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How to Care for Roses in Autumn

Once your roses are finished blooming for the year and the weather starts to get colder, it’s time to start preparing for the next season. Rose care in autumn is all about getting ready for the colder months.

How to Prepare for the Cold Weather

Rose care in autumn is essential if you want to get the most out of your roses over the coming year, allowing your flowers to survive the winter and bloom again when spring and summer come back around. Autumn rose care involves several steps such as pruning, tidying up, removing spent blooms and getting rid of any diseased foliage. By keeping on top of these tasks, you’ll be sure to enjoy watching your roses bloom again once winter is through.


Although many gardeners choose to prune their roses during the winter, pruning roses in autumn is a great option if you want to establish a tidy framework for the year ahead. How effective rose pruning in autumn is depends on which types of roses you are growing; shrub roses and climbing roses in particular will benefit from an autumn prune.

One reason to start pruning roses in autumn is to prevent long stems from snapping in harsh winter storms. If you decide to prune your roses in autumn, cut the stems back to around 45–60 cm. If any stems break during autumn or winter, prune them to keep your roses healthy.

Pruning Roses


If you don’t start pruning roses in autumn and decide to wait for winter instead, it is still important to deadhead spent roses at the end of the growing season, unless you want your roses to produce hips. 

If you aren’t familiar with the term, deadheading refers to the process of removing finished blooms. This allows more blooms to produce throughout the growing season, while also improving the shape and appearance of the rose. It is important to research the best deadheading techniques for your individual variety of rose, but generally, it will simply involve snipping off the wilted bloom above the foliage, at the end of its short stem.

Deadheading will give your garden a tidy appearance heading into winter and prepare your roses for an excellent growing season once the colder months have passed.

Prevent Disease

The added moisture in the air means that rose care in autumn often involves dealing with threats such as pests and disease. As always, prevention is better than finding a cure once you discover that your roses are overrun with mildew, black spots or other kinds of diseases and pests. Keeping on top of rose diseases and pets will help you prepare your roses for a strong year ahead. 

For black spots, make sure to avoid watering the foliage, watering only the soil instead. It is important to give your roses plenty of space to breathe. If you find black spots on your foliage, simply remove the diseased leaves and apply a topical spray weekly if it seems to be a recurring issue.

Powdery mildew is another common rose disease, which spreads quickly and harms the overall health of your roses. Removing mildew can be a lengthy process requiring close inspection and pruning, so prevention is best. Since mildew grows due to humidity, make sure to give your roses plenty of room to breathe, which is one reason pruning during autumn can be beneficial.

Other diseases gardeners face include white scale (caused by sap-sucking insects) and rose rust. These can be stressful to deal with, so be sure to check out our guides on treating roses infected with diseases and pests.

Move or Plant Roses

Autumn is a great time to plant new bare-root roses or transplant roses that would be better in another location, after the pruning is done. Consider the space required to prevent many of the diseases above if you want to get the most out of your roses over the next year’s growing seasons.

Ready to get your roses prepared for winter? Garden Express has all the tools you need for your rose care in autumn. If you’re looking to enhance your garden with new rose varieties, Garden Express has plenty on offer.

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