Can a Rose Plant Spend the Winter Indoors?


Rose (Rosa spp.) plants may be simply transported inside during the winter if they are cultivated in pots instead of the ground. But if you want to make sure that you have access to the greatest indoor flowers all the way through the winter, you need to be aware of the natural inclination of roses to hibernate during the colder months. A time of dormancy will help your rose plant grow stronger and healthier in the spring, but it is feasible, with the appropriate amount of care, to enjoy flowering roses inside over the winter months.


Rose plants that are kept in containers may be taken within during the winter, but they can also be kept outside if they are given some degree of protection.

Consider Allowing Roses to Go Dormant

The plant will be in better condition if it is allowed to enter a state of dormancy or hibernation during the winter months, despite the fact that it may be tempting to attempt to maintain an indoor rose bush in bloom throughout the whole season. Dormancy is described as a natural time of rest that occurs in plants and enables them to save energy while also conserving water and nutrients, as stated in Jobe’s.

Because of the cold temperatures, lesser humidity, and decreased amount of sunshine, most plants, including roses, are unable to thrive in the optimum growth circumstances that winter provides. It is a waste of a rose plant’s resources and energy for it to try to develop during the winter months, thus roses have evolved to enter a state of dormancy when the temperature and the amount of sunshine change. When the leaves and blossoms on your roses begin to wilt and fall off, leaving just the woody stems, you will know that your roses are getting ready to enter their dormant phase.

It is interesting to note that when a plant is dormant, the roots continue to expand, while the plant’s delicate tissues aboveground perish so that they are not damaged by the cold temperatures. The plant’s roots will continue to collect and store nutrients throughout the winter, which will ensure that the plant has enough supplies for a period of rapid expansion in the spring.

Preventing Dormancy in Indoor Roses

The primary environmental triggers that cause a plant to enter a dormant state are lower temperatures and longer nighttime periods. You have a higher chance of avoiding indoor roses from turning dormant if you maintain temperatures that are consistently warm and give them with artificial light when the sunshine begins to fade. In the autumn, when your roses are still flowering well and their leaves have not yet turned colour or fallen off, it is time to bring your potted roses inside.

Make sure the temperature of the air within the house stays between 60 and 70 degrees and that the roses are always exposed to sunshine. For instance, as the days get shorter, you can programme a grow light to turn on a couple of hours before sunset and to remain on until the time of your region’s typical late-summer sunset, which is probably around 8 o’clock in the evening. This will help your plants adjust to the shorter amount of daylight. There is a possibility that the rose will not undergo dormancy if the winter is not accompanied by longer nights.

Because the air during the winter months has a tendency to be dry, maintaining an appropriate level of humidity may also assist avoid dormancy. You may make a humidity tray by putting a few bricks in a tray and then filling the tray with water until it is almost completely covered by the bricks. This should leave about a quarter of an inch of space between the water and the bricks. Place the rose pot on top of the bricks, making sure that the water does not reach the pot, since this might result in the roots becoming wet. The surrounding air will continue to have a high humidity even after the water in the tray has evaporated.

Caring for a Potted Rose in Winter

You will need to fertilise your potted rose generously if you want it to bloom all winter long and continue to develop healthily come spring. This helps make up for the loss of nutrient storage that would typically occur during the dormant phase of the plant’s life cycle. It is recommended by Millcreek Gardens that roses planted in containers get monthly applications of a water-soluble fertiliser that has been designed especially for rose plants.

Roses grown in containers need more water than those grown in the ground since the soil used for container gardening is often quite sandy and drains water quickly. Some materials used to make pots, like clay, may also have a drying impact on the contents of the pot. It is preferable to water a rose plant that is contained inside a container once every day or every other day. Roses that are planted directly into the ground may get 1 to 2 inches of water once per week.

Roses grown in containers thrive when the soil contains about one third that is rich, free-draining, and oxygenated. When you repot roses on a regular basis, you help prevent the soil from being compacted and ensuring that plenty of organic nutrients continue to be accessible to the plant. You are able to repot roses annually, and you should aim to have organic humus make up about one-third of the soil’s overall composition. Before transplanting, make sure the new soil has a pH that is slightly lower than the old soil by doing a soil test (between 5.5 and 7).

Caring for Dormant Roses Indoors and Out

If you have roses planted in the ground and are anxious that they may perish over the course of the winter, avoid the urge to bring them inside just so you can dig them up and bring them in. Even while roses can tolerate quite a bit of frost, it is essential to make sure that they are not subjected to sudden shifts in temperature. This is due to the fact that any water that may still be present in their residual tissues (such as the roots or crown) may freeze, which may cause the cells to swell and break apart. This risk of damage is increased when there is a rapid succession of freezing and thawing cycles.

Therefore, the easiest approach to care for roses throughout the winter is to simply let them fall dormant and then “tuck them into bed” for the season. This will ensure that they have the highest chance of survival. To reduce the size of the canes to something more manageable, clip them back using sterile pruning shears, making cuts that are clean and angled about a quarter of an inch above a bud that faces outward. The canes should then be wrapped in twine, and leaves should be piled over the whole rose plant, including the canes. If the leaf pile is unruly or if there is an issue with wind in your region, you may either cover the mound with burlap and stake it to the ground, or you can make an enclosure around the rose plant out of chicken wire to keep the leaves contained.

Even when they are dormant, rose bushes that are growing in pots outside on your patio or balcony may be brought inside to continue their growth. It is not necessary for them to be placed in front of a window while they are dormant; nonetheless, they should be kept cold and kept away from an excessive amount of artificial light so that they do not emerge from their state of dormancy too soon. Create a chicken wire cage that will fit around the whole potted rose plant if you intend on leaving it outdoors and protecting it from potential predators. Put some straw or mulch around the outside of the container, and then put some leaves around the rose plant.

Varieties That Tolerate Less Light

If you are making preparations in advance and have not decided on a specific variety of rose yet, choose one that can survive with less light. Because of this, it will have a better chance of flourishing inside, where it may be challenging to provide plants with hours of direct sunshine. The vast majority of roses need at least six hours of sunlight each day, although there are several species and variations that may thrive in shadow. Rose varieties such as ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe,’ ‘Francis Dubreuil,’ ‘Julia Child,’ and ‘French Lace,’ amongst others, are recommended for growing in shadow by the American Rose Society.

Heirloom Roses asserts that there are a number of unexpected advantages to cultivating shade-tolerant roses in your garden. For instance, the vibrant colours of the blossoms that form on roses that are cultivated in the shade last longer than those that are exposed to direct sunlight. It’s possible that reduced exposure to UV rays is to blame for this. A longer length of time is required for the fragrance to dissipate from shaded rose flowers.

The second characteristic to seek for is a rose variety that is successful when grown in pots. Instead of a climbing rose, you should go for a shrub rose of a modest size. You may also limit down your options by considering additional traits that are important to you, such as a certain colour, flowers that endure a long time, or stems that are almost devoid of thorns. According to David Austin Roses, you may try growing ‘Olivia Rose Austin’ if you want a rose that is tolerant of containers and shade and has spectacular pink flowers, or you could try growing ‘Roald Dahl’ if you want dramatic blooms in an apricot hue.