When should I plant roses in Massachusetts?


I’ll tackle the timing of when to plant roses in Massachusetts in just a bit, down below. But first, here’s something that many gardeners around the country are unaware of.

Gardeners in New England and in cooler regions of the US often ask the question:

“Why are my roses dying when not long ago they looked so healthy?”

One of the first questions in response to that would be:

“Did you plant the rose/s with the bud union above the soil line or below it?”

Answer: “Well, I read that gardeners in Texas/ Florida/ South Carolina (enter any other location in the south) plant roses with the bud union at least an inch or perhaps two inches above the soil level.”

Response: “That’s in the south. In northerly regions, in zone 6 or lower, where the temperatures are much lower the rosebud union must be planted below the soil surface. And that’s because we want our roses to remain in dormancy throughout the freezing and thawing cycles that occur during the winter months.”


This is one of the two key lines of defense against a winter that is particularly cold. The other key line of defense is to select rose varieties that are plenty hardy enough to cope with harsh winters.

Which roses do well in Massachusetts – in New England in general?

Rosa Mundi


Day Breaker

Fourth of July (climbing rose)

Graham Thomas

Betty Prior

Distant Drums


Earth Song

Flower Girl

Double Delight

Madame Hardy

Julia Childs Rose

Gertrude Jekyll

Home Run



Pretty Lady


There are, of course, many others. But the list above provides you with some excellent roses that do well in colder climates.


When to plant roses in New England
Dublin rose





When Should You Plant Your Roses in Massachusetts?


We always (or most of us do) go by USDA Hardiness Zone in terms of when is the best time to plant roses – to plant anything, really.

Massachusetts, depending on where you are in Massachusetts, ranges between Zone 5a (Berkshire Mountains) to Zone 7a (Cape Cod). For the most part, however, western Massachusetts is Zone 5b and, again, for the most part, the coastal eastern Mass is Zone 6b.

In the majority of Zones, the optimal time for planting roses is in early springtime. This allows your new roses – whether they are bare root when they are purchased or whether they are container grown when purchased – to become well established in your yard before the cold weather returns in the fall. 

In Zone 5, according to the USDA Hardiness Zone Finder, the last springtime frost is May 15. So you’d want to plant your roses not long after this date to give them optimal conditions for which to become established and bloom. 

In Zone 6, again, in accordance with USDA Zone Finder, the final frosts of spring occur sometime between April 1 and April 15. Plant your roses after April 15.

Then, in Zone 7, date of final springtime frosts tends to be around mid April making optimal planting time likely to be around end of April or beginning of May. 


When should you plant roses in Massachusetts



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