How do I store new rose plants here in Michigan until it’s time to plant them?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Cheryl in Michigan: I assume that you have purchased your roses in nursery pots as container grown plants. Until the soil thaws and can be worked, the roses should be healed in. They are perfectly hardy but living in containers instead of the ground, they are more susceptible to root damage due to winter weather. So, to prevent this from happening it is best to keep your roses in a protected spot, up against some type of foundation and huddled together. Pine straw bales, bags of mulch, or even soil work great for insulation; it would be even better if you can get some of the mulch on top of the soil in the container. The idea is to keep them warm and cozy until the soil can be worked and you can get them in the ground. You can keep them in the garage as well but they will not be exposed to any natural moisture, so it will be up to you to make sure they do not completely dry out. Plants certainly do not require as much moisture during the colder months but it is still essential for their survival. If roots dry out for an extended period of time, the plant will eventually die. If the roots are dry during dormancy the plant is more susceptible to winter damage. Wherever you decide to keep the roses just make sure you water them every couple of weeks.