Winter Rose Protection for Niphetos in your Never Forget Garden

6 months ago

**Article republished from the White Rose Journal: The Never Forget Garden Project. To find out more visit HERE **

Follow these 10 tips, so your winter tender Niphetos will thrive every season!

Niphetos introduced in 1843 is winter tender. If you live in plant hardiness zones where there is a chance of prolonged frigid temperatures, protect your Niphetos. Don’t let drying winter winds, heavy ice formation, and frigid temperatures break your heart. We live in Northern Virginia, zone 7, and follow the practical tips below to ensure our rose bushes return next spring with healthy canes and blooms.

What is your zone? See USDA Gardening Zone Map below.

Planting Zones

Just like other plants, not every rose thrives in every climate. Consider if winter tender Niphetos can thrive year-round in your garden, especially in regions where extreme winter temperatures are normal.

A reminder that USDA gardening zones are a guide, not absolute, especially if you live in a microclimate. They may be warmer or cooler than the surrounding zone.

Winter protection for roses is different in each zone. Zones 5 and 6 may need to tip their roses and cover up or bring into an insulated garage for winter protection.

How to winterize Niphetos

1. PLANT ONLY IN SPRING: This gives time for Niphetos on its own roots to establish and mature.

2. DON’T FORGET TO WATER: One good last soak before the first couple of hard frosts set in will help protect your roots from drying cold air. Be sure to water at the base of the plant.

3. STOP FERTILIZING: Don’t send a signal to your roses that it’s time to grow when it’s time to go dormant. In our zones, we stop using solid fertilizer about Labor Day and liquid fertilizer by the end of September.

4. STOP DEADHEADING: After final bloom, let spent blooms go to seed (hips). This signals your bushes to go into dormancy.

5. GET A SOIL TEST: Before you mulch, pick up a soil test kit at your favorite nursery, or contact your local extension service for information. Send off a proper soil sample for testing. Healthy soil at the right pH for roses (6.25-7.0) is critical to their health and happiness and Fall is a perfect time to prep for Spring soil health.

6. ADDRESS YOUR pH: If your soil test results in a pH below 6.25 (acidic – quite common for clay soils), consider administering the proper dose of calcitic lime or wood ashes around the drip line of your bushes. It’s slow acting and will have the entire fall and winter seasons to help restore your soil pH to the sweet spot of 6.5 that roses love. If your pH is too high, above 7.0, add aluminum sulfate in the proper dose.

7. END OF SEASON COSMETIC CUT BACK: Niphetos, classified as an old garden rose, grows about 3-4 feet wide and 4 feet tall. Remove any dead, diseased, and dying canes, then trim your bush by about one third of its height. This leaves plenty of nutrients in the remaining canes to feed the root system over the winter. It also prevents overly tall or gangly canes from whipping in icy, dry wind and breaking. Save your hard prune for Spring to jump-start healthy new growth.

8. CLEAN YOUR BEDS: Clean out all dropped leaf and cane debris from your beds. This helps prevent the overwintering of pesky fungus and disease spores that are just waiting for warmer weather next spring to “bloom.”

9. “JACKET” YOUR BUSHES: After a hard freeze, mound shredded hardwood mulch 8-12 inches up and around the base of your roses and up around the canes. This creates a jacket of insulation to keep moisture in and cold dry air away from your bud union and the roots below, protecting your bush from the freeze/thaw cycles of harsh winters. If you are in a colder plant hardiness zone, you need much more protection. Many growers in northern zones will tip and bury their roses.

10. EARLY SPRING, REMOVE MULCH: When the fear of a hard Spring freeze has passed, pull back your mulch so the rose base can air and produce fresh new growth.

Pam Powers - Arlington Rose Foundation Master Consulting Rosarian
Sylvia Henderson - Arlington Rose Foundation Consulting Rosarian

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