I have a miniature rose plant growing in a large (about 2 foot cubed) container outside, where it has been doing very well. The bush is about 3 feet tall now, and I've had it since February (started it indoors, then moved it outside once the weather warmed up). I live in an area with fairly intense winters (northern Massachusetts), and I have two questions:

  1. Should my rose bush be producing rosehips (it hasn't so far)? Or do only "standard"/non-miniature roses produce hips? I've read that this helps the plant prepare for winter. We've already had several nights at or below 40°F here.

  2. Should I winter the plant outdoors, or take it inside? I've heard that this kind of rose can stand up to Massachusetts winters outside, but since it's in an above-ground container I'm guessing it's not as protected as a planted rose bush would be. Either way, is there any special treatment I should give it throughout the winter? So far all I do is water it regularly, since this Spring I repotted it using a long-feeding potting soil.

1 Answer 1


In 2008 my wife was given a miniature rose for Mother's Day (by her mum). I've no idea what type of miniature rose it is, as it came in a "pretty" pot and no label...

The wife kept it indoors for a few months (May 2008 to September 2008).

In September 2008 I planted it our front garden (USDA Hardiness zone 6a).

I was told not to prune the rose until it was 2 years old.

2009-09-24 Miniature Rose after 1 year in the ground (Click image to enlarge)

Miniature Rose

2010-04-17 Miniature Rose after its first pruning (Click image to enlarge)

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  1. I'm no rose expert, all I can tell you is our miniature rose has never produced rose hips.

    Rose hips via Wikipedia

    The rose hip, the fruit of some species, is used as a minor source of Vitamin C.

  2. If the rose plant is hardy for your USDA Hardiness zone -- Massachusetts Interactive USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map -- I recommended performing one of the following options:

    • Find a temporary area in your garden, dig a hole big enough to put the pot in, then place the pot (containing the rose) in that hole. Soil level in the pot should line up with the outside soil level.

    • Find a permanent area in your garden, dig a hole big enough for the rose plant, transfer the rose from its pot into its new (outdoor) home.

    • I've never mulched (protected) our miniature rose during the Wintertime, but if you're concerned about Wintertime in your area doing damage to the plant you could mulch the crown area of the rose with a layer of finely shredded leaves.

* Bring the pot (containing the rose) inside for the Wintertime and care for it appropriately in an indoor environment...

  • After speaking to an "expert", roses need to go through a dormancy period (Wintertime), therefore unless you have a place inside that gets cold (40°F/4°C and below), you should keep them outside.

    • If the pot is of large size, contains a good amount of potting material, which will insulate the root-ball somewhat from Wintertime conditions, and the rose is planted in the middle of the container it should be fine left outside. This is exactly the situation the "expert" I spoke with has.

    • If you're at all concerned about the pot being too small, not enough potting material to offer the root-ball some protection from Wintertime conditions, insulate the outside of the pot eg Wrap the pot with polystyrene, or fill a large bag with fallen tree leaves, then wrap that bag around the pot, etc...

Whatever you do, don't leave the pot (containing the rose) outside, above ground, during Wintertime. The cold weather (sub-freezing) will kill the roots of the plant, thereby killing the plant.

2011-08-28 Miniature Rose still doing ok! in the ground (Click image to enlarge)

Miniature Rose

Good luck! and hope the above helps a little...

  • Most miniature roses are relatively hardy, so, once planted in the ground, you may not need to protect the rose in your area. If you do protect, piling a small mound of soil over the crown is probably the easiest. Alternatively, plastic bags filled with leaves are convenient and do not blow away. And remember wait until you have had a several hard freezes before protecting. The goal is keep the rose cold and, therefore, dormant, all winter. Sep 21, 2011 at 1:50
  • Thanks for all the good information! My rose came in a similar "pretty" pot without any info, but it looks very similar to the pictures you posted. I'm in an apartment currently, so I'd like to keep it in the container for now and will probably bring it inside. If anyone has any tips for keeping a rose indoors through the winter (ie should it stay cold and try to mimic outdoor dormancy, or keep it warm and supply light?) I'd love to hear it.
    – Amanda_A
    Sep 21, 2011 at 12:38
  • @Amanda_A Please refer to my amended answer above.
    – Mike Perry
    Sep 21, 2011 at 18:41
  • @Mike Perry thanks! That makes sense. I'll follow your suggestions, and we'll see how it turns out. Good to know that the "expert" you spoke to has the same setup and it's worked for them.
    – Amanda_A
    Sep 26, 2011 at 13:28
  • @Amanda_A No worries... the "expert" stressed the size of the container/pot is important (think large to extra large) & the rose is planted in the centre of it ie The root-ball is surrounded by a good amount of potting material...
    – Mike Perry
    Sep 26, 2011 at 15:12

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