Cold Climate Roses
Cold Hardy Rose Bushes

Cold climate roses. Tips for growing roses in cold winter areas. A list of roses for cold climates (zones 3-4). Sub-Zero cold hardy roses. Double Knockout rose cold hardiness. Rugosa cold weather roses.



Soft Light on Nookta Rose, Alaska

Soft Light on Nootka Rose, Alaska
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Most roses perform well in USDA zones 5-9. Only a small percentage of the thousands of roses in cultivation today can really be called cold weather roses.


What is a Cold Climate Rose?

Rose, Nearly Wild

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The roses I will be discussing on this page are hardy into zones 3 and 4.

I have heard it said that certain of the species roses can be grown in the Arctic but I have not been able to verify this. Therefore, I am going to be conservative in my zone recommendations.

When I recommend a rose for zone 3 that means without winter protection. If winter protection is needed, I will expressly say so.

I don't really believe in wrapping plants up to keep them from freezing. Not just because it's a huge hassle but because it ultimately will not work. A rose that is too tender for your zone will weaken and eventually die no matter what you swaddle it in.

Now, I do shuttle a plethora of potted plants indoors every winter. This is a very reliable way to protect plants from the cold.

But to leave the plant outside and surround it with leaves is not going to do it that much good. Two or 3 degrees of frost protection is all you will get for your efforts.

In places where a thick blanket of mulch will keep the ground from repeatedly freezing and thawing, it makes sense to apply it.

Snow cover will do a better job of protecting your roses than anything you can purchase.


Growing Roses in Cold Climates


Sweet Drift® Rose, Hardy into Zone 4

  • Dr. Brownell, the hybridizer of the Sub-Zero collection of cold climate Hybrid Tea roses, recommended burying the graft union several inches deep when planting roses in cold winter areas.
  • An alternative to this is planting own root cold climate roses. One way of getting at least half a zone more of hardiness out of a grafted rose is to take a cutting of the plant and grow it on its own roots.

The problem is that not every rose grows well on its own roots. Finding out which ones do and which don't could take a bit of experimentation.


Hardy Roses
Cold Climate Roses

Rose, Fairy Pink Cushion

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In your search for cold hardy roses, look to the old garden roses. They often display greater hardiness than the modern varieties.

The exception to this is the Modern Shrub rose. Some of these are nearly as hardy as the old species roses. There are also some very hardy Floribunda roses. Most of the Rugosa roses perform well into zone 3. Some Centifolias or cabbage roses, Crested Moss for example, are hardy to 20 below zero Fahrenheit. So is Austrian Copper, a wild rose (Rosa foetida 'bicolor') bearing single, bright orange flowers in early spring.

Apothecary Rose

Rosa gallica officinalis is commonly called the apothecary rose (or the Red Rose of Lancaster, Red Damask rose, or Double French rose) because of its long history of medicinal use. It is a wonderfully fragrant rose and tough to boot.

Performs well in zones 3a-8b.

Wild Prairie Rose

Wild Prairie rose, Rosa arkansana syn. Rosa blanda and Rosa pratincola. Wild rose plant native to central N. America. The Prairie rose flower is the state flower of Iowa and also of North Dakota. It is reliably perennial inzones 4a-7b.

Nearly Wild Rose

The Nearly Wild rose, Rosa Nearly Wild, is a Floribunda shrub rose which grows to 2-3 feet tall by 3 feet wide. Its flowers resemble those of wild rose bushes. Pink, fragrant single roses blanket the plant repeatedly from late spring to fall.

Hardy into zone 4a.

Performs well in zones 3a-8b.

Fairy Roses

Fairy roses are the toughest Polyantha shrub roses you can grow. The Fairy rose bush is tolerant of drought and neglect and rarely bothered by diseases and pests. One of the best rose plants for difficult situations.

Recommended for zones 4a-9b.

Bonica Rose

Bonica is a pink, double-flowered cold climate rose bush which can be used as a groundcover rose or a hedge rose. Rosa Bonica flowers in repeated waves throughout summer in zones 4a-9b.

Carefree Delight Rose

The Carefree Delight rose bush was hybridized by the House of Meilland and introduced in 1994. It is one of the most disease resistant of the Modern Shrub roses. Carefree Delight is mildly fragrant and performs beautifully in USDA zones 4a-10b.

Double Knockout Rose

Information on the new double Knockout rose. Using pink and deep red double Knock Out roses in landscaping. How to plant double Knockout bushes. Planting instructions for the double Knock Out rose bush.

Double Knockout is hardier than the original single-flowered Knockout rose. It can be planted throughout zone 4.

Morden Blush Rose

This Modern Shrub rose was hybridized by Collicutt and introduced in 1988. It grows 3-4 feet tall and is prized for its extreme cold hardiness.

The medium-sized, feminine flowers range from light pink to white with pink centers. They are lightly fragrant and begin to grace the disease resistant plants in early spring.

Victory Rose

If you have been longing for a cold hardy Hybrid Tea rose, the Victory rose, syn. V For Victory, is just the plant you want. Victory roses are cold climate roses hardy down to 15 degrees below 0.


Best Cold Climate Roses

Rose, Senior Prom
Rose, Climbing Rhode Island Red
Rose, Lily Pons
Rose, Climbing Viking Queen
Queen O' The Lakes
Rose, Climbing Show Garden
Rose, Victory
Rose, Purple Perfection Hedge
Rose, Red Robin Hood
Rose, Curly Pink
Rose, Maria Stern
Rose, Dr. Brownell

Rugosa Hybrids

'The Fairy'

'Carefree Beauty' Rose Bush

'Champlain' Rose: Canadian Explorer Roses

'Climbing Blaze'

Rose, Helen Hayes

'Rambling Red' Rose: Best Rambler for Cold Zones

Rosa acicularis: The Alberta Wild Rose

More Beautiful Roses

Rambling red rose

Rambling Red Rose

Flowers of the Cherokee rose.

Cherokee Rose

Blushing Knockout roses planted beneath a mailbox.

Blushing Knockout Rose

Climbing 'Angel Face' roses.

Climbing 'Angel Face' Rose

Go from Cold Climate Roses to Plant Guides' Home Page

Discover the Secret...

Expert Rose Care is a practical guide to growing beautiful, healthy roses written by professional horticulturist Norm Stewart.

Norm's techniques apply to all types of roses growing under all kinds of conditions and they give fast results.

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Disease Resistant Roses

Rose - Easy Elegance® Sunrise Sunset
Rose - Oso Easy Strawberry Crush - Shrub

Rose - Oso Easy Peachy Cream - Shrub

Rose - Oso Easy Cherry Pie - Shrub
Rose - Sunny Knock Out® - Shrub

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