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Help! My outdoor roses are committing suicide indoors!!!


This is my first time here, so thank you all for your hospitality.

I have a beautiful 3ft rose bush in a large pot. It was a gift and I am at my wits end trying to figure out ways to keep it alive during the winter in my home. This is my first year with this particular plant.

I have them on my rooftop outdoor deck during the spring, summer, and fall. I brought the roses inside for the winter. I have watered them and tried to put them by the sunniest spot in my apartment. I live in Chicago, so the sun during the winter is hard to get. I use the Miracle Grow rose food and I thought it was helping for a while. I pruned off all of the old leaves that were starting to fall, however now the once new leaves are turning and crisping over and falling.

I cannot lose this plant. It means so much to me. If there is any advice, I would appreciate it. I am wondering about special winter food, or maybe artificial light I could use? I will do anything to keep these beautiful roses alive.

Thank you so much for your time.



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First the disclaimer: I am not a rose expert! I grow miniature roses in containers, and they stay outdoors year 'round.

It has been my experience that roses go dormant in the winter months. Without checking an authoritative resource, I would guess this is due to shortened day length, as much as it is the result of low temperatures.

I have never been able to keep a rose alive indoors, even a miniature rose. I would recommend that you place the plant in a cool place -- sunny or not -- and allow it to go dormant and rest. It should put out new growth in the spring. Water it occasionally, but be very careful not to overwater. The plant will probably lose all its leaves which will reduce the amount of evaporation, thus it will need less water than when in active growth. You can prune it now, or in the spring. I prefer to prune mine in the spring, just taking off the stems that died during the winter.

Again, I am not a rose expert! :)

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Super Green Thumb
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I'm also not a rose expert, but agree with Kisal. Roses are winter hardy shrubs, that go dormant in winter. People that grow roses in the ground, just leave them there for the winter, with lots of protection, usually mounding soil up around them over the root graft, often putting up a little fence around them and filling it all in with leaves. This is true down to zone 3 or 4 depending on rose variety.

In containers it's more tricky, because the container will freeze more solid and be more vulnerable to freeze/thaw cycles. But if you have some kind of protected space, like up against the south side of your house or in a garage or shed, I'd leave it out, bundled up and dormant. (I.E. put it in the protected spot and then surround the pot with hay bale or something like that for insulation).

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Location: chicago

indoor rose suicide

I too live in Chicago but have had different experience with indoor roses than some others who have responded to this post. For many years I have brought potted roses indoors for the winter. I put them in the basement under shop lights. The basement remains pretty much a steady 60 degrees F. I make sure the soil is as partially moist as when outside. They've been fine. The first year I tried this I worried that the roses might require a freeze and dormancy period and that I might be derpiving them of that---that losing leaves might be a good thing. Then, I remembered that roses in San Diego don't get a freeze and do well, thank-you-very-much. Your instinct to provide artificial light was a correct one, IMO. Quick! Buy a light. :P

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