dead and diseased wood should be cut out of all roses. The cut must not be distributed in the garden or thrown on the compost, as pathogens can nest in it. It should be disposed of with household waste.
Winter is a real test for the rose. Strong and healthy plants are usually well prepared against the cold. Wild roses are somewhat more robust and resilient than cultivars. Roses are susceptible to frost and absolutely need protection in winter. If you forget to winterize the rose or think about it much too late, the gardener often has to complain about great damage. Sometimes the whole plant freezes to death in winter.
- in November temperatures are usually permanently low and the rose has lost all of its leaves
- Remove remaining leaves and dispose of with household waste
- At the same time check for fungal infestation or other diseases
- To hibernate, add soil, for example compost, to the trunk around the trunk
- Pour loose heaps of about 15 to 20 cm of earth around the trunk
- thus lower shoots with its leaf buds, also called eyes, as well as the roots are protected from frost
- In addition to overwintering roses, cover with fir twigs
- Do not water roses outdoors in winter
- additional supply of nutrients is not beneficial
- would encourage the plant to sprout again on warmer days
- however, new shoots are then too weak to survive the winter
Protection of the upper parts of the plant from frost
Roses that grow taller and are therefore not shortened so much also need protection for the upper parts of the plant in order to overwinter: They are completely wrapped up.
- Wrapping with fir branches is a good solution for wintering for climbing roses, on a rose arch or other supports
- Possibly tie branches carefully so that they do not fall off
- Other suitable materials are jute, sackcloth or anti-freeze fleece
- Carefully pull jute, tile or bed sheet over the crown and tie something up at the bottom
- Under no circumstances use plastic foils or bags as packing material
- Plastic cannot breathe and creates a bad climate inside the shell
- Plastic bags can be the cause of diseases
In most cases, tree roses are put down to overwinter. The crown and trunk are covered with fir branches or fleece. If the trunk is not flexible enough and it threatens to break off, it is not necessary to fold it down and cover the crown and trunk with sticks or jute sacks and tie them tight. If the trunk is in an upright position, in heavy snowfall you have to check how much snow has already remained on the packed crown. You have to remove snow hoods, otherwise the trunk could break due to the heavy load.
Plants in a tub or pot
If the rose is in a bucket or pot, it should be kept cool, dark and protected from the wind in winter. In this case, however, regular watering must not be forgotten. A garage is ideal for this. If a cool place is not available, the rose can also overwinter outdoors. To do this, you have to dig the whole pot with the plant deep into the ground, and pile it up as with garden roses.
Gentle awakening in spring
For roses that have spent months under a protective cover during the winter, it is a great shock when they are suddenly exposed to dry or cold winds again. The just awakening plant reacts very sensitively to the already strong March sun after overwintering. Therefore you should always remove the protection for the winter on a mild but cloudy or slightly cloudy spring day. When removing the soil protection (peeling off), the soil is also loosened up a little. However, care must be taken to ensure that the sensitive roots are not damaged. Around the time of the forsythia bloom, the final shape cut for the rose takes place.
If you cut too early, the rose will sprout on warmer days and is then at high risk of frost. Before cutting, you should check the rose shears, because only with sharp and well-adjusted scissors can you prevent the shoots from being crushed. Dead or damaged shoots are cut down to the healthy wood after winter. Thin or weakened shoots, like wild shoots, should be removed right up to their roots.
As a rule, pruning fast-growing rose varieties strongly, slow-growing rose varieties less. Not all shoots are cut to the same length: leave stronger shoots longer, shorten thinner ones more. You must remove dead shoots from underground, otherwise they will promote rot or fungal attack. Carefully expose the affected areas in the ground.
The first fertilization after wintering takes place in March. For preventive protection, the rose can be dusted with rock flour when it sprouts on a damp day. Individual positions will then be cut again in May. With the so-called pinching one achieves a stronger branching and a later flowering. If you overdo it, however, the rose may not bloom at all. This cut also removes the roots of rose rust and powdery mildew. Removed parts must not be distributed on the beds or in the compost, but must be disposed of with the residual waste.
Caring for the rose takes some effort, but the gardener is rewarded with lush flowers in summer. The most important detail when caring for roses is cutting the shoots. Proper shortening not only leads to bushy growth and abundant flowering, but also protects the rose from disease. If you protect your plants from the cold in winter by piling up soil and covering them with jute or brushwood, you can overwinter them easily and effectively.