Miniature Roses – Indoors for Winter?

Q: I have several miniature roses growing in containers. Should they be moved indoors for the winter, or will they be all right left outside on a sunny deck?

A: Miniature roses are often sold as houseplants but they are not at all suited for indoor conditions. They are plenty hardy enough to be outdoors in winter. I worry about leaving them on a sunny deck. It may be warm enough there to force tender new growth in winter. Instead, find a sunny spot in which to dig a trench two inches deeper than the pots, but just as wide, and place a single layer of bricks in the bottom. Put the pots on the bricks and stuff pine straw around them. The bricks provide good drainage and the straw insulates the roots. Put a thin layer of straw around the plants and let them be until you retrieve them March. If there is much foot traffic near the planting spot, insert a section of bamboo next to each pot to protect them.