Your shopping cart is empty.

zone 4/5 buying plants in the fall?

September 15, 2018
last modified: September 15, 2018

Some of the roses I've been waiting for are back in stock and on sale at High Country. I'm seriously considering ordering them and either planting or trying to overwinter indoors or dormant in the garage. I live in Michigan, on the edge of zone 4/5. The ground won't really freeze until November, but we'll start getting occasional frost late September, early October.

Do I plant them, without fertilizer and cover them for the winter?

Keep them alive and in a sunny spot or under a grow light indoors over the winter?

Keep them in a sheltered spot in my unheated garage (maybe in a cooler)?

Wait until spring to order and hope they're in stock?

Comments (7)
  • Krista_5NY

    I prefer to plant bands in the spring time. With High Country Roses it's possible to purchase now, and pick a spring shipping date. In the checkout process, one can pick a Monday ship date from their calendar.

    etain thanked Krista_5NY
  • jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

    Over wintering indoors is probably not a good idea...lol

    I also like to plant potted roses in the Spring Time... (Mayish here...)

    etain thanked jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.
  • Moses, Western PA., zone 5/6, USA


    I have done every method you have outlined. Going down your list:

    1. PLANT THEM NOW AND WINTERIZE THEM. Some will outright die over winter given the best winterization you can give. Some will die back considerably; survive and limp along next year, getting just about as big as they came today, by next year's end. The chances of any having made satisfactory growth by next year's end are slim to none in your zone. High Country roses are great roses, but they are still liner size, and are baby roses, period!

    2. KEEP THEM ALIVE AND GROWING OVER WINTER. Unless you have greenhouse conditions, they will get weakened, spindly, black spotted and/or mildew infected, and mite/aphid infested. Nothing is gained whatsoever. By spring you will cut back all the bad growth and have a smaller rose than you got in the fall.

    3. KEEP THEM IN AN UNHEATED GARAGE/COOLER. This can work very well. They will stay in a dormant state all winter. The foliage may even all stay on the stems. They need no light. They are not growing. In a cooler may not work...no air circulation, dessication, etc. NO GOOD. An unheated garage will work very well if the temps can be maintained from 35°F. to 45°F. most of the time, definitely not up to 50°F. or just below freezing, not down to 25°F. for long, maybe up to 6 hrs. max. Water sparingly, root root is an ever present possibility. Never let pots sit in water, ever. They won't need much water, but should not ever dry out. An every two check should do.

    4. WAIT UNTIL SPRING. There's always the risk of a rose being out of stock, which is why you want to get the roses now, right? I have the same problem. I am blessed with a fruit cellar in my 19th. Century house (very much like a garage environment, only possibly more temperature stable than a garage that's still being used for parking....door opening and closing affecting temps). I order pot cultured and occasionally bare root roses all fall and winter to come ASAP after the grower gets my order. I don't trust bare roots ordered now that are supposed to come in spring. I've had them never arrive in spring. Getting a refund then is no small consolation. The bare roots are a little touchy handled my way, though. I avoid them in favor of roses in pots. Candles are prone to start on them prematurely.

    Hope I've helped.


    etain thanked Moses, Western PA., zone 5/6, USA
  • vaporvac

    Krista is correct. I just ordered mine from High Country and set an April ship date tentatively

    etain thanked vaporvac
  • Al Mitchell zone 5b (ameri2nal)

    I'm in Chicagoland 5b and have a 3 season room that is unheated and attached to my house. I have overwintered a few things in there and as long as I remember to keep the pots watered, I haven't lost anything. One year I forgot to water and lost a couple of plants. The temp will get a little below freezing and as high as 50 or 60, but the plants stay dormant or close to it.

    etain thanked Al Mitchell zone 5b (ameri2nal)
  • etain

    Okay, the ability to order now for spring changes everything. Thank you everyone for the advice. Since my garage may get down to -36, I think that setting a spring ship date is the way to go! :)

  • Patty W. zone 5a Illinois

    Just a little extra information on fall on ordering. Every mail order nursery that I use works the same way. Orider now and ask for spring delivery. If us northerners had to wait until until spring to order we would be unable to get many varieties.

    They have several different ways of charging so ask if this is important to you.

    Palatine Roses charges a down payment then charges the balance a few weeks before shipping.

    Northland charges sonetime in January for spring shipping.

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong I but I believe High Country Roses charges the full amount at the time of ordering.

    If you should not see a place for requested delivery, or the site states they will deliver at appropriate time then call them. It eliminates any confusion. Also protects from getting a rose delivery in February while a foot of snow is still on the ground. This wasn’t from a good nursery however.

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268 (Mon-Sun).