My son got me Knock Out roses and I’m worried they will die during the winter if I leave them outside. They are still in the nursery container they were bought in; I have no shed or anything to keep them out of the winter weather. Is it okay to keep them inside during the winter? If so how do I need to take care of them while they are inside? These are my first roses and I love them, I don’t want them to die.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi Maranda: Knock Out roses are considered hardy and can survive the winter outdoors. They will be happier planted in the ground as opposed to the nursery containers they are currently in. Now is a great time to get them in the ground before winter arrives. This way they can get their roots settled in before the ground freezes. Roses are sun lovers and should be planted in a space that receives a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight. These roses will reach 4-5 feet tall and wide at maturity so keep this in mind when spacing the holes. When digging their new homes, they should be twice as wide and just as deep as the nursery container. Back fill with existing soil or add amendments if needed and then add a 2-3 inch layer of mulch. It is important to keep the roses watered before they go into dormancy. If Mother Nature does not provide sufficient rainfall you will need to hand water. The mulch will help keep the moisture in and will also help in terms of insulation. If you can’t get them in the ground before winter, they will need extra insulation so the roots do not suffer from winter damage. Snuggle them up against the south side of the house or any other structure that can provide radiant heat. Surround them with bags of mulch or bales of straw for extra warmth. When spring arrives you will want to get them planted as soon as the soil is workable.